Jeff Josenhans | Guest Contributor
Everyone has experienced the dilemma of what to buy others for Christmas. This holds especially true when buying gifts for adults. Even more painful is the process of swimming upstream through the crowds at the mall. And let’s face it – a bottle of wine off the store shelf in the grocery store can be pretty lame without a story behind it.
This column is dedicated to offering a helping hand not only to alleviate and prevent upcoming holiday stress, but also some unique options for holiday gifts and getaway ideas over the coming months for you and your loved one, friend, or family.
If you are a beer fan, San Diego is obviously loaded with some of the best microbreweries in the country!
Although many of these beers are available in good grocery and liquor stores, there’s nothing like going to the brewery and bringing home a growler if you want to impress. This beats any store-bought beer gift!
Visiting local breweries such as Mission Brewery and Karl Strauss Brewery (both Downtown) are great ways to support the Downtown economy.
If you want to make a day trip out of it, the Stone World Bistro is a beautiful way to spend the afternoon in their gardens in Escondido, but they also just recently opened a Stone Company Store in South Park where you can taste before you buy. Or, why not top off ice-skating at the Del with a visit to Coronado Brewing Company?
The holidays are always better with a cocktail or two, and spirits make a fine gift! This year support one of the only local distillers producing spirits – Ballast Point Brewery. Not only do they produce iconic beer, they have also recently started producing gin, vodka, rum, and whiskey. So this year, make your holiday cocktail San Diegan!
Temecula has always been there for the San Diego wine-drinking population, but little do most know that the local San Diego region is producing some good wine recently, as well. Vesper Vineyards is producing some fantastic wines out of Rancho Santa Fe and the Pauma Valley. Their Carignan is the ultimate Turkey wine! Vesper also works with Highland Hills Winery in the Ramona Valley, another local winery that produces a Muscat that would pair wonderfully with any holiday cheese platter.
Any of these wineries can be visited by making an appointment through their website, but once again if a day trip is more your style, I highly recommend visiting Orfila Winery in Escondido. They have a large and well-equipped tasting room with a new winemaker who is truly striving to show the quality that the San Diego region can offer. No appointment is necessary, either, so it is truly convenient for the spontaneous day trip!
Can’t make up your mind between beer, wine or liquor?
The US Grant has made their signature Cocktails Sur Lie line of cocktails available to buy online. Being the first bottle-fermented cocktail utilizing the champagne method, it promises a unique gift idea for any cocktail, wine, or beer aficionado. The cocktail itself consists of vodka, ginger, and hops, and can be purchased at the Grant Grill but is only sold via www.muleatthegrant.com for those who want to take it home.
Hopefully I have not only been able to make you shine when it comes to gift-giving this year, but also given props to the local beverage industry where it is deserved. Celebrate local and let the holiday season begin!
In just three years, level 2 CMS Sommelier and Master Mixologist Jeff Josenhans has changed the dynamic in The Grant Grill Downtown from a classic institution to an exciting lounge and elegant restaurant. Taking the kitchen’s “Farm to Table” philosophy to the bar, he has developed a seasonal cocktail program based largely on the hotel’s rooftop garden. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.