In New York, the holiday spirit is hard to ignore—the city isn't known for its subtlety when it comes to jingling bells and red velvet bows—and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better place to do all your gift shopping. With its status as a foodie's eden, New York is the ideal location to find presents for your favorite gourmand.
The tristate area isn't exactly Napa Valley, but New York does have its own vineyards, breweries and distilleries that produce quality wines, beers and liquors and boast local labels.
Astor Wines & Spirits in the East Village carries affordable wines from Long Island and the Finger Lakes and Hudson Valley regions. The store, housed in the lower level of a 19th-century landmark building, also stocks whiskey, bourbon and brandy straight from the Empire State. Of course, the selection extends far beyond New York, so if you'd rather pick up something from the West Coast or overseas, you'll have no trouble finding the perfect bottle. If you're thinking about shipping your gift, keep in mind that not every state allows alcohol delivery. So while you can purchase from Astor Wines online, you may have to give your friend their gift in person instead.
For your friends who liken themselves to alcohol connoisseurs, surprise them with a bottle of a Park Avenue Liquor Shop exclusive—the store, which has been open since 1934, stocks entire casks of the staff's favorites in limited quantities.
For beer enthusiasts with a soft spot for Brooklyn suds, Brooklyn Brewery sells branded apparel, barware, glasses, wall decor, and other odds and ends like beach towels, buttons and tote bags, all with the brewery's signature cursive B. And if you happen to be in or near the borough of the Bronx, you can pick up similarly yeasty products at The Bronx Brewery like hats, growlers and scarves. Regardless of which brewery you visit, treat yourself to a pint while there.
Joe On The Go
In New York, regardless of the season, few sights are as ubiquitous as a cup of steaming coffee. Buy your loved ones beans by the bag from Brooklyn-based Toby's Estate Coffee or enable their caffeine addiction with the roaster's subscription service and have up to five bags delivered straight to their door on a weekly or biweekly basis. Brooklyn Roasting Coffee also has subscription packages, bags of beans and special BRC-themed merch for sale (and furthermore, ships internationally).
Surprise your favorite sweet tooth with a shipment of desserts of all shapes and sizes. Veniero's, the Italian pasticceria founded in the 19th century and known for its satisfyingly crunchy biscotti, rich cheesecakes and classic cannoli, ships a sizable selection of their freshly baked goods nationwide.
Pie devotees will be ever so grateful to receive any of Petee's Pie Company's packs of four, eight or 12 mini pies made primarily with ingredients from the New York area. There are plenty of flavors to choose from, including lemon poppy seed, Hudson Valley apple, New York cherry and toasted almond, and if you're feeling indecisive, you can even compile your own pack and include one of each.
Give out-of-towners a real taste of the Old World from two of New York's 20th-century holdovers, Zabar's and Russ & Daughters. Both are go-tos for traditional Eastern European, Jewish fare and sell individual goodies and gift packages fit for a Sabbath brunch—bagels, lox, babka, rugelach, dried fruit and all things shmearable. While they each offer premade baskets, Zabar's assortment of themed boxes is unparalleled. For the upcoming holidays, consider the Hanukkah basket, complete with a menorah, candles and a dreidel on top of enough chocolate, nuts and cookies to last all eight nights, or opt for a year-round favorite like the New York breakfast basket or Zabar's New York box.
Chelsea Market Baskets, the ultimate one-stop shop for gift baskets, peddles everything from New York state-shaped cutting boards and sets of artisanal cocktail bitters to fruit baskets, cheese palettes, boxes of caramels and many a wicker basket stuffed to the brim with crowd-pleasing snacks, sweets, knickknacks and picnic must-haves. To transport your loved ones to the cavernous, aroma-filled halls of Chelsea Market, consider getting one of CMB's curated Chelsea Market baskets heaped with delectables made on-site by one of their many neighbors.
When you can't keep track of preferred tastes, allergies or dietary restrictions, you can play it safe by gifting kitchenware or dining necessities. Fishs Eddy, near Union Square, stocks dishes with saucy sayings, whimsical designs and vintage patterns at affordable prices. The store's New York lines of merch, which feature the city's landmarks in ink-doodled form, are instantly lovable even for those who've settled elsewhere. Whisk, located just a few streets north of Fishs Eddy, has an array of kitchen tools for professional, amateur, and stick-it-in-the-microwave chefs.
Both stores carry cookbooks for those in need of guidance, but for truly unusual finds and foodcentric literature, stop at Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks in the East Village or Kitchen Arts & Letters on the Upper East Side.