This Sunday is Father's Day, and what your father needs is something to take away the cares and tribulations of life, especially as many of them were undoubtedly caused by you. Long and peaceful sleep is probably the ideal panacea, but since giving one's dad a wastepaper basket full of sleeping pills is frowned upon by pretty much every authority you'd care to name, and might well make Dad himself regard you with a wary eye.
Why not a stiff drink instead? Different dads have different tastes, but here are a few liquid ideas.
Scotch-Drinking Manly Dad
Highland Park, located on chilly Orkney Island, recently released an extremely good 16-year-old whiskey they've named Thor, after the Norse god of thunder. Smoky and powerful (cask strength: 52.1% alcohol), it comes nestled in an odd wooden cradle that looks either like a stubby Viking longboat or else something some sword-wielding person from Game of Thrones might wear on his head.
Regardless, the Scotch itself is very impressive, as it ought to be for $199. If Dad doesn't deserve quite that much outlay, Highland Park's lightly honeyed 12-year-old bottling is a classic, and comes in under $40 most places.
Piratical, Caribbean-Vacation-Taking Dad
Rum, lads, aye. Plantation Rum is a fascinating ongoing project, for which the cellar master of Pierre Ferrand Cognac sources barrels of aged rums from throughout the Caribbean (as well as Nicaragua, Guyana and Panama). The quality is impressively high throughout the range, and the prices - characteristic of top-quality rum, which remains a steal compared to other high-end liquors - aren't too dire. The resinous, vanilla-accented Trinidad 2000 ($35) ought to satisfy even a prickly old sailor of a dad.
Chocolate, Coffee and Tequila-Loving Dad
Admittedly, a small subcategory of dads, but the ones who are out there will be mighty thrilled by a bottle of Patron Café Dark XO ($29). I'm generally not a fan of flavored liquors - most of them taste as fake as a Nigerian banking scam - but this stuff is mysteriously tasty, partly because its Mexican dark chocolate notes have a surprising affinity for the vegetal character of agave. It is quite sweet, but a few ice cubes will moderate that.
Of course, if your father scoffs at the idea of diluting his tequila with coffee and chocolate, you could certainly give him a bottle of Patrón Silver ($43) instead.
Buying gifts for wine collectors is tough. They already have a cabinet of different glasses specifically made for everything from Cabernet to Zibbibo, and the wines they like to buy are really expensive. The trick is finding something a wine-obsessed dad didn't know he needed. If he's the sort who's always muttering about the wineglasses smelling like dish soap, then the answer is Bartender's Best Friend ($16 for 16 ounces), which is designed to rinse away with no residue whatsoever.
On the other hand, if he's the sort who's always inadvertently flinging wine on himself (or others) at dinner, a 10-ounce bottle of Wine Away - a citrus-based stain remover that does, in fact, effectively eradicate wine stains, just as it claims - ought to do the trick ($14 for 12 ounces). Or just say the heck with it and buy him some collectible wine. A case of the 2009 Domaine de La Romanée-Conti La Tâche will run you a hefty $25,000 or so, but are you going to be the one to tell Dad he isn't worth it?
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