Regifting Booze

         From THE BOYS' AND GIRL'S LITTLE BOOK OF ALCOHOL, available though iTunes and Amazon and soon Barnes and Noble:
   The occasion of our marriage brought Bruce and me face to face with one of our worst habits: regifting liquor we don’t like. There are those who find regifting itself to be poor etiquette; to them I say, “shove it, sister.” A bowl may be perfectly lovely but not your style; if you happen to have a friend who you know would love it, then give it to her/him (unless of course s/he was the one who gave it to you in the first place, in which case you’ve wrecked the whole thing and may as well flush yourself down the nearest commode.)
            But giving liquor is itself a problem, because the recipient(s) may very well know their stuff. The friend of relative whose occasion you’re celebrating may instantly figure out that you’ve surveyed the $10 wine rack and picked the one with the most tasteful label on the theory that if a winemaker can hire a good graphic designer it can make equally good wine. This is quite the wrong approach to take when buying liquor, especially wine. With wine, you are well advised to do the girlie thing and ask for help. If your wine store staff knows anything at all, they’ll steer you toward the $15 to $20 section and provide you with a wine that tastes like it cost significantly more.
            As for champagne, the same rule applies. Guys, forget your natural aversion to asking for directions or assistance of any kind; get over yourself, Butch.  For God’s sake don’t waste your money on Dom Perignon unless you know for a fact that the recipient is as stupid as you are. Go for something just as delicious but much cheaper—information that any wine merchant will know off the top off his or her head.
            With hard liquors, it can either be easy or impossible, depending on your knowledge of the gifted one’s tastes. If you know s/he likes a certain single malt scotch, the choice has been made for you; if you’re unsure whether s/he likes scotch at all, presenting a bottle of Talisker or Oban will only ensure that it will be regifted to someone you don’t even know, so don’t waste your cash.
            My suggestion: Find the best liquor store in your area, ask for help in choosing a reasonably priced wine or sparkling wine (all champagne is sparkling white, but not all sparkling white is champagne), and you can’t go wrong.
            And one more thing: don’t arrive at any party bearing a bottle of wine or champagne and expect that your host will open it and serve it that evening. It may not go with what s/he’s planned; s/he may have already carefully chosen the wines to go with the courses, and so on. Do not take offense. It’s the gift recipient’s decision whether or not to serve it, not yours.