It’s cool to get news you can use; better yet a gift you can use. But we’d argue that best of all is a gift you can eat. No one—and we mean absolutely no one—hates a complimentary snack, and it’s even better when you receive it from, say, someone you really like and very much want to like you back instead of the waiting room at the oil change station or whatever. Anyway, we love that there are so many ways to send your friends and fam a delicious treat, whether it’s in the realm of the traditional (a cheese club; an ethically sourced spice collection; fancy jam) or the out-there (caramels made with fish sauce; a CBD-infused vegan Nutella substitute). If you really like someone, you can always buy a bunch of these picks and put together some really killer gift baskets that are way cooler than an Edible Arrangement. Not that there’s anything wrong with Edible Arrangements; they have their time and place, too. But yeah, we’d rather get this stuff.
Hella CBD chocolate-hazelnut spread
You can’t go wrong with Nutella… unless, well, you’re vegan, in which case you actually can. For the plant-munching-inclined or those just looking for a slightly healthier version of the ridiculously addictive spread, there’s Hella, which—while still freakishly delicious—is made with healthier ingredients than the traditional stuff and can be purchased with or without chillness-inducing CBD. Chocolate, hazelnut, and hemp? Needless to say, this is VERY up our alley.
In Good Taste California wine mixer
Unfortunately, online wine outlet In Good Taste’s highly covetable wine advent calendar sold out real fast. But you can still catch their California Wine Mixer, a set of eight glasses of tasty wines straight outta the best coast. Each glass comes in a cool little bottle, as well as with helpful tasting notes and the option to throw an online wine mixer with your pals. It’s like Sideways, but without getting in a screaming match with your womanizing friend. Plus, where else can you try eight good wines for 65 bucks?
$65 for an 8-pack of wines, at In Good Taste.
Omsom packs some of the best flavors of Asian cooking into handy little pouches. Grab some proteins and vegetables from the store and follow the provided recipes, and you’ll have restaurant-quality Thai, Vietnamese, and Filipino meals in under 30 minutes. These are sure to turn into pantry staples for you—they have for us.
$55 for a bundle, at Omsom.
Empirical Spirits Tasters Set
Since 2017, the mad flavor scientists over at Empirical Spirits have been concocting some of the most interesting drinkable art out there. This year, they came out with some fascinatingly complex canned cocktails—which, of course, immediately sold out. But you can still snag their signature Tasters Set, which includes three of their iconic products, including the memorably named habanero spirit Fuck Donald Trump and His Stupid Fucking Wall.
$52 for a set of 3, at Empirical Spirits.
Red Boat Fish Sauce Caramels
Don’t let the somewhat frightening idea of mixing fish flavor and candy fool you—these caramels are buttery and sticky and addictive, with the salty fish sauce rounding out the overall sweetness of these poppable bites. Think of it as just salted caramel… with a hint o’ the sea.
$9, at Red Boat Fish Sauce.
Take a real acid trip this holiday and travel the world of flavored vinegars. It’s a whole lot bigger than red, white, and apple—Acid League offers nuanced varieties like Meyer Lemon Honey, which would be awesome in desserts and salad dressings, or try their Pear Vanilla Damn Good Drinking Vinegar.
$15 a bottle, at Acid League.
Like everyone else, we spent a lot of time drinking at home this year. And god, do we miss bars. Thankfully, the whole bottled-premade-cocktail thing has really taken off, and they’re only getting better. Haus offers medium-ABV (18%) aperitifs that are versatile yet complex, from Spiced Cherry to Ginger Yuzu. We recommend getting the sampler pack so that you can try four different flavors in one go.
$40 for a sampler of 4, at Haus.
Well, some high-end jam purveyors did not survive 2020 without scandal… but we won’t get into that. What we will get into is that Trade St. Jams did, and is a a minority-owned, woman-certified small batch jam company that we can’t get enough of. The signature gift set is worth not only gifting, but also squirreling away for yourself, wink wink.
$38 for 3 jars, at Trade St. Jam Co.
If you’re not putting chile crisp on nearly everything you make, what are you even doing with your life? We love Boon’s small-batch stuff—just the right balance of heat and umami.
$18 a jar, at Boon Sauce.
Dripkit pourover coffee kit
Everyone has a different level of energy that they can offer to their morning coffee routine; some of us are grinding beans, while others are hitting the jar of instant crystals, and the more self-indulgent among us are headed to the Starbucks drive-thru. Dripkit is perfect for the intersection between “coffee snob” and “not a morning person”; it’s easy pourover made from damn good beans, and so very easy to bring with you and make wherever.
$15 for a 5-pack, at Bubble Goods.
Seedlip Grove 42 non-alcoholic spirit
Nonalcoholic spirits have been having a moment for a while, but this just might be the time to spotlight them. This year, many of us decided that booze ain’t worth the hangover when you can’t be out terrorizing the public in a carefree state. And, of course, there are those among us who haven’t been drinking for a while, or ever. Being a teetotaler doesn’t mean you don’t wanna kick back with a special beverage here and there—it’s just that the definition of “special,” in this case, means complex and flavorful, but alcohol-free. Seedlip’s Grove 42 is citrusy and herbaceous, and worth gifting to casually abstaining boozers and the sober crowd alike.
$34.99 for 700 ml, at Better Rhodes.
Burlap + Barrel Chef’s Choice collection
Not sure what spices you need to begin your collection? Start here. Not only will your food taste better, but you’ll feel better knowing that all of Burlap and Barrel’s spices are sourced ethically.
$49.99 for a 6-pack, on sale at Burlap and Barrel.
Something & Nothing yuzu seltzer
There are simply too many varieties of seltzer out there at this point, and most of them taste like a copy of a copy of a copy of a Polaroid of a fruit flavor. Not so with Something & Nothing, which—while kind of stretching the definition of seltzer, since it does contain some fruit juice—is the best tasting soda water we’ve experienced in a long while. Now we’re ordering it by the case, and your seltzer-loving friends would surely appreciate some, too. The floral, tart, slightly sweet yuzu is the true GOAT.
$29.95 for a 12-pack, at Something & Nothing.
Jasper Hill Farms cheese club
We know, you’re so upset that you can’t go clubbing these days. But who says that you still can’t join a very exclusive club that sends you a monthly gift? Everyone loves cheese (sorry vegans and dairy-free people, this gift is not for you) or knows a cheese-lover, so why not pamper them with something that might also benefit you (if, of course, they decide to share and you both have negative COVID tests)?
$100/month, at Jasper Hill Farms.
Livewire’s canned Honeydew Collins
Four Loko… sigh… how we miss thee. But as the original incarnation of Four Loko’s time came and went, so did the phase of our youth when we could poison ourselves in the name of partying. We still love drinking alcoholic punch out of cans, but now we are Functioning Adults™ with good taste. We were big on canned cocktails this year, and the Honeydew Collins from Livewire just might be our fave, hitting that right balance of sweetness, acidity, and booziness.
$19.99 for a 4-pack, at The World’s Best Bartenders.
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