What’s in your Made Local Magazine Holiday Gift Basket?
It’s that time of year again! Why go to a big box store when an amazing array of local gift options abound? We had a hard time narrowing down the list, but here are just a few fantastic gift ideas for the food and drink lovers on your list.
Thank you to Joan Voight and Dani Burlison for helping compile this list. Let the gifting begin!
Candy Caps sound like a Christmas treat, but they are actually wild mushrooms
with a hint of sweetness that thrive on the Sonoma Coast. Jason Jorgensen experimented with them as a bartender in Santa Rosa, and when he and his wife Krystle founded Alley 6 distillery, he was so smitten by the little beauties that he used them for his signature bitters. With the help of local chef Dylan Taube, they forage the earthy, maple-flavored mushrooms and dry them. Jason then adds rye whiskey, cinnamon, star anise, clove, and other holiday spices. The Alley 6 Candy Cap Bitters add a subtle, savory surprise to classic wintertime cocktails like Old Fashioneds and Manhattans.
For a very low-alcohol highball, I use 3 to 4 drops of the bitters with half soda, half ginger ale and a lemon twist over ice. Jason says one bottle of bitters (officially dubbed 86’d Candy Cap Bitters in protest of the state law that forced him to exit—or be “86ed” in bar parlance—from his bartending gig when he cofounded a distillery) is enough to punctuate drinks from at least three bottles of whiskey. Jason and Krystle also love to sprinkle the mushroom bitters into their waffle mix, or dribble it on vanilla ice cream. I prefer sprinkling it on dark chocolate; it’s addictive. Getting into the party spirit, the Healdsburg distillery also just launched Old Fashioned cocktails in cans, which rock the Candy Cap Bitters and Alley 6 rye whisky.
Find at Alley 6 Distillery (1401 Grove St., Healdsburg)
or Bottle Barn (3331-A Industrial Dr., Santa Rosa).
Order online at DandM.com or bittersandbottles.com.
$20 for 4 oz. bottle. Online prices vary.
This locally produced chocolate is an absolute luxury to indulge in and is the perfect gift for the chocolate lover on your list. Made primarily from locally sourced ingredients like Clover Dairy, Petaluma Hill Dairy, Merchants & Millers Olive Oil, and Flying Goat Coffee, Volo Chocolate’s variety of scrumptious bars offers something for every flavor palate. Former owners of Zin restaurant in Healdsburg, Jeff and Susan Mall returned from a stint as executive chefs at a resort in Mexico and brought their love of Mexican chocolate back across the border with them. In 2016, the pair began producing their unique chocolate bars—in batches of roughly 1,200 per week—at their headquarters in Windsor.
Their selection of flavors will not disappoint: the “MexiCali” bar includes a zing of chiles with the sweet tanginess of dried cherries; my personal favorite, a 62% dark milk chocolate bar with figs, hazelnuts and almonds is perfect for long winter nights; and of course, they offer a holiday favorite, a dark chocolate bar with candied orange peel. They also make a more straight-forward 73% deep dark bar, their purest and darkest chocolate available. The chocolate can be purchased by the single 2.5 ounce bar or in a package collection of six, or you can give the gift that keeps on giving with a monthly subscription of either 4, 6 or 7 bars (the 7th in this subscription includes a bonus member’s only bar).
– Dani Burlison
Find at volochocolate.com
Online prices – Bars: $8. Collection: $46.50. Subscriptions: $30 to $50
Modeled after traditional European aperitifs but with the distinct flare of tasty California wines, Jardesca’s red and white aperitivas are here to highlight any holiday party. Unlike traditional wines, Jardesca’s aperitifs are produced by blending dry and sweet wines with double-distilled California wines. Made in Sonoma, they infuse the concoctions with 10 botanical herbs, including tangerine, ginger, and cardamom in their red blend and pink grapefruit, bay leaf, and pink peppercorn in their white blend. Traditionally, aperitifs are served before meals to prepare for digestion, but Jardesca Aperitivas offer much more than a simple kick to the digestive system. Add a splash of prosecco and an orange twist to the red, or sparkling wine, a dash of pomegranate juice and a spring of rosemary to the white, and you’re sure to get your holiday feast off to a festive start. Jardesca.com includes a variety of recipes to experiment with this winter, including the delightful holiday drink below.
– Dani Burlison
Find at jardesca.com
Jardesca Holiday Spritz
3 oz Jardesca White Aperitiva
2 oz Prosecco or Sparkling Wine
1 Small Spoonful Pomegranate Syrup (or grenadine)
Garnish with Pomegranate Seeds and Sprig of Rosemary
Serve over ice.
Indira Tea, a new product from Sipsong Spirits, contains all the taste of gin without the alcohol. Sipsong’s founder Tara Jasper, who grew up in Northern California and makes her home in Sonoma County, studied culinary arts at Santa Rosa Junior College, which led to a passion for liquor-making and then distilling. As the company’s newest product, the zero-alcohol, zero-caffeine teas are based on the botanical profile used in Jasper’s Sipsong Spirits Indira Gin. It’s a long list of good smelling and tasting ingredients like juniper, angelica root, bay leaf, cardamon, hibiscus, lavender, lime, coriander, sloe berry, star anise, and pink peppercorns.
This would make a great gift for adventurous tea drinkers who want to try something out of the box, or those who don’t drink but don’t want to be left out of the party. Local bartenders are already using the tea as a way to amp of the flavor profile and depth of mocktails. Jasper recommends mixing equal parts of Fevertree tonic with equal parts tea for a smart take on the free-spirited drink trend.
– Leilani Clark
Find online at sipsongspirits.com/tea.
Available locally at Oliver’s Market, Big John’s, and Pacific Market.
Hot Mocktail Honey Lemon Gin Tea
5 oz Gin Tea, freshly brewed
1 oz lemon, freshly squeezed
1/2 oz honey
Optional: Add one thin round of fresh ginger or a dash of cardamom and orange bitters.