Struggling to find that perfect little something for a friend, relative or significant other? Allow Eater DC to alleviate any shopping-related stress with this inaugural holiday gift guide.
These local treasures are specific to the DMV yet still varied enough to appeal to everyone on this year’s “nice” list. Featured items include everything from gourmet chocolates and regionally inspired booze to custom decorations and fancy barware. The best news: Most of these items are budget-friendly enough to allow gift givers to perhaps even splurge on themselves.
Marcella Kriebel’s Illustrated Feast Collection
Local artist and food lover Marcella Kriebel produces striking images of politically positioned produce, trendy dishes (ramen, anyone?), and familiar drinks at her Brookland studio. Her Illustrated Feast series is now 90-plus prints deep — including a dozen beverage-themed entries (which also feature the corresponding drink recipe).
Marcella Kriebel; Price: $20 apiece
One Eight Distilling’s Rock Creek Bourbon
Ivy City-based One Eight Distilling is offering free engraving on its assorted spirits — including newly released Rock Creek Bourbon, the first bourbon made in the District since Prohibition — for orders placed by Sunday, December 3 (pick-up would be on Friday, December 15). That offer may be extended by a week, but why take the chance. Bourbon bottles purchased this holiday season will also include a recipe card for bourbon punch.
One Eight Distilling; Price: $50 a bottle
J.Q. Dickinson Seasonings
Siblings Nancy Bruns and Lewis Payne resurrected their family’s salt business in 2013, turning the spice they extract from beneath West Virginia into products ranging from gourmet “popcorn salt” to ramp-flavored finishing salt. Along the way they’ve caught the attention of James Beard Award-winning chef Spike Gjerde (it’s in Woodberry Kitchen’s house hot sauce) and Michelin-starred chef Jeremiah Langhorne of the Dabney. The current best seller: a burnt caramel sauce that pairs brilliantly with the various salts.
J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works; Price: $5 to $18
Rammy Award-winning restaurateur Ashok Bajaj and James Beard Award-winning chef Vikram Sunderam bring readers into the world of Indian cooking with their debut cookbook, Rasika: Flavors of India. Learn how to prepare Rasika’s iconic dishes including pala chaat, black cod with honey and dill, and the vegetarian “lasagna” Sunderam served visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Rasika cookbook; Price: $34.99
White Stone Oyster Raw Bar Kit
Can’t make it down to Virginia’s Northern Neck region to collect fresh, briny bivalves straight from the Chesapeake Bay? White Stone Oyster Company, which just so happens to supply D.C. restaurants ranging from perpetually packed Le Diplomate to Michelin-starred Rose’s Luxury with oysters, has created a party-ready raw bar kit featuring 18 oysters, an oyster shucking knife, gloves, oyster forks, and Snake Oil hot sauce.
White Stone Oyster Company; Price: $55
Local entrepreneur Charlie Berkinshaw began playing with tongue-teasing, vinegar-based shrubs in 2012, and started selling his fruit-spiked creations in 2014. Honeydew-jalapeno (spicy), pineapple-turmeric (tangy), and blood orange-saffron (tart) are some of his current best sellers. And while the cocktail mixers/cooking enhancers are totally drinkable as is, first timers may prefer to start out with the companion Shrub & Club carbonated sodas.
Element Shrub; Price: $18.99 to $35
Logan Circle resident Jodi Kostelnik has been making and selling dining-related dish towels, aprons, onesies, and now drink mugs (new for 2017) since 2014. Some are straight up fun (“Love the Wine You’re With”) while others offer actual instruction — such as a towel decorated with a recipe for cupcakes.
Neighborgoods; Price: $15 to $34
Harper Macaw Chocolates
In addition to branching out with a second location inside the newly minted Wharf complex, local chocolate maker Harper Macaw has introduced a seasonally inspired “Winter’s Cheer” bar featuring dark chocolate, mint, cranberries, and Pop Rocks. Prefer something boozy? The Bourbon Barrel Aged bar features cocoa aged in used barrels from One Eight Distilling, while the Bordeaux Barrel Aged bar soaks up hints of red wine from casks used by Virginia’s Early Mountain Vineyards.
Harper Macaw; Price: $10 to $12
Virginia Distillery Company Whiskey
While it waits for its flagship single malt to mature (tentative release date: 2019), Virginia Distillery Company is busying itself with two barrel-aged spirits featuring distinctive finishes. The Port Cask Finished Virginia Highland Whisky is aged in port barrels supplied by neighboring King Family Vineyards and Veritas Vineyards. The Cider Cask Finished Virginia Highland Whisky pulls fruit flavors from barrels supplied by local producer Potter’s Craft Cider.
Virginia Distillery Company; Price: $57.49 to $64.59
Dairy Godmother’s Decorative Crackers
Looking to spruce up the holiday table? Del Ray’s beloved ice cream shop, the Dairy Godmother, is offering festively wrapped, hand-made crackers — favors that make an audible “pop” when pulled apart — containing novelty gifts such as bubbles, tiny toys, and jokes (corny, no doubt). There’s Christmas versions, as well as Hanukkah-themed crackers, available on a first come, first served basis; staff says its best to call ahead for bulk orders.
Dairy Godmother; Price: $3.95 apiece
Dazzle cocktail lovers with some of the tools of the trade from fantasy drinking den Barmini. Drink makers can practice their garnishing skills with branded gold tweezers, while drinkers can borrow a page from the Penn Quarter destination’s bar crew and place their respective beverages on coasters displaying the five senses. Both items are available for purchase at Barmini during regular hours of operation (5:30 p.m. to midnight, Tuesday through Saturday).
Barmini; Price: $45 to $50
What the Cluck’s Pet Jerky
Office of Management and Budget alum Azita Saleh started out trying to make healthy, pet-friendly treats for her five dogs. A year later, she’s now selling her grain-free and gluten-free chicken breast jerky to local retailers and fellow animal lovers alike. “To hear that my product has provided relief for dogs who have struggled with allergies or sensitive tummies truly makes it all worth it to me,” the former attorney says of her new career.
What the Cluck Farms; Price: $9.99 to $42.99
Homemade Gin Kit’s Starter Set
Spirits lovers interested in trying their own hand at creating the next great taste sensation can take a crack at pseudo-distilling with Homemade Gin Kit. The locally produced flavoring bundle (just add vodka) features juniper berries and a premixed blend of herbs designed to produce ready-to-drink gin in as little as 36 hours.