L.A. Drinkers' Holiday Gift Guide

— by Caroline on Crack

Santas need booze

Everyone knows: When you can’t think of what to get someone for Christmas — whether the host of a holiday house party or the man or woman who has everything — a safe bet is always booze. The following are some of my favorite liquor-related places and gifts to make it a very merry Christmas indeed.

Best Wine Shop for Procrastinators: My go-to place for buying vino last minute right before that holiday party I forgot I was invited to, The Wine House in West L.A. not only has an extensive selection from the 2006 Las Rocas de San Alejandra Garnacha ($10.99) to a 1945 Lafite Rothschild ($2,499.98) but a helpful staff that you can call on at the back counter for suggestions as well as a tasting room with 32 different selections if you’d like to try before you buy. And they even have gift baskets if you don’t want to do the work.

Best Booze Store for That Special Bottle: For thoughtful suggestions on what to get for that friend with discerning taste, smaller liquor stores are the way to go. I like The Wine House and Wally’s Wine & Spirits in the Westsiiide. Both have helpful staff which is convenient when you can’t make heads or tails of those whiskey aisles. If you’re shy about asking for help, both stores feature suggestion cards on particular selections with ratings and tasting notes.

Best Store for Gifting Beer: Galco’s Soda Pop Stop in Highland Park carries beer from around the world! And the best part is that you can buy by the bottle to create your own crazy six-packs. Get all Asian beer from Singha Beer to Hitachino or do it up with exotic-sounding beer like Pipeline Limited Edition Porter Made with 100% Hawaiian Kona Coffee or Old Engine Oil Black Ale. Beer fans will go wild.

Best Store for Beautiful Barware: Hands down it has to be Bar Keeper in Silver Lake. So many beautiful vintage pieces from glassware to shakers to decanting sets. And if you’re thinking a flask would make the perfect present for your cheapskate friend who always complains about the prices of cocktails, BK has got quite a few to choose from, whether it’s the one with Paris H. on it or the silver honeycomb-patterned flask.

Best Bar for Apres-Shopping Holiday Martinis: For fun holiday cocktails, stop by Lola’s on Fairfax after your shopping rounds at the nearby Grove and Beverly Center. With drinks like the Partridge in a Pear Tree (Hangar One Spice Pear Vodka, pear nectar and cinnamon schnapps) and the Chilled Hot Chocolate Mint Martini (Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, Stoli Vanilla Vodka, Crème de Cacao and a splash of Peppermint Schnapps), you’ll feel holiday cheer in no time. If you make it in for Lola’s Hard Times Happy Hour (5:30-7:30pm every day), you can get that mint martini for only $5!

Best Drinkware Gift: At Bar Keeper, I came across a huge selection of Schott Zwiesel break-resistant titanium glasses. The salesperson demonstrated its near-invulnerability by banging one of the champagne glasses vigorously and loudly against the shelf! “Of course it can break if that’s what you’re looking to do, though,” he added after I begged him to stop. But the fine quality of the glasses is apparent from its heft to its feel and it would make the perfect addition to any bar. I couldn’t resist picking up a set of the Paris beer glasses ($8 each) for myself.

Posted on LAist.