Give the gift of spices and continue to share the simple joy of flavor with friends and family long after the decorations come down.
- Flavors of the Holy Land gift set, and the
New Persian Kitchen cookbook
- Make Your Own Curry gift set, 660 Curries cookbook,
and a Masala Dabba
- Around the World gift set
- Any of our regional gift sets
FOR THE MEATLOVER -
- Big Tubs of Rubs gift set
- Tango Trio gift set and Latin Grilling cookbook
- BBQ Belt: Regional Rubs gift set
with Charred & Scruffed cookbook
- This Little Piggy gift set and a primal cuts pork kitchen towel
- Beefcake gift set with a primal cuts beef kitchen towel
- Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures & Glazes cookbook
- Kitchen Aid Spice Grinder
- Atlas Pepper or Salt Mill and a supply of Tellicherry Black Pepper or Himalayan Pink Salt
- Shake and its Ball jar cocktail shaker
- Lark: Cooking Against the Grain cookbook
FOR THE TEA AFICIONADO -
- Little Luxuries gift set featuring four decadent indulgences
- Salt & Pepper Upgrade gift set
- Roast or Sweet Chai Kit
- Cocktail, Recipe or our new favorite Chai Dice
- Scrappys Bitters Sampler pack
- Vanilla Bean Puree or ground Vanilla Bean
Still stuck? Check out our Gift Cards, Gift Cards, and more Gift Cards!
Want an easy DIY project that you can take from start to finish in under an hour? This is your post. But beware! Once you start gifting this hot fudge sauce you won’t be able to stop- my sister has been asking for it every holiday since 2004. Our favorite formulation combines bittersweet chocolate with Kashmiri Garam Masala and uses maple syrup as the sweetener, but you can switch up the spice and sweetener in all kinds of creative combinations. Chinese Five Spice with agave nectar is another one of our favorites. A decadent dose of sweet and spice will make your holiday extra nice. This recipe makes 2 cups, but double up if you want to make more for gifts.
There exists an old spice merchant proverb dating back to the early 21st century which, roughly translated, advises that “the better the cocktail; the better the party. The better the party; the better the friends.” E’er here to help, we’ve compiled some of our favorite reference materials on the topic. Serve these delicious, humorous, and historical (and of course, spicy!) signature potent potables at your holiday soiree for insurance on a years’ worth of favors from your party-goers.
“Let’s Bring Back; The Cocktail Edition” touts itself as a “compendium of impish, romantic, amusing, and occasionally appalling potations from bygone eras.” The recipes hail from two-hundred year-old sources, right up to the archives of 1950′s iconic restaurant bars. From chuckles to laughs-out-loud, the history and suggestions accompanying each cocktail will have you and your guests tittering for hours, a la, ”think only pure thoughts while sipping [The Bishop],” or consume a Scofflaw to give you the courage to “Wear white after Labor Day… Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese on Seafood Pasta… and all sorts of comparable acts of insurrection.”
“Savory Cocktails” is a slender little tome; an ode to all things sour, spicy, herbal, umami, bitter, smoky, high, and strong. These drinks are undeniably sexy — what a modern-day Don Draper might imbibe. They’re interesting and nuanced, and legions away from fru-fru — no neon-hued apple-tinis here! Sophisticated foodies only need apply. Try a subtle Green Tea Gimlet (I’d pick jade green Mao Feng to offset the lime), or a Dog’s Nose, made with, of all things, powdered porcini mushrooms in combination with porter and shaved nutmeg. This book calls for a wide variety of flavored bitters- pick up a Scrappy’s sampler pack or two to complete the package.
Though we love classic Mulled Wine and Eggnog, there’s so much more to winter-y cocktails than these two standbys. Enter, “Winter Cocktails.” Learn how to give hot chocolate a grown-up twist with lavender flowers and Earl Grey tea, or elevate your ski-lodge lounge with a “Rosy Cheek,” sprinkled with the rosy cheeks of cracked pink peppercorns. In addition to inspired beverages, this book also has a fabulous section on infusing alcohols at home — Rose-infused gin, anyone? Pair any one of these liquors or cocktails with their suggested finger foods. This is a one-stop-shop for great winter entertaining.
