A winning combination
I would consider myself a beer connoisseur – not a snobby one, though - as I like to try new brews and basically, there’s not too many beers I don’t like – even if they don’t like me.
In addition, I know a little bit about the processes and flavors, make-ups, pairings, etc. as I have brewed my own beer before and use it too cook and grill – and have learned a bit more talking with the guys at New South Brewing in Myrtle Beach and by reading Colin Burch’s illustrious Beerman column in this here little rag.
Liquor on the other hand – well, I’ve had my share, but there’s so much out there, and it keeps expanding from Fruit Loops-flavored to bacon-flavored vodka and so on. My head usually swims when I walk into a liquor store and I’m presented with too many options.
I really hadn’t spent an inordinate time in liquor stores the past few years because beer has been my adult beverage of choice.
Yet this past summer, we joined our neighborhood’s pool, and you know what goes hand-in-hand with sunbathing and swimming, don’t you? No, not crotch rot.
Rather, tropical and or/fruity alcoholic beverages – what I like to call “Mommy Juice.”
My wife got on a mixed drink kick to complement our pool-going, it’s a concoction called Bay Breeze, which requires coconut-flavored rum, pineapple juice and cranberry juice.
So, you know what that means - don’t you?
Yes, I was dispatched to the liquor store to gather the ingredients. But being the cheapskate I am, I didn’t want to buy the mixers – pineapple and cranberry juices – at inflated liquor store prices.
So it generally meant trips to two stores – ugh, why can’t liquor be sold in grocery stores already?
Anyhow, on one such foray to the package store, I noticed some rum packaged together with the mixers, with a shot glass thrown in for good measure. Alas, it wasn’t the particular flavor – coconut – that was required, and I enquired if there was such a Bay Breeze liquor kit, if you will, but the clerk couldn’t find one.
But on that same excursion I noticed several other liquor kits – the libations packaged with mixers/and or other accessories, and thought to myself that this was a good example of one-stop shopping.
When I stopped to think about it, this packaging was in the same vein as the holiday gift sets my former neighbor had given to us for Christmas several years in a row, including a brandy-plus-sifter kit, and a DiSarrono and ice shaker combo.
Summer turned to autumn, and I made a few more forays to liquor stores near my home, and again I noticed a broadening array of combo adult libation sets on the shelves and set up as special displays as the holiday season approached.
Curious about what quirky combos might be out there on the horizon - and with an eye toward winter holiday gift shopping and giving (it officially starts in the wee hours of Friday with the onslaught of Black Friday), we dispatched correspondent Lee Newman to peruse local libation outlets and seek out some of the more interesting adult beverage gift sets on the market, and you can read his report, which is this week’s cover story. It’s a vast array, and he found a diverse slate of options, from football-shaped tequila dispensers to Three Olives Vodka packed with a bottle of hot sauce, and our legwork will hopefully arm you with gift ideas for the liquor-lovers in your life - or give you an excuse to purchase limited edition pieces for your own collection.
And speaking of holiday shopping, this edition of Surge also features Living Green’s guide to eco-friendly gifts, with an emphasis on local products and producers; and this month’s Gotta Have It lists the area’s major shoppiong outlet’s Black Friday hours.
In addition, if you’re looking to dine out on Thanksgiving Day, we’ve got a extensive list of local eateries that will be open and serving Turkey Day fare in Becky Billingsley’s An Open & Shut Case.
Kent Kimes, Editor