Party planner to the stars Colin Cowie shared some ideas about elegant, relatively inexpensive choices Tuesday as part of The Early Show's Holiday Gift Guide.
Whether you're shopping for the decadent dessert lover, the wine enthusiast, the aroma-therapist, or the master mixologist, Cowie has done all work for you.
He also suggested some great last-minute gifts you'd be excited to give or receive.
And, no holiday is complete without that one-of-a-kind, over-the-top, fantasy gift for the incredibly lucky someone in your life.
The following descriptions were prepared with information provided by the manufacturers.
FOR THE BARTENDER
Colin Cowie 7-piece Faux Croc Handle Bar Tool Set
Available in red or black. Has:
Riedel 'O' Cabernet/Merlot Party Tube (Set of 4)
$39.80 www.riedel.com (site directs you to retailers from whom you can buy this; winenthusiast.com is one of them)
Stirrings: Cocktail of the Month Club
$252.95 for 12 months, $123.95 6mth, $63.95 3mths www.stirrings.com
A 12-month subscription to Stirrings' Cocktail Of The Month program, which will send the lucky recipient a full-size, 32 oz. cocktail mixer and complementary Rimmer Garnish, along with a recipe card each month for a year.
FOR THE DESSERT LOVER
Graeters Ice Cream
$70 for 6 pints www.graeters.com
The French Pot method swirls our secret recipe of egg custard and fresh cream along the chilled sides of the slowly spinning French Pot freezer. As the ice cream mix freezes and thickens, a blade carefully scrapes the sides of the pot, gently folding the ice cream into itself. It is this gentle folding process that prevents the whipping of air into our ice cream and accounts for its extremely dense and creamy consistency. While a typical pint of ice cream can weigh as little as eight ounces, a Graeter's pint weighs nearly a full pound! On December 31, 2003, the 134-year-old ice cream company officially transferred ownership to its fourth generation of family members.
Strip House 24-Layer Chocolate Cake
• 12 layers of lush chocolate cake filled with 11 layers of smooth chocolate filling.
• 24th, top layer is semi-sweet ganache made of imported French chocolate.
• 8" diameter.
• Serves 8 to 10.
FOR THE AROMATHERAPIST
Ceramic Diffuser with Sticks
Choose from one of three shapely ceramic diffusers, each with its own fragrance oil and set of 12 wood diffuser sticks. Beautifully packaged in the west elm espresso holiday gift box.
Colin Cowie Seda France Asian Quince 88oz Candle
$89.95 (currently $76.95) www.hsn.com
Fill your home with notes of passion fruit, rhubarb and white fleshed peach, layered over a heart of white jasmine petals that blend together for a dynamic scent. This luscious fragrance permeates the room yet does not overpower it. Whether you light it for yourself or as a backdrop for your event, it creates a soothing atmosphere for you and your guests.
Sugar Star Treatment Gift Set
A deluxe roundup of Fresh's most sublime, skin-softening, sugar-based Star Items. The set includes:
LAST-MINUTE GIFTS UNDER $25
Keep a selection of wines, all which are under $25 a bottle and recommended by www.capeclassics.com:
Buitenverwachting Beyond Sauvignon Blanc 2006 (Constantia), $11.99
This "bracing" Sauvignon Blanc offers tremendous bang for the buck. It's loaded with "herb, chive and chalk flavors," and "the long, tangy finish really crackles with a gooseberry note." The past two vintages have been named Wine Spectator "Best Values," and Beyond SB was featured as one of Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Best Values of 2007.
Raats Family Wines 2007 Original Chenin Blanc (Coastal Region), $12.99
This "Original" bottling from Chenin Blanc master Bruwer Raats is crafted without any oak to preserve the wine's vibrant fresh fruit character.
South Africa's signature white varietal, and this "really clean cut" version flaunts "white peach, honeysuckle and mineral notes that drive through the lengthy, well-defined finish."
Brampton Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Stellenbosch), $13.99
"Fairly dense and nicely pliant" Cabernet burstswith flavors of "dark fruits, licorice and pepper" intertwined with subtlevanilla, toffee, and spice notes. The "brooding" bottling is great accompaniment to grilled meats, burgers, short ribs, and hearty pasta dishes.
Excelsior Paddock Shiraz 2005 (Robertson), $9.99
This ripe, jammy Shiraz is bursting with juicy flavors of blackberry, cherry, licorice, and plum, with hints of vanilla, mocha, and Asian spice.
This superb value is an ideal mate for pizza, steak, burgers, and chili.
Kanu Kia-Ora Noble Late Harvest 2004, $21.99
Another wonderful option would be the Kanu Kia-Ora Noble Late Harvest 2004.It's a succulent Chenin Blanc-based dessert nectar from Mulderbosch's sister winery that earned a 92 point Wine Spectator rave. Dessert wines make fantastic holiday gifts, and this one comes packaged in a gift box. It's an awesome value for the category, with intense "dried apricot, mango, persimmon and ginger flavors" and a jolt of refreshing acidity that keeps it "harmonious through the exotic, alluring finish."
Keep some bottles of champagne, such as this one from Sherry Lehmann:
Chandon Brut Classic, Moet Chandon, $14.95 www.sherry-lehmann.com
Olive Oils: Keep a selection of infused olive oils, such as these from
Candles: Keep a selection of candles, such as these from www.pacifica.com or www.bluewick.com, all of which are under $25:
Pottery Barn McKenna Leather Luggage Tags
$10 each www.potterybarn.com
TIP: Send personalized stationery (www.finestationery.com) to your local florist, chocolatier, or wine shop, so you can have them write a note on your own stationery.
OVER -THE-TOP PICKS
H. Stern Fluid Gold necklace
The MUST HAVE piece for every woman. Ten-foot-long necklace in brushed 18K yellow gold. The fluid gold necklace can be worn in many styles and also as a bracelet, anklet or waist chain.
Top Star Ring,
H.Stern Stars Ring from the 2008 Red Carpet Collection - Center Diamond is a 6.48 HVS1 Round Brilliant Stone and there are 108 Round Brilliant Diamonds on the rest of the ring totaling 4.29 carat weight - so the total carat weight is 10.77