Haute Holiday Gifts for Everyone on Your #Shopping List! #LAStory #Christmas2015

Gifting for the girl can be hard. Doesn’t matter who the girl is: girlfriend, sister, mother, aunt, wife, best friend, colleague, or even boss, it’s often hard for others to buy gifts if they don’t know what the girl likes.
I am going to bridge lots of gifts over the last few days of #holiday shopping posts for girls, guys, and the grab-bag of people on everyone’s list from house-cleaners to doctors.

Here are some of my favorite non-gender specific gifts:

Spirits and wine:

I write a lot about this segment. I love featuring cocktails and wine. It always brings a smile to my face and to others that I know who follow me only for that kind of content! (Stick around for the “12 Drinks of Christmas”! It’s my homage to an array of spirits that should be tried and tested over the holidays!

Teeling Irish Whiskey!
This is a premium Irish Whiskey family with 3 different styles or types of Irish whiskey from a company that is founded by two brothers. It’s an innovator brand and also native Irish indie distilling brand too. There are very few of those around these days!

Teeling Small Batch Whiskey

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Flagship Irish whiskey and the Teeling brother’s attempt to create the most interesting Blended Irish whiskey. This small batch bottling consists of hand-selected casks which are given further maturation in ex-rum barrels imparting extra character and smooth flavor unique to Irish whiskey. By bottling at 46% with no chill filtration completes an Irish whiskey of true character.


Teeling Single Grain

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Single Grain – Recently Awarded World’s Best Grain at the World Whiskies Awards, 2014. This award-winning addition is one of only a handful of Single Grain Bottlings in the world. It is fully matured in Californian red wine barrels resulting in an intensely fruity and beautifully amber liquid, with lush berry notes. Hand selected casks, bottled at 46% with no chill filtration to ensure all the unique flavor is captured.

Teeling Single Malt

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The Single Malt is made 100% from a range of different ages of malted barley, including Malt whiskey distilled 24 years ago. The vatting in Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon casks leads to an Irish Malt whiskey with complex personality and character. The Teeling Single Malt is vibrant with notes of melon, figs, toffee and lemon on the nose, a balance mix of dry fruits, citrus, vanilla, spice and clove flavors and a long finish with sweetness in harmony with dry tannins.

Teeling Whiskey takes gifting to an entirely different level of gifting experience for the people who are lucky enough to get any one of these whiskeys. Recipients be surprised at how great any of the Teeling Whiskeys are– and how you heard about it before they did. (SW)

Find Teeling Whiskey here: http://teelingwhiskey.com/ Ask your local purveyors to carry it. You won’t be sorry.

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Cook it up with Hampton Salts!

Hampton Salts is a preeminent provider of all natural sea salt. Their salt merchants scour the world to provide you the best selection of raw salts, flavored salts or smoked salts. All their salts are unrefined and have no unhealthy additives. Each salt has a unique taste profile based on the sea from where it originated and the natural minerals are not stripped out like refined salt.

rawn hamptons salts

Their selection of flavored and smoked salts are all natural and provide a burst of flavor with just a pinch and can add some zip to any meal, snack or drink! They are perfect for cocktails, the grill and lots more “in the kitchen” stuff.

http://www.hamptonssalt.com/

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Simi Wines

I love Simi Wines. They have a great way of capturing the essence of the varietal grapes that pair so well with so many dishes this time of year yet stand well on their own if sipping is the order of the day. While I love giving wine as a gift, there’s a way for you to tweak the gift so that it’s part DIY and part wine (all courtesy of Simi Wine!)

For a thoughtful alternative to a typical last minute gift, Kevin West’s recipes for Apple Jelly and Whole Grain Chardonnay Mustard are ideal homemade offerings for anyone on your gift list from your boss to your host/hostess this holiday season.

Gift your host/hostess with a jar of Kevin West’s Apple Jelly infused with SIMI Landslide Cabernet Sauvignon. This preserve is a great spread for hors d’oeuvres, or as an accoutrement to your cheese board. Gift the jelly alongside a bottle of SIMI Landslide Cabernet Sauvignon if you’re looking to step your gift up a notch.

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Apple Jelly

Here’s the recipe for Apple Jelly:

Apple Jelly

Ingredients:
3 pounds small, tart, crisp apples—preferably green or heirloom varieties
6 cups water
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 large bay leaves
2/3 cups SIMI Alexander Valley Landslide Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
4 cups sugar

Cooking steps:
1) Chop the apples, including the peels and cores. Place them in a deep pot and add water, which should not quite cover the fruit. Weight down the apples with a lid one size smaller than your cooking pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the apples start to collapse and break apart. Turn off heat and allow the cooked apples to cool for half an hour.

