Gift Set from Mel & Rose
So you have a friend or spouse or relative who loves whisky but you don’t want to go the usual route of getting them a bottle of scotch (or bourbon or some other regional variety of whisk(e)y). A bottle in a nice bag can be nice but you want this gift to stand out, you want them to look at it for a few minutes, appreciate how thoughtful it was, and enjoy it.
What can you do?
Why not build them a whisky gift basket? Who wouldn’t want to get a gift basket or gift box filled with whisky and whisky accessories?
Pick a Theme
The best gift baskets follow a theme and while you might think “whisky” is the theme, fans will know that there are a lot of sub-plots within whisky.
Do you want to build an Scotch whisky after-dinner basket? Buy a bottle of Aberlour and then air it with their neighbor, the Walkers and their shortbread cookies.
How about an Irish whisky gift basket? Consider pairing up some Jameson’s Irish Whisky with some candy or chocolates from Ireland, like chocolates and caramels from Ireland (Butler is a candy company from Dublin, Ireland).
It’s all about the theme!
Filling the Basket
My approach to building a gift basket is to find one or two centerpiece items, whether it’s 375ml bottles of scotch or a large box of cookies or candies, and then build around it.
Let’s say I want to build a Speyside themed basket (nice a broad, I know!), I’d start with a 375ml bottle of Glenlivet 12 YO as my centerpiece. As my secondary centerpiece, I’d pick up a Glenfiddich branded Whisky Cake, made by Walkers; a set of whisky stones, and set of two Glencairns.
Total cost of the contents is around $70.
If your budget is higher, just buy more gourmet foods to include! (or more bottles!)
Next, you need to find yourself a wicker basket that can hold your gift’s items and match the theme of the basket. You can usually get these at your local hobby or crafting shop, like a Michael’s or a JoAnn Fabrics. You’ll want one that is sturdy enough to hold the contents of your gift basket, so confirm it’s strong enough. (if you want to get fancy, you can always go with a chest or a hardwood box!)
You will also want to pick up a large sheet of cellophane, which you’ll use to wrap your gift basket, and a bow, which will be used to close the top. If you get a basket with a handle, you can get away without the cellphone.
Finally, pick up some paper you can use to pack into the bottom of the basket. This will provide support and help you arrange the contents.
Arranging the Basket
Once you have everything, arranging it isn’t very difficult as long as you follow a few rules. First, search for gift baskets online and just look at a few photos. It should give you an idea of how they’re organized.
Now, think about your elementary school class photos. Taller kids in the back, shorter kids in the front (seems like I was always sitting on the ground!). Any taller or wider boxes should be in the back, with smaller items in the front. You want to be able to identify each item just by looking into the basket, so the taller items in the back should be visible.
Next, makes sure you line the bottom with tissue or some other padding so items don’t shift around and so that you can line the items up nicely. You’ll probably put this in your car, it’ll get jostled, make sure there’s enough padding to keep things organized. If you wrap it in cellophane and tie it in a bow, it’ll be tough to move things back into place if they shift.
Some item specific tips… if you do buy a bottle of something, put it in the center if there’s only one. If there are two, I prefer to put them to the side, together, and balance it out on the other side with something large, like a box of biscuits or maybe a book. Or, separate the two bottles and put them to the side as “bookends” to the rest of the items. If you get a book, put it towards the back with the title visible and put smaller items in front of it, like crackers or chocolates or pralines.
Honestly, as you arrange them you’ll get a sense of what you like and what you don’t. In the end, your friend will love it no matter how it looks and will appreciate the effort you put into making it!