The implication of buying a great drink for someone is that it is great from their point of view, not ours. So, when planning to buy a great drink for someone, whether they are a friend, a relative or a lover, we need to identify something that will please or interest them. Certainly it should be something that shows we have put some thought into the purchase. Depending on the circumstances, we can do that either by buying them something different or a bit more special than they would buy for themselves or by buying them exactly what we know they would like.
Different or Special?
When we travel, we have the opportunity to search out unusual local drinks which we can take home for friends and family. Sometimes, this can be very successful. Following this course of action, my partner and I have enjoyed velvety red wines from Georgia, white wine like honey from the Crimea and sweet Tokays from Hungary. Of course, it doesn’t always work out as planned. The bottle of banana liqueur from the Canaries is still sitting at the back of the cupboard. In order for ths approach to work, we need to know the recipient very well and to understand something about their tastes. Even if the drink is not a success, we can be sure that the thought and the gesture will be appreciated.
Suppose we have a friend who is partial to a drop of fizz, but tends to buy the cheaper alternatives himself. We could buy him or her a bottle of the real thing, especially from one of the smaller, select vineyards. Both the gesture and the drink will be appreciated.
More of the Same?
On the other hand, it can be just as successful to re-inforce the tastes of our friends. I know a couple who holidayed in South Africa and came back raving about a particular type of grape. For the next few times that we visited, we made a point of searching out just the right one. The fact that we had made the effort seemed to make the gift even more special to them.
Playing it Safe
There will be occasions when we need to play it safe, when the impression we want to give is one of thoughtfulness rather than experimentation or extravagance. This might be the case when we don’t know the recipient very well and we are trying to make a good impression. Maybe it’s a prospective in-law or a client. In circumstances like that, we are probably safer with a bottle of good quality, medium-priced wine.
If the drink is being bought for someone we are meeting for the first time, such as someone in a bar that we like the look of, there are a number of approaches we can take. We can make a grand gesture sending over a cocktail or glass of champagne. On the other hand, we can send over another glass of whatever they are drinking already at least that way, we know it is something they like. Finally, we can go over ourselves and say we would like to buy them a drink and what would they like? In the long run, they can only say no and if they do, we’ve not wasted our money. If they say yes, there could be other chances to make the grand gesture later on.
Not Always Alcohol
So far, we’ve only considered alcoholic drinks, but there are lots of other acceptable alternatives, depending on the circumstances. It is important to buy something that the person will like. My father never drank alcohol throughout his life (apart from the Christmas morning when he took a mouthful of my buck’s fizz by mistake). Whenever he came to visit, I made sure I would buy Bitter Lemon and American Ginger Ale since they were his favorites.
For Christmas or birthday presents, food and drinks have become most acceptable these days. There is a wide selection of specialty coffees that we can mix and match. Any dedicated tea drinker will appreciate a fancy tin of Earl Grey or Lapsang Souchon.
So, to conclude, the better we know someone, the more we will know about their tastes and preferences. If we play to these, we can’t go wrong.
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