By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Nov 25, 2022 at 11:02 AM

Snuggle up with some holiday cheer as OnMilwaukee shares stories of everything merry and bright in the spirit of the season.

The OnMilwaukee Ho Ho Holiday Guide is brought to you by Educators Credit Union, Harley-Davidson Museum and MolsonCoors

Shopping for the holidays can be tough. Whether you’re seeking out gifts for family members, acquaintances or colleagues, the challenge always seems to lie in finding something that they’ll be sure to enjoy and use.

When in doubt, it often makes sense to reach for consumable, indulge-worthy gifts. After all, who doesn't love a special treat that they can share with loved ones (or keep all to themselves)? 

All but one of these great gifts can be found at the Story Hill BKC Bottle Shop, 5100 W. Bluemound Rd. It's effectively a one-stop-shop for well-priced wine, craft beer, spirits and other nifty food-related items. They even carry a wide variety of gift packaging (from multipurpose crates to gift bags) and a fun assortment of stocking stuffers.

1. Get bubbly

Sparkling wine giftX

We’ve all got parties to attend. Why not bring some bubbly to the celebration? These ready-to-go kits make it easy to be an incredible party guest. Each fully wrapped box includes a bottle of Scharffenberger Brut and two stemless flutes ($35).

2. An old fashioned gift

Old fashioned kit giftX

What’s better than a Wisconsin old fashioned around the holidays? How about a no-fuss kit that will allow the recipient to enjoy drinks throughout the season?  This old fashioned set has everything you need to make a great old fashioned, from Korbel Brandy to locally made maraschino cherries, sugar cubes and a bottle of bitters. It even comes with two rocks glasses for good measure ($49).  

3. Everything but the cheese

Cheese board and accoutrementsX

Cheese and charcuterie boards make for impressive, easy entertaining, whether it’s for a small, casual gathering or a large party. That’s why a good cheese board makes a great gift for such a wide range of folks. 

This wine bottle shaped cheese board ($24) would make a great gift unto itself, but it’s fun and easy to spiff it up with items that are perfect for unique cheese pairings. Examples include Nutkrack candied pecans ($15); Quince & Apple pear mostarda ($8) and Indulgence Dark Chocolate Sea Salt bar ($7). Include a patterned cheese knife ($5) to round things out!

4. Story Hill BKC bottled cocktails

Bottled cocktailsX

There’s nothing better than a well-built cocktail that you don’t have to make yourself. That’s just part of the reason why these bottled cocktails make such a great gift. Whether you box up all three or pair up a favorite with a set of cocktail glasses (or a gift card), the recipient is sure to think of you fondly when they reach into the fridge at the end of a long, exhausting day. These ready-to-drink cocktails are also great to bring with you as a hostess gift for a holiday party.

Bottled cocktails are available in three variations: The Business (Prairie Gin, Limoncello, agave nectar and lime);The Oldest Fashioned (Ezra Brooks Bourbon, cherry, orange, sugar, bitters, housemade cherry syrup); and the Jalapeño Paloma (jalapeño-infused Exotico Tequila, grapefruit, orange, rosemary). Each 375mL bottle holds enough for three delicious cocktails ($16).  

5. Crafty holiday brews

Craft Beer giftX

Limited edition brews are always a welcome gift for the beer lover in your world, especially brews that age well and can be saved for a special occasion. 

The Story Hill BKC Bottle Shop has everything you need to pull together a last minute gift, from a rustic bottle carrier ($24) to a great selection of brews to fill it up. Not sure which beer to include? Their knowledgeable staff is happy to help!  You could even throw in a set of locally made beer coasters from Milwaukee’s own Sugarhouse Leather ($10 each).

6. Something sweet

Holiday cookie boxesX

Who doesn’t love cookies, especially ones they don’t need to bake themselves? These delectable cookie boxes from Black Shoe Bakery make easy (delicious) gifts for colleagues, clients and anyone hosting a holiday gathering. Each box includes a dozen cookies (four of each flavor).

