As an alternative to a bottle, here are some interesting gift ideas that are bound to surprise and please your friend or loved one.
1. Never underestimate the power of Art!When visiting a fellow Rum connoisseur’s home it is always cool to look beyond the bottle collection and see what art they have on their walls and books on their shelves (more about that later). From vintage Rum label art, Caribbean Travel posters, and old Maps there are some cool options for all price ranges.
If they are a collector of a particular brand, finding something that ties into it will make a thoughtful gift they are sure to proudly hang in their home.
2. Can you ever have enough Bar tools?This gift suggestion comes from personal experience. Many moons ago when I was beginning my cocktail making education I was gifted with a good set of tools to help with the exploration. With that in mind, if the person you are plotting a gift for enjoys Rum in cocktails, a new bar tool or set might be a fun and thoughtful gift for them. The kits come in all shapes and sizes, with or without branding, and can be single pieces to full 22 piece bar sets.
3. Did we mention Books?When we think about books and Rum they are a few things to ponder. First, there are three basic types, Introductory, Cocktail, and History. Do not be surprised if they might even be a combination of two or even all three depending on the structure.
When someone is looking at purchasing an introductory book on Rum, I refer them to Fred Minnick’s Rum Curious, or Dave Brooms Rum: The Manual. These books do have a combination of subject matter, but does not take as deep a dive as a single book devoted to the subject.
They are plenty of other good choices out there, but these two books are good places for anyone interested in Rum to begin their personal education.
Next up is Cocktail books and the choices quickly become overwhelming in this category. If the gift recipient is into Tiki cocktails, then consider Jeff Berry’s Sippin’ Safari or Potions of the Caribbean.
Another fine choice is Martin and Rebecca’s Cate’s Smuggler’s Cove, or for something new that came out in 2019 Tom Morgan and Kelly Reilly’s The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails. I thumbed through this one and promptly added it to my Holiday wish list. (Hint, Hint.)
For someone who is just getting into making classic cocktails at home Dale DeGroff’s The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks is a fantastic place to start as Mr. DeGroff is a true master of the subject and provides excellent guidance in this tome.
If the gift recipient is a fan of the writer Ernest Hemingway, Philip Greene’s book To Have and Have another: a Hemingway Cocktail Companion is a good mix of history and Hemingway’s influence on our modern cocktail experiences. (I am not a big fan of Hemingway and still got a lot out of the book.)
Finally the last category, and they are few golden standards in the History Category, but Wayne Curtis’s And a Bottle of Rum Revised and Updated: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails has been a go to favorite of mine to gift neophytes to the Rum World.
The newly updated version does a great job of bringing the modern Rum world into a focus and is a fun read to boot.
The second book I always recommend is Ian Williams Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776 which is a rock solid history book about how the beloved and bedeviled spirit influenced the colonization of the New World to the creation of the United States of America.
4. Well they need something to drink out of… Right?The shape and design of a good glass can augment the enjoyment of the sipping experience.
A Glencairn Crystal is designed so that the imbiber can enjoy both the aroma and be comfortable to sip. Some glass designs are great for aromas, but are cumbersome to actually drink from. When I am evaluating Rum (or any other spirit) this is my glass of choice.
Moderately priced a set of Glencairn Crystal glasses is an appropriate gift for any occasion. If you want something unique that is functional, the “Neat Glass” is a good option as its special design is great for evaluating the aromas of spirits.
Now for those Rum lovers who enjoy Tiki cocktails a Tiki mug can be a fun gift. They are several that have been created for Rum brands that vary in rarity and price range. Depending on the aesthetic of the recipient you can find a variety of mugs from classic to modern designs that will make the perfect gift.
5. The beauty and versatility of a bottle…Never underestimate the value and appreciation of a good decanter. The designs are so interesting it is possible to find something for every kind of Rum connoisseur and enthusiast in the world. From carved crystal and glass sets, to historically accurate decanters that cannot topple with the rocking of the ships they were used on, to more whimsical designs; this is an easy go-to gift when the other ideas fail to work.
This gift guide barely scratches the surface of what is out there and I hope that it is helpful while you are busy shopping for the Rum person in your life. I have given and received several of these items over the years and find that they are always appreciated.