From the time I began dating my husband, I told him emphatically NOT to get me red roses on Valentine’s Day. I’d much rather you not spend that exorbitant amount of money they cost, I told him, and also, you’d better be putting some more thought into a gift if you’re going to get me one.

So, whether you celebrate this upcoming holiday of love with a wife, girlfriend, mother, sister, or friend, I say forget the chocolates. Instead, get her something you can share and enjoy together…something that opens up her adventurous side, and shows you know what she likes and how to get it for her. Some of the finer, rarer and luxurious things in life are overlooked on Valentine’s Day, and they happen to come at high proofs in elegant glassware and 750-milliliter bottles.

For example, I just put together these very cute gift baskets on Etsy that include signed copies of Booze for Babes: the Smart Woman’s Guide to Drinking Spirits Right and vintage crystal glassware, crocheted aprons, Anthropologie-esque cotton dish towels, placemats and other entertaining accessories. They range from $30 to $60.

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A Booze for Babes Valentine’s Day gift basket with vintage entertaining gear and a signed book.

But there’s also a booze for every woman, whether she is new to spirits or an aficionado. Here are several completely unbiased ideas for what to get her this week based on my personal favorites. Then, all you have to do is light a fire, put your fancy swill in some fancy glassware, snuggle up and enjoy.  You can thank me later…

1. Don Julio 70: For the woman who is feisty and fun, this “añejo claro” is white but aged 18 months. The tequila is crisp, balanced, a little sweet and a little oaky, and very high quality. She can sip it neat, with a side of lime or sangrita (contact me using my booze advice widget for a traditional sangrita recipe), or mix it. She’ll never look at a margarita the same again (conveniently, National Margarita Day is on February 22, which is even more reason to have some good tequila stocked right now). Taco night sounds like a perfect Valentine’s Day to me. Just sayin’. $70.

2. Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Sour Mash Bourbon: This bourbon by the Sazerac Company is soft and delicate, with honey and floral notes, making it perfect for a woman who is beginning her whiskey education, or who isn’t a fan of woodiness in her glass. It’s light on oak but heavy on flavor, and at an affordable price. Pair it with a new bottle of bitters, two high-quality rocks glasses like these from Villeroy & Boch (on sale right now!), and you have an adorable, cohesive old-fashioned cocktail set. $29.99

3. Michter’s Rye: For your classic cocktail queen, get this mildly spicy and dry rye whiskey that is extremely versatile as a cocktail base (Manhattan, Vieux Carre, and Sazerac are my favorites) while making a great sipping whiskey at the same time. I love this twist on the Manhattan with half sweet and half dry vermouth and Bittercube cherry bark vanilla bitters. $45

4. Camus XO Cognac: If your lady is truly a sweets fan, she will adore this fine aged cognac. This brandy is dessert in a glass, and is elongated by rich, baking spice, dried fruit and raisin notes. Serve this after you cook her lobster, or after you take her some place she can order lobster. Plus, buying this shows you are a high roller with exceptional taste. $150

5. Glen Garioch Founder’s Reserve: This scotch is a happy medium between the lightest, most floral of scotches out there, and the peatiest and boldest. It’s got the alcohol tingle bourbon lovers go crazy over, with the rich, vanilla and slightly appley notes that mellow it out. Pair this with a creamy and savory, but not spicy, dinner. Maybe fettucini alfredo, or porcini mushrooms? $40

6. Mandarine Napoleon: Using a 10 year cognac as its base, this is a brighter, and in my opinion, tastier alternative to Grand Marnier, and at a competitive price point. It’s an excellent mixer in a traditional Sidecar cocktail, and as a digestive. Or, pour it over homemade vanilla ice cream. $35

7. Ron Abuelo 7 Year-Old Rum: This Panamanian rum will completely surprise you, with its very dry nose and hints of dried fruit and raisins. In a recent blind taste taste of 12 rums at a Rum for All event (a great independent resource for learning about all things rum), it was my favorite for its balance and lack of saccharin finish, which I find to be common, but not agreeable in rums. Make her a classic daiquiri with it. $35

The post 7 Valentine’s Day gifts for the lady liquor lover (hint: they are WAY better than flowers) appeared first on Booze for Babes.