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Signs of the Times

How to sum up a year of drinking
Tasting Table: Sign of the Times
Rock sugar sweetens this classic rye recipe

Some insist that a classic gift is the best route.

But we also see the merit in the extremely timely--gifts that harness a zeitgeist. So we’ve picked the following three products: Taken together, they form a freeze frame of the bartending industry right now.

Pitcher Protector ($35): These pouches, meant to protect your Yarai quilted crystal mixing glasses, epitomize a new strain of products within the drinking set: bartending travel gear. Jim Meehan is credited with jump-starting the movement in 2009 with his bartender’s roll-up kit; since then, we’ve seen a boom in creative ways to take your drinking show on the road.

Rock & Rye ($29): Once used for medicinal purposes, this rock-sugar-infused rye recipe is staging a comeback for 2013. Begin your reëducation with Hockstadter’s Slow & Low, which marries six-year rye whiskey with rock candy, honey, horehound and citrus. And look for a second bottling from Allen Katz’s New York Distilling Company early next year.

Dash DIY Bitters ($35): If you’ve never been able to wrap your head around ordering your own gentian root, this new kit provides a handy stepping stone. You can join in the movement of sui generis cocktail ingredients simply by following the directions and using the pre-measured supplies.

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