Nut Christmas Cookie Box: Includes Walnut Whirls (walnut shortbread cookie, topped with marshmallow fluff, enrobed in coffee ganache, and sprinkled with chopped toasted walnuts); Linzer Cookies (buttery cookies with ground almonds and cinnamon, sandwiched together with raspberry preserves); and Pecan Snowballs (buttery cookie containing toasted pecans, rolled in confectioner's sugar).

Retro Christmas Cookie Box: Includes Peanut Butter Blossoms (peanut butter cookie, rolled in sugar and topped with a chocolate kiss); Snickerdoodles (light sugar cookie rolled in cinnamon sugar) and Cherry Snowballs (whipped shortbread rolled in coarse sugar and decorated with red and green candied cherries).

Chocolate Christmas Cookie Box: Includes Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (cakey chocolate cookies with a crackled top, rolled in confectioner's sugar); Chocolate Hazelnut Rugelach (tender cream cheese dough, rolled up with nutella, ground chocolate and chopped hazelnuts, sprinkled with coarse sugar); and Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints (chocolate chocolate chip cookie, dimpled in the center and filled with peppermint ganache and crushed peppermint candy).

Cookie boxes are $24 each and will be available to order online at beginning Dec. 5th. You’ll need 24 hours notice for pickup, which will be available through Friday, Dec. 23rd.

7. You’re neat!

Bourbon giftsX

Know a bourbon lover? Treat them to a great bottle from Story Hill BKC’s hand-selected single-barrel whiskey collection. Past selections, which are currently available in the shop include Maker’s Mark Private Selection ($76) or Central Standard Cabin Strength ($62). Starting today they will also have a special Black Friday Release: New Riff Single Barrel Bourbon, which has been aged four years in 53-gallon toasted and charred new oak.  Add on a set of Wisconsin State park glasses for sipping ($10 each).

Prefer a ready-made gift?  Story Hill also carries a Four Roses gift set, which comes with two glasses for sipping ($45)

8. Rose all day

Rose wine giftX

The gift of wine never goes out of style. Grab a rustic bottle carrier ($24) and fill it up with a fantastic selection of stellar wines. Whether it’s well-priced reds, refreshing whites or four excellent roses that will remind them of summer, you’ll find them at the Story Hill BKC Bottle Shop.

9. The gift that keeps on giving

Wine club gift

There’s nothing like giving a gift that lasts well into the new year. That’s what makes Story Hill BKC Wine Club such a great option. Each Wine Club membership includes two bottles hand-selected by experienced beverage staff each month. Monthly subscriptions range from $40 to $45 plus tax for the two hand-selected bottles and benefits, including unique wines picked just for members, tasting notes for each bottle selected with pairing suggestions and/or recipes, rewards points with every month’s payment, 10% off and earn rewards points on case purchases. Must be 21 or older and able to pick up wines at the Story Hill BKC Bottle Shop. [More information]

Contact with any questions. If you give Wine Club as a gift, Story Hill BKC will email your giftee with their first release date.

10. A delicious experience

Gift cards as giftsX

Seriously, don't overlook gift cards when you're shopping for gifts. Giving the gift of a restaurant experience is among the best gifts you can offer. After all, who doesn’t love a stress-free night out with no dishes to clean up and no bill to pay at the end of the night? 

Black Shoe Hospitality Gift cards are even more of a no-brainer, since they can be used at any one of four restaurants. So your recipient can choose to redeem it for brunch at Blue’s Egg, a low key Southern dinner at Maxie’s, weekend brunch or dinner at Story Hill BKC or an upscale evening out at Buttermint Finer Dining & Cocktails. Now through the end of the year, get a $20 bonus dining card with every $100 in gift cards purchased from Black Shoe Hospitality

Even better, the gift of a great restaurant meal is something the recipient can look forward to, even after all the decorations have been packed away. 

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.