They say it's better to give than receive, and while that's true, sometimes the self needs to be nurtured and fed -- an impulse that can be forgotten during holiday-saturated months. As we slip into fall and a few months blissfully free of these obligations, the opportunity for self-care is ever present. With that in mind, here are some things (from a penthouse staycation to a fine whiskey) that can help.
The Warwick has a storied history of being the go-to resting place for A-list celebrities from Hollywood's heyday, but it's likely you've unwittingly walked by it, in the middle of a midtown rush. I checked into the Modern Art suite with my girlfriend one unassuming Sunday night, and we were surprised how quickly we felt transformed. We ate sushi (Seamless is a great alternative to the pricey room service) on the huge terrace that overlooked MoMA, read in our robes and watched Game of Thrones. The room, aptly named for its many mid-century paintings, is appointed more like an apartment on nearby Central Park South than a hotel room, making you feel instantly at home -- and like you've stepped into a portal to your future successful self.
It helped that we brought a bottle of Lock Stock and Barrel, a 13-year straight rye whiskey expertly created by Rob Cooper of St. Germain fame. It's a layered taste that's both utterly drinkable and beguiling complex, begging for pauses between sips. Its design is completely badass -- a black bottle with white etching incased in a keepsake weathered wooden crate. Giving the impression it was pulled from the bootlegged shores of Boardwalk Empire.
If LSB's out of your budget, don't fret. TINCUP delivers a satisfying punch for a fraction of the cost. The bottle even comes with its namesake cup, making it perfect for doing shots around the campfire. Made with pure Rocky Mountain water, this whiskey has a remarkable clarity that makes it ideal for cocktails.
For vodka lovers, Hangar 1 is the best craft creation currently on the market. I first had this at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic and was blown away by its nuanced yet distinctive taste. With flavors like mandarin and kaffir lