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10 ideas for the entertainer on your list
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The holidays are about making spirits bright, so what better occasion to spoil the host with the most in your life? Consumer Reports rounded up a few of our favorite items from recent at-home evaluations and asked a handful of entertaining enthusiasts for their recommendations as well. Consider this a foolproof way to earn yourself an invite back.
Need more holiday shopping help and inspiration? See all of CR’s holiday gift guide and check out gifts for gardeners and plant lovers, home chefs, and gifts to buy for yourself.
Diaspora Co. Aranya Black Pepper
For the one who knows their way around a kitchen, rich seasonings can go a long way. “I don’t think I fully appreciated just how much of a difference good-quality spices made until I began using spices from Diaspora Co.,” says Sandro Roco, founder of Sanzo, an Asian-inspired sparkling water brand that produces beverages with flavors like yuzu, calamansi, and lychee.
“Diaspora’s Aranya Black Pepper has a freshness and brightness that I didn’t even know existed in black pepper, and it instantly made every dish that called for black pepper significantly better.”
Mouth #1 Pickles
Pickles can be a crowd-pleaser, and this set from Mouth is up to the task. Each box comes with a variety of jarred small-batch pickles, which are updated monthly, featuring flavors like garlic mustard dill, Old Bay-seasoned, and za’atar pickle chips, to name a few.
Mouth was the top-scoring company in a study conducted by CR wherein staffers evaluated the ordering experience and gift selection from five prominent vendors. It was the only one where all of CR’s gift set senders were satisfied with the gift they selected and most felt they got good value for the money.
Hawkins New York Simple Cocktail Shaker
In an evaluation of the best cocktail shakers, a CR editor designated this model as the best-looking—its Art Deco-inspired design and a luxe brass finish certainly give it flair. Made from coated stainless steel, this shiny shaker can dress up just about any bar cart and mix a mean cocktail to boot.
For more options: Best Cocktail Makers
Brightland The Mini Artist Series
When it comes to cooking essentials, good olive oil almost always comes out on the top. “I love gifting olive oil, perhaps because I go through so much of it myself,” says Melanie Masarin, founder of Ghia, a non-alcoholic apéritif brand. “Brightland just launched a giftable set of minis with different artist series that is really beautiful.” The set includes oils infused with individual flavors like basil, lemon, garlic, and spicy peppers.
Stick With Me Sweets 6-Piece Bonbon Box
Beautiful packaging is just one reason to love these sweet confections, which come in a book-shaped box that opens to reveal six glossy, colorful domes of chocolate. The unique flavors are a bonus—including a “wild strawberry” that’s reminiscent of strawberry shortcake ice cream bars, and a black and white bonbon modeled after the iconic cookie that’s widely found in New York City bakeries.
For more options: Best Boxed Chocolates
Material The Trio of Knives
“Tradition says knives should not be given out as gifts. I care to disagree,” says Masarin. “It seems like I can never get enough knives, and the ones from this collaboration are sharp, universal, and beautiful.”
The trio includes an 8-inch chef’s knife, a 4-inch paring knife, and a 6-inch serrated knife. All three are made from Japanese high-carbon and stainless steel, which lends itself to routine sharpening and a long life in your kitchen. They also come in an embroidered felt pouch that makes them easy and safe to store, too, says Masarin. (We haven’t evaluated this particular set.)
For knives that CR has evaluated, see the Best Chef’s Knives from CR’s tests.
Château Montaud Côtes de Provence Rosé
The rosé-enthusiast on your list will certainly appreciate this blend from Château Montaud, which impressed in an evaluation of the best boxed wines. One taster found this one to be a juicy, medium-bodied wine, with a silky mouthfeel and subtle tannins. With notes of summer dew melon, strawberries, and honeysuckle, this wine is rich and complex but still easy to drink. Its beautifully illustrated packaging makes it party-ready and highly giftable.
For more options: Best Boxed Wines
Fellow Joey Double Wall Ceramic Coffee Mug
Give the java enthusiast a better vessel for their brew. According to Bernie Deitrick, a CR test engineer, compact mugs with multiple small servings (rather than one big pour) can optimize the flavor and retain the heat of coffee. These Fellow Joey mugs are up to the task.
For more options: Best Coffee Mugs for Keeping a Brew Warm
La Monarca Mexican Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate and the holidays go hand-in-hand, so bring a little flavor to the table with this spiced mix. The full-bodied, complex Mexican-style hot chocolate won’t overload the taste buds with spice, but rather the cinnamon in this mix mingles beautifully with the chocolate, allowing both flavors to come through in harmony. This blend came out on top for the best spiced option in an evaluation of hot chocolates, edging out the competition with its unique flavor profile.
For more options: Best Hot Chocolates
Casamara Club Alta, the Aperitivo Club Soda (4-pack)
Instead of toting along a bottle of wine or bubbly to your next gathering, consider a ready-to-drink mocktail instead. In a recent evaluation of non-alcoholic spirits, CR’s editors found Casamara Club’s Alta club soda to be light, refreshing, and easy to drink. It’s gently spiced with juniper, allspice, and cloves, among other ingredients, and its aesthetically pleasing packaging is simply the cherry on top.
For more options: Best Ready-to-Drink Mocktails
Based in New York City, I’m a shopping editor for Consumer Reports, writing about home, tech, and everything in between. Previously, I covered interior design and market trends as the digital editor of Domino, which shaped my multidisciplinary background in lifestyle journalism. When I’m not seeking out the everyday essentials worth investing in, you may find me perusing my favorite bookstores, cooking, or wandering around the city.
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