No list of cocktail books would be complete without a mention of the “Drunken Botanist,” shop best-seller and staff favorite since spring. As the name implies, this book unites the best of science and insobriety, leading an alphabetical nature walk from Agave to Strawberry and hitting all the best booze-making plants in between. Learning and jubilating skip hand-in-hand in this volume, the pages dotted with recipes for classic cocktails, as well as tips for updating old favorites in single servings and “pitcher” fulls.
Out of a workshop in Brooklyn comes “Shake,” self-described as ”one part instructional recipe book, one part photo journey, and one part inspirational pep talk” for mixing spectacular cocktails at home. The approach is seasonal and straightforward, focused on simplicity, socializing, and, above all, fun! Our copy in the shop comes with the sweetest Mason jar cocktail shaker, pictured on the front of the book, for an automatic out-hipster of just about any one. (Pair with the Art of Fermentation- pickle it! for the win.)
The rich and toasty taste of our Besar blend makes an ideal complement for the pop of fresh cranberry in this exotic twist on a holiday classic. Candied ginger and dried apricots round out the fruity flavors, and the result is an intensely flavored chutney that you can serve well past Thanksgiving. You can try variations too- add an apple to mellow the flavors or some chopped walnuts for a little crunch. Any way you make it, the bright flavor of cranberries add a bit of sunshine to a winter feast. Go cranberries!
Everyone knows the horror of the dry turkey breast and will do cartwheels to avoid it. Our tried and true solution is the basic turkey brine, pun intended. It requires advance planning, but once you incorporate brining into your holiday routine it simply adds to the bustle and flavor of the season, along with a dose of stress reduction because your turkey will NOT be dry. Here are the basics.
Be prepared! Your turkey should be completely thawed and you must have a brining container that is big enough. The turkey needs to be completely submerged. Brining bags are all the rage- but a bucket or cooler can do the trick just as well. Make sure you have a cool place to put the brining turkey for 12-24 hours prior to cooking. This requires a good bit of refrigerator space, but if you use a brining bag, it doesn’t require much more than it would for the bird itself.
Make your brining solution: Use the correct proportion of water and salt, regardless of what else you add to the mix- the salinity of the brine must be correct for it to flow into the meat. The standard proportion is 1 cup of kosher salt per gallon of water or stock. No need to use specialty salts here, the nuances will not contribute to the flavor. If you are using prepared vegetable stock, make sure it is salt free so you don’t upset the balance.
The brine and turkey should both be cooled to the same temperature before they are combined. Again, this ensures that the brine will flow easily into the turkey. Most refrigerators are set around 38 degrees and that works just fine. Be sure to leave the bird in the brine at least overnight, and 24 hours is better for larger turkeys.
So go ahead and have fun with the flavors! Toss your favorite whole or cracked spices into the brine and experiment with using apple cider in the mix. For more ideas, check out our new favorite cookbook- Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures & Glazes. It’s a wealth of over 400 inspired recipes using loads of spice!
World Spice Merchant‘s new Chorizo Bomb spice blend has been a favorite of our restaurant clients for years, so it was no surprise that it started flying off the shelves as soon as we started offering it to our retail family. This versatile blend can be used to make a Mexican-style chorizo, or even a North African –style merguez sausage — as links or patties. It pulls double, triple, and quadruple duty as a great grill seasoning, taco and fajita spice, or in simple beans and rice. A little smoky from the Pasilla Oaxacas, sweet smoked paprika, and Chipotle flakes, a little herbaceous from the generous dose of oregano, thyme, and marjoram, and a bit sweet from the Hungarian paprika — you’ll see, there’s a reason we call it the “bomb!”
So, how do you use it? We’re testing additional recipes right now, but in the meantime, here are easy patty-making recipes for both Mexican chorizo and North African mergeuz sausage. For additional inspiration, check out HuffpostTaste’s published list of the “The Best Recipes that Use Chorizo.”
P.S. If you decide to go all D.I.Y. homemade, here’s a great article explaining how to grind your own meat for patties as well as case up your sausage links: how to make your own sausage.