2) Strain the apples through a damp jelly bag and capture the liquid in a bowl. (You could also use a double layer of damp cheesecloth or a clean tea towel that you have moistened and wrung out.) You should have 5 to 5 ½ cups of this pectin stock, which will be cloudy. It’s fine to lightly squeeze or massage the bag in order to extract more liquid if you’re short, but stop before you squeeze our particles or chunks that would cloud the jelly.

3) Divide the pectin stock into two equal portions. You will have a better and more reliable outcome if you cook the jelly in two batches—and I promise that two small batches cook almost as quickly as one large batch.

4) Choose a wide, low-sided pot such as a 6-quart enameled casserole. Add half the pectin stock, 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/3 cup SIMI Landslide Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of the sugar. Stirring frequently, reduce at a full boil for 12-14 minutes, or until mats of large bubbles—I call them “frog eyes”—start to foam up. Turn off the heat and check the set by spooning ½ teaspoon of hot jelly onto a chilled saucer and placing it in the freezer for 1 minute. If it forms a skin that wrinkles when you push your finger through it, the jelly is ready. Otherwise, bring the contents of the pot back to a boil for one minute longer, then check again. (You’ll reach the gel set faster if you’re using supplemental dried apple pectin.)

5) Working quickly now before the jelly sets up, discard the bay leaf and ladle the hot jelly into two half-pint jars. Seal, and store the cooled jars in the refrigerator for up to a month. (If you plan to can the jelly, leave ¼” headspace, seal, and process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.)

6) Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Alternatively, Kevin West’s Whole-Grain Chardonnay Mustard infused with SIMI Sonoma County Chardonnay is another tasty DIY gifting idea, with a just a few easy steps, you can whip together this homemade mustard for all of your gift list recipients to enjoy. This whole grain SIMI chardonnay mustard adds a zesty piquancy, a great complement atop a hearty roast chicken or sopressata with mozzarella.

mustard

Whole-Grain Chardonnay Mustard
Yields 1 ½ cups

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons mustard powder
¼ cup water
½ cup yellow mustard seeds (3 ounces)
2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
1/3 cup SIMI Sonoma County Chardonnay
¼ cup sherry vinegar or white-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
optional: 2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Cooking steps:
1) Whisk together the mustard powder and water in a bowl. Stir in the seeds. Set aside for 10 minutes.

2) Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover, and store in the refrigerator overnight.

3) The next morning, adjust the seasonings to taste. (Note that the mustard will be fiercely hot and somewhat bitter at first.) Discard the thyme springs, if using. If you prefer a smoother but still grainy texture, process the mustard for 30-60 seconds in a blender or with an immersion blender. Transfer the mustard to jars. Seal, and mellow in the refrigerator for three days before using. The finished mustard will keep in the refrigerator for a month.

Note: This recipe can be doubled or quadrupled to make a large batch for gifting.

Find more information on wines and recipes using Simi Winery’s wines on http://www.simiwinery.com/
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Gilt City: Los Angeles
So maybe DIY isn’t YOU. That’s ok! There are other gifts you can give!
Check out Gilt City’s Los Angeles last-minute deals. These deals include meal deals across the city
Check out Next Door Lounge’s deal here:

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Preppi Emergency Kits:
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There are many more deals that include spa treatments and fun things to do around the city. Biss is never having to pay full price courtesy of Gilt City LA! https://www.giltcity.com/los-angeles

Stevie Wilson,
LA-Story.com

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Holiday Treat Yourself 2015
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Author: Stevie Wilson

Digital and social media pioneer and visionary meets disruptive innovator with a passion for topics and conversations that reveal insight into the So. California lifestyle. LA-Story.com appeals to a global audience (from Asia to Africa; Middle East to Europe, No. America to Latin America) in variety of topics and sectors: style (beauty and fashion), health & fitness, entertainment (movies, TV, books, music and more) ; food, beverages & spirits; IT Security + tech , travel, special events (red carpet to green carpet) I am known for interviews ( podcasts , textual and video conversations) with notables, celebrities and companies about interesting products & brands; profiles about places that reflect the So. CA vision and special events (Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys & other events that illustrate celebrity , athletes and home-town "stars" lifestyle and initiatives.) that illuminate the insider's perspective of So. California's lifestyle . Learn what's hot in Los Angeles, NYC, MIami and stops closer to home that make this blog a must-read because the voice, attitude, authenticity and ability to grasp the essence of most sectors, brands & products make it easy for consumers to earn what makes a brand, initiative or product unique - whether, food, fashion or finance (or any other topic "on the table") With 15+ Years online launching websites, online magazines, forums, products & brands, my voice, authenticity and ability to grasp the essence of most sectors, brands & products make it easy for me to share what the online audience and consumers alike want to learn- how to shop, live and reflect the lifestyle they wish to emulate. Need to leverage digital and social media space? Reach out to me!

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