Here’s what to buy for the perfect holiday gift basket

Every year, I put together holiday gift baskets filled with some of my favorite food finds. They often go to aunts or uncles, to my children’s teachers or to a hostess as a thank you for a beautiful evening.

Some items are local, some are not; some may be expensive, some may not. Avoid anything that needs to be refrigerated.

The best holiday gift basket is one that’s filled with the things you love – items you think others will love, too.

How to put together a large holiday gift basket? Just add …

Something alcoholic, something sweet

Something candle, something cheap

… And a spice would be nice.

For something alcoholicLockwood Distilling Co.’s Cream of Bourbon Liqueur ($ 24.99) is a surprisingly versatile gift. I’ve seen revelers open it at the end of the night and splash it in a cup of coffee. I tried it in a White Russian instead of Kahlúa – or in a Colorado Bulldog, which I like even more. I’ve heard that some people even mix it into their waffle batter or bread pudding.

In my gift box this year I also included a not alcoholic Papa Scott’s Bloody Mary Mix Bottle ($ 12). This is a 60 year old recipe made by a small business owner in Dallas. Mix it with vodka for a typical Bloody, with beer for a Michelada-style cocktail, or leave it alone for a slightly spicy tomato-based mocktail.

Make sure you find out if your gift buyer is a drinker before wrapping it with alcohol.

For something sweet, I can’t resist Lindt’s “Touch of Sea Salt” Dark Chocolate ($ 3.99). You can buy more expensive chocolate elsewhere, but it doesn’t get any better than this. A single square after dinner is the perfect end to any meal.

For something candle, go for a kitchen madness that is both fun and functional. At my house, we are running low on DeCarlo pepperoncino olive oil from Eataly ($ 10.90). Anybody Needs a small bottle of spicy olive oil, that’s exactly why it’s a great gift: your friend probably wouldn’t buy it for herself. Once you’ve drizzled it with spaghetti, shake it in a hearty soup, or spread it on bread with butter, you’ll start buying your own candle olive oil. (Sorry in advance!)

For something cheap, get a gift card at a local restaurant or store. The smaller the better: Think of this as a way to get a friend to try your favorite place. I bought $ 10 at Window Seat, my family’s favorite cafe in East Dallas. That’s just enough to cover a latte and a pastry.

For a paver, add a spice. Because it’s nice. If you’re a home cook, choose the spice you keep coming back to. And don’t think too much about it; Now is not the time to pretend to like za’atar (a Middle Eastern blend of sesame seeds, oregano, thyme, marjoram and sumac) if it doesn’t suit your dinners homemade. Me, I started tossing Trader Joe’s Onion Salt ($ 1.99) into everything from my kids’ mac and cheese to the turkey taco salad we make on weeknights. And hey! The Kitchn says it’s “much more attractive than most onion salts on the market.” It must also be one of the cheapest.

Here’s where to buy each item:

  • Lockwood Distilling Cream of Bourbon Liqueur is available at all major liquor stores in North Texas. (Or, if you want to taste it first, visit Lockwood’s two family bars, in Richardson and Fort Worth.)
  • Papa Scott’s Bloody Mary Mix is ​​available online.
  • Lindt chocolate is available in almost any grocery store, as well as some specialty stores like World Market.
  • DeCarlo pepperoncino olive oil comes from Eataly at the NorthPark Center in Dallas.
  • Local gift cards should come from any small business!
  • And Onion Salt is a Trader Joe’s product, available at any of the nine stores in North Texas.

For more food information, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.

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