The Savoy Cocktail Book
First published in 1930, the Savoy Cocktail Book could seem dated. It is also currently out of print. But don’t let these things put you off, old fruit – it is a true classic, and second-hand editions of the imbiber’s bible are available online. Harry Craddock’s definitive guide to mixing the perfect pick-me-up offers a sophisticated sip of the style and panache of an era when the drinks were as sharp as the suits and as smooth as a silk stocking.
From £6.71, abebooks.co.uk
Nothing shows you care about your party guests more than laying on a few plates of home-baked, cookie-shaped goodness. And nothing shows off that baking better than a stamp to signal you’ve had a hand in making the finger food. Choose between the self-promoting (“Home made”) and the pushy (“Eat me”). Also good for leaving your mark on paté, chocolate mousse and smoked salmon roulade…
What makes Christmas so special? The abundant good will? The marginally-improved TV schedule? No – it’s the booze. You really can’t get away with drinking advocaat at any other time of year (although Mr Craddock might beg to differ – see above), so now is the time to indulge. This crazy Dutch liqueur is a guilty pleasure concocted from egg yolks, brandy, vanilla and sugar, and forms the core ingredient of the time-honoured Snowball – mix with lemonade and a dash of lime juice, and chug.
Cohiba robusto cigar
Sigmund Freud once famously quipped, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”. And Sigmund Freud was wrong. The Cohiba is far more than a simple stogie but, to be strictly fair to the grandfather of psychoanalysis, he was speaking in a time before the dawn of Cuba’s most famous export. Made in honour of Fidel Castro, the Cohiba brand boasts the country’s finest tobacco leaves rolled by the finest hands on the finest thighs… You get the picture. Rich relaxation for the smoking connoisseur.
The gentleman’s hipflask was once a moulded, rounded piece of drinking apparatus. No longer. Bringing angles to tippling is designer Tom Cecil, who has created a jauntier drinking vessel capable of carrying two shots of your favourite cockle-warming beverage. Made from sheets of welded metal, the flask is available in finishes of brass and stainless steel, and in black or white. A worthy – albeit pricy – update to a classic.
The click may be a synonym for the digital age, but among camera-loving folk it remains an analogue meme. The Blackbird Fly clearly panders to enthusiasts who will enjoy its 33m lens, which focuses knife-sharp images onto (still available) 35mm film. Held at waist level to accommodate a gaze into the viewfinder, the Blackbird suits considerate photographers who appreciate the value of every click.