It is common courtesy to bring a gift for the host or hostess when invited to a home for a dinner party or fun gathering, which happen in abundance during the holidays. No need to show up empty handed! SpaceCoast Living found four fantastic and innovative gifts any host or hostess would greatly appreciate, especially during the most wonderful time of the year.

HomeMade Gourmet Sugars

This is a gift your host or hostess will know was made with love. Adding different flavors to regular sugar will liven up any beverage or baked good, creating unique flavors one may have not had the pleasure of trying before. Mix sugar with blooms such as rose petals, geranium leaves, vanilla beans, dried orange peels, coconut flakes, lavender or hibiscus. You can also do a sugar mix with other spices, such as cinnamon, espresso powder and cocoa powder.

Mixing Sugar with Flower Blooms and Spices

Feel free to play around mixing different blooms or spices together in a single jar for new and different flavors, or mix separate batches of each to give as a set of different sugars infused with one flavor. Combine two tablespoons of the desired spices, dried organic flower blooms, peels or the vanilla beans with two cups of sugar in a jar. Seal the jar and allow for the spices or blooms to infuse the sugar for about one or two weeks, shaking the jar every other day to create maximum flavor.

When the sugar is infused, you can strain out the blooms and peels or you can grind them finely into the sugar using a coffee grinder, to add more zest in baked goods and in beverages. You can add food coloring to bring out the color of the bloom, such as purple for the lavender sugar, orange for the orange peel sugar and so forth. The finely ground hibiscus sugar turns a pretty pale pink on its own. Decorate the jars and add a ribbon or bow and give as a wonderfully creative gift.

Bar Tools

Should your host or hostess have a bar at home, they will certainly appreciate a collection of bar tools as a gift. Tools include cocktail shakers and strainers, citrus pressers, corkscrews, wine bottle stoppers, an ice bucket, cocktail napkins and coasters with a design that fits his or her style. You can buy bar tools pre-packaged or wrap them yourself in cellophane, tie with a bow and place in a gift basket. For an added gift bonus, you can get them a book about mixology and/or the art of making cocktails.

A Gift Certificate to a Local Florist

Bringing flowers is always a nice and thoughtful gesture. However, they can be an unexpected annoyance for the host or hostess in various ways. For starters, they could have an allergy to the flowers. They would have to take time from greeting everyone to find a vase to put them in and cut them to size, and the flowers may not match their décor or have a proper place to be set in their home during that time. Avoid all these faux pas by giving them a gift certificate to their local florist. That way, they can pick out flowers they love and can match them to the desired décor of the room in which they wish to place them.

A Set of Unique Blends of Olive Oil and Balsamic Dressing

From Olives and Grapes offers countless flavors of extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegar dressings for salads, marinades, and even toppings on desserts. They have oils and vinegars for all different taste buds that range from classic blends to unique fusions, such as Tuscan herb and chipotle extra virgin olive oils and tangerine and dark chocolate balsamic vinegars. They also have walnut oil, truffle oil and wine vinegar recipes to choose from. Your host or hostess will be impressed with their new set of oil and vinegar to liven up their meals, especially during the holidays when they are getting creative in the kitchen, whipping up something delightful for guests like yourself.

From Olives and Grapes is located at 12 Oleander St., Cocoa, and 912A E. New Haven Ave., Melbourne.

This article appears in the December 2015 issue of SpaceCoast Living.
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