It’s a fact: cocktails taste better when they’re enjoyed with friends and family, making spirits one of the best hostess gifts you can give this holiday season. But you can take your gift to the next level by pairing a bottle of premium spirits with stylish bar cart accessories and an easy, yet impressive cocktail recipe. James Aguiar, Vice President of Creative at Modern Luxury, curated a selection of chic items to gift with a bottle of Avión Tequila, along with a modern twist on the classic old fashioned recipe. From key ingredients to barware fixings, read on to discover a cocktail to savor and share with your loved ones this holiday season.
Avión Reserva 44 Old Fashioned
- 2 Parts Avión Reserva 44
- 1 Bar Spoon Agave Syrup
- 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
- 1 Dash Spicy Bitters
- Orange Peel to garnish
Directions: Stir all ingredients together with ice in a mixing glass, then strain into an old fashioned glass over a big, crystal-clear ice cube, add an extra dash of Angostura bitters and garnish with a wide orange peel.
The Secret Must-Have Spirit
Tequila is a bar cart essential, and James’s go-to pick is Avión Reserva 44, as it suits multiple moods. Handcrafted in limited batches, this uniquely aged, extra añejo tequila achieves a dark, rich color and flavor infused with luscious fruits, vanilla and oak.
Tequila may be a surprising spirit base for an old fashioned recipe, but the complexity of Avión’s extra añejo is due to aging it at least three years in American bourbon barrels. The 44 distinct flavor notes create an ever-evolving taste map to be explored with each sip for an unparalleled drinking experience.
Behind the Bar
A well-crafted drink requires basic bar tools such as a double jigger, strainer, ice tongs, bottle opener and a knife. Consider purchasing a brass-finished barware set as it adds a dose of vintage glamour to any bar cart. With these necessities, a host can pop open bottles, precisely measure spirits and slice fruity garnishes.
Mix & Stir
Stirred, spirit-forward cocktails like an old fashioned achieve two outcomes a shaken drink rarely does: chill and dilution. By swirling your ingredients beforehand, the adding of ice will only further enhance the chill of a glass. It also ensures less dilution of your spirit selection, creating a rich, velvety texture to one’s sipping journey. A footed cocktail mixer with a long-handled bar stirrer like this Scully & Scully staple is practical, sturdy and protects your inner mixings from interfering with the heat of your hand.
It’s All in the Details
Make a cocktail truly one-of-a-kind by showing off one’s monogram with a customizable ice cube tray. Bigger is always better; a large ice cube will slowly melt, leaving a host’s eye-catching signature visible throughout the sipping experience.
A Fruity Finish
Add extra holiday pizzazz with a fruity garnish like dehydrated orange slices. A colorful yet versatile adornment, James likes dried citrus wheels for their concentrated flavor they add to a cocktail. Find them at any specialty foods store.
It is customary for cocktails on the rocks —like old fashioneds, negronis and white Russians — to be served in a lowball glass. James recommends Christofle’s crystal Iriana glass set tailor-made for these classically cool creations. The elegant tumbler has a pleasant weight to it, and is also ideal for sipping your Avión Reserva 44 neat.
The finishing touch for any cocktail is a decorative linen napkin. Choose a set with an embroidered detail that may spark a personal memory for the host, or opt for a style by your giftee’s favorite artist. Hunt Slonem, an American painter known for his Neo-Expressionist paintings of bunnies, embroiders his famous figure onto keepsake cocktail napkins available at the luxury department stores Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.