One of the loveliest things about coastal living is enjoying a glass of wine or a cocktail out on the deck or patio. When the holidays come around, most coastal dwellers appreciate a gift that warms the winter nights until summer comes again. Knowing the etiquette of giving liquor as a gift will help you choose something appropriate.

Know Your Recipient

A boss is different than a buddy, so a gift of spirits should reflect the status of the recipient. For your supervisor, avoid cheap collections or discount bottles. Think about what you’ve seen the boss choose in the “before times,” back when holiday parties could still happen (hang in there—let’s hope 2021 is the year those gatherings can resume).

One of the most important aspects of the etiquette of giving liquor as a gift is to know for sure whether your recipient drinks alcohol. If someone is an abstainer, they may just be into a healthy lifestyle. But non-drinkers may also be in recovery, and a gifting bottle of booze would be wildly inappropriate or even harmful.

Research Your Selection

Don’t simply choose something you like. That makes your gift more about you than about your recipient. Check wine and spirits magazines online for recommendations. Giving your boss long-lasting fine spirits or fortified wines will give them a chance to remember where the gift came from every time they wet their whistle.

Research your selection; don’t just select something you know nothing about. Some spirits are harder to assess than others. Rum, for example, can be deceptive—black rum isn’t necessarily older or higher quality, and white rum might be aged with the color filtered out.

It’s OK To Go Seasonal

For friends, the holiday season is about enjoying time with family while marking the special time of year. Celebratory options include seasonal beers, gift sets that pair wines with cheese, nuts, or chocolates, and spirits that mix well with eggnog. Another option is to pair a bottle with a book of cocktail recipes.

Packaging Matters

The holidays call for something more special than what you’d bring to a casual dinner party or clambake. Pay attention to packaging. How you present your gift matters, especially in times when you can’t present it in person.

Many brands come out with special editions for the holidays. There may be decorative labels, new holiday bottle designs, or gift sets with festive glassware. Just make sure it’s packaged securely to avoid damage, and double-check whether its legal to ship where you’re sending it.

Here’s hoping your gift goes over well. Cheers!