Words: Jess Graves | Photos: Caroline Fontenot | Styling: Candice Beaty
That's right—it's time again to fatten up those stockings hung by the chimney with care. We've kept our ears to the ground all year long for the best Southern products, which we'll be sharing in a series of "Big, Bad Southern Gift Guides" over the coming weeks. This one's for the reveler; the eaters, the imbibers, the home cooks and the grillmasters. Cheers, y'all—to getting lit this Christmas.
01. Beautiful Briny Sea makes delicious salts, sugars and brines with cheeky names in Atlanta, Georgia. We especially love "Pocketful of Starlight", their vanilla-infused sugar, perfect for finishing off desserts or sprinkling on top of hot chocolate. We've been stirring ours into our morning coffee.
Vanilla sugar, 15.00 beautifulbrinysea.com
02. Graphic Image's well-finished embossed leather goods have long been a go-to gift recommendation on The Love List. This year, we're particularly smitten with their cocktail set, with includes a handsome shaker, a set of coasters, and a beautifully bound copy of the classic reference book American Bar - all covered in Italian Tejus leather.
03. We love Kate Parham Kordsmeier's collection of recipes and anecdotes from Atlanta's most celebrated restaurants and chefs. Atlanta Chef's Table is chock-full of useful information about the city's dining scene; but we think it will also serve as an incredible time capsule of what is surely Atlanta's finest dining era thus far.
Atlanta Chef's Table: Extraordinary Recipes From The Big Peach, 26.95 amazon.com and wherever fine books are sold
04. Garden & Gun magazine has been refining and redefining the "New South" for some time now, but we think their food coverage is where they really shine. The Southerner's Cookbook has barely been out long enough for the spine to crease, and it has already hit the New York Times bestsellers list. The book is chock-full of greatest hits from the magazine's archives, but lots of new recipes are peppered in too, along with lots of great essays and anecdotes from the likes of the Lee Brothers, Rick Bragg and Julia Reed.
The Southerner's Cookbook: Recipes, Wisdom and Stories, 37.50 amazon.com and wherever fine books are sold
05. We introduced you to Atlanta's Honeycomb Studio back in October, and we just couldn't resist including potter Courtney Hamill's sweet little handmade bud vases again here. Bedeck them with a camellia bud, a sprig of holly or a Christmas tree trimming for a little bit of seasonal cheer on your bedside.
07. One of our favorite little shops in Charleston is Candy Shop Vintage, which is chock full of baubles new and old, including gems exclusive to the store. We're pretty much obsessed with their "Celebrate" collection, which includes jewelry bedecked with champagne coupes, bubbly and bottles of gin. There's even a French 75 charm bracelet! Cheers!
08. Whether you believe the old wives' tale or not, the months are starting to end in "r", which must mean oyster season is kicking in. Atlanta-based Heirloomed Collection carries a luxe selection of oyster-themed gifts, and New Orleans' line Freret & Napoleon makes a shell pendant that would make any gal who's ever shucked one swoon.
09. Speaking of shuckers, Will Manning at Heartwood Forge makes gorgeous cutlery in his workshop outside Athens, Georgia including this oyster knife, a custom job cooked up in collaboration with Kimball House's Bryan Rackley (more on that later), a man who knows a thing or two ... hundred about oysters (their oyster program is arguably one of the best in the country) —so you know this thing actually does the job.
11. Trust us when we tell you that every guy who has laid eyes on this koozie (from Out of Hand, one of our new favorite Charleston shops) has asked us if he could have it. Will it keep your drink all that cold? Nah, probs not. Will it look really cool, though? Yup.
12. Forced family fun? Let's get sauced! Our old Charleston friends at Jack Rudy Cocktail Company have added a slew of new stuff to their lauded line, including aromatic bitters with a smart dropper feature that offers a hell of a lot more control than those other bottles.
13. The Charlotte-based sisters behind Twine & Twig don't only make necklaces. They've recently expanded into home goods, including "whiskey sticks", which add a smoky essence to a stiff stirred drink. Serve that in a smart tumbler with cold whiskey stones, and may your libation never be watered down.
14. If dark liquor's your thing, we're into Clyde May's special reserve Alabama whiskey, Opelika's John Emerald Distillery's single malt and pretty much anything Belle Meade Bourbon is making right now. If you can get your hands on a bottle of Pappy or Old Rip, hats off to you, but if you're making those Manhattans with Weller instead, we suggest Pappy & Co.'s (insane) syrup for a maple twist on the classic cocktail.
Clyde May Special Reserve Alabama Whiskey caskers.com, John Emerald Distilling Single Malt johnemeralddistilling.com, Belle Meade Bourbon greenbrierdistillery.com, Pappy & Co. Barrel-ged Pure Maple Syrup, 38.00 pappyco.com