L.A. Bartenders on What to Get Dad This Father’s Day

Expand your dad’s booze horizons with this pro gift guide.

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If your dad is anything like mine he needs help expanding his booze horizons. Franzia? For real, Pops? So I take every Father’s Day as an opportunity to introduce him to the good stuff, trading out that boxed wine for a Washington Cabernet. But for more ideas I polled the experts, our L.A. bartenders, to see what they’re getting their own fathers for the holiday this Sunday the 16th. If anyone knows what’s the best bottle to gift, it’s these folks.

Aidan Demarest (owner, Neat; cocktail consultant, Liquid Assets): “I actually am really looking forward to Father’s Day. I think Johnny Walker Blue for my dad, it’s his favorite, and [from my own kids] maybe Johnny Walker Blue and a boat for me.”

David Kupchinsky (head barman, The Eveleigh): “A few years ago I turned [my dad] on to Negronis. And now it’s all he drinks. He was always a Gin and Tonic guy, and Tanqueray was always his choice. Beefeater is mine. I think St. George Terroir meets somewhere in the middle. Great juniper, Douglas fir, fennel and sage notes and still mixed with some light citrus notes. He would also, I think because I live in California, get a kick out of it coming from California, made with all California ingredients. He lives in rural Pennsylvania and they don’t have access to a lot of boutique spirits or any for that matter.”

Brent Falco (bar manager, Cole’s): “This year for me the boozy dad gift is going back to a beautiful bourbon and nostalgia. I recently just came across a bottle of Old Weller Antique in a velvet bag, side says ‘7 summers old,’ and the bottle has these really cool gold lines throughout it. Even though my dad has passed this brought me back to sitting with him on the porch in Kentucky in the summers after dinner and talking. He had his cigar, a good cognac, scotch, or bourbon and I had what he was having. Recently sipped on the Old Weller Antique for a friend’s birthday and we shared memories of family, fathers, and things to come in our lives. So this year I will suggest Old Weller Antique or the W.L. Weller 12 Year for a sip and chat with your dad on Father’s Day.”

Cari Hah (bartender, Cole’s, Neat): “My dad isn’t much of a drinker because he has that alcohol allergy that Asians sometimes have so I would get him something super low proof but tasty that he could sip on over a rock or combine with soda water for a light highball. Something like Lillet Rose, which is light and fruit forward, or Calisaya, which would be amazing with some soda water and a grapefruit twist. Not terribly manly but it won’t put him in the hospital!”

Kate Grutman (bar manager, Soho House): “My dad likes Bols Genever on the rocks or Michter’s 10 year bourbon if it’s available or if I can find an old bottle for him. He also loves him some Diplomatico Old Fashioneds.”

Damian Windsor (bartender, Roger Room): “My parents didn’t drink much when we were growing up, but now that my dad passed I’ll still toast to him. [My wife] Rebecca is great at gifts. Last year she got me a coffee cup with my favourite photo of [my daughter] Audrey printed on it. It was my favourite present ever but she could possibly surpass it this year with a Tapatio ‘Excelencia’ or Chinaco ‘Negro’ Extra Anejo, or Samaroli Fiji rum.”

Lindsay Nader (spirits expert, Remy Cointreau USA; formerly bartender, Pour Vous): “I would buy my father a bottle of Tapatio Blanco Tequila because it’s legit, has a great story behind it and is finally available after 75 years in the United States. I would wrap the tequila up along with a bottle of Cointreau and some fresh limes along with instructions on how to make a classic Margarita. My father is an actor [Michael Nader of soap opera All My Children] and a fantastic storyteller who loves to have new stories to tell.”

If you’d like to pair that bottle with more boozy fun, treat your dad to a “Gent’s Tea” of scotch and sliders at the Montage Beverly Hills, buy him a ticket to the Father’s Day Collabrewtive Brunch which features one-off coffee beers, or indulge him with a 60-minute massage followed with beer poolside at Ritz Carlton’s Spa Nautica.

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