Last-Minute DC Food and Drink Gift Ideas

Santa Carrying Shopping Bags --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Santa Carrying Shopping Bags — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

The warmer weather certainly feels a lot more like April than December. However pleasant, activities like enjoying brunch on the patio and walking around downtown without a coat don’t invoke cozy winter feelings.

With all this unseasonable weather, you’d be forgiven if the winter holiday season has crept up on you without much fanfare. The reality is that December is already halfway over, and it’s time to wrap up that shopping list before it’s too late. If you’re in the market to gift your out-of-town family and friends some local consumables this year, there are lots of great options – and no, gift cards don’t count.  Here’s a small slice of what’s out there. Hopefully it sparks some inspiration.

Beer and Booze

Sometimes a bottle of quality beer or liquor makes a great present. If nothing else, it’s a great way to make a festive party entrance. Most liquor shops around town will have some local brands, and most breweries and distilleries are open for weekly shopping hours.

Whiskey lovers can check out Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye, based out of Loudoun County, Virginia. It retails for around $40 a bottle but it’s a high quality organic product that showcases the region well.

In DC proper, New Columbia Distillers cranks out Green Hat Gin (also in Navy strength) and One Eight Distilling offers its Ivy City gin, a District Made vodka and Rock Creek white whiskey. For something less intense, Don Ciccio & Figli serves Italian-inspired amari and aperitifs such as limoncello and walnut liqueur. They’re prefect for a sip after a hearty holiday dinner.

For beer, consider hitting up Bluejacket brewery’s bottle shop and taking home a 750 ml of super fresh, creative beer. The menu changes based on availability, and an updated list is posted online. You can also stop by your favorite local brewery like Right Proper or DC Brau and see about picking up a growler to go.

Candy and Sweets

The holiday season is time for candy, which is great for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Velatis is one of the areas oldest candy makers. The selection of caramels and toffees are especially great and there are also chocolates and other baked goods. Stop by the shop at 8408 Georgia Ave in Silver Spring or shop online for New Year’s orders.

Chocolate lovers need to wander over to Co Co. Sala, which has locations in Penn Quarter as well as a small shop at Union Market. Specialties include chocolate-covered bacon, chocolate sea salt caramels and chocolate bars.

RareSweets bakeshop has rolled out a winter menu that includes handy gift packages. Options include a hot chocolate and marshmallow kit, a snowflake cookie gift tin, and classic cookie assortments. There are also holiday cakes in flavors like eggnog and vanilla bean and pumpkin, bourbon and cocoa.

Other Food Gifts

Washington is full of places to find great local food gifts for all tastes and budgets.

If you haven’t yet been to Union Market, that’s a great place to start. There are tons of food and retail vendors like Honeycomb grocer, which offers locally produced Asian goods. Or pick something up from the Bazaar Spices kiosk. They have everything you’ll need for holiday baking and beyond. Elsewhere in town, you can stop by places like Eastern Market to browse the stalls of weekend arts and craft vendors. There’s only one week until Christmas though, so get on it!

If you’re just looking to pick some simple local food or pantry items, make a trek to Glen’s Garden Market. The store has locations in Dupont Circle and Shaw, and it’s a wonderful spot to find prepared foods that are perfect for a party or food-loving family member. You’d be surprised at variety of products that are made right here in DC.

So whoever’s on your gift list this year, consider picking up some local food or drink to share. Even if you’ve procrastinated, there’s still a little time left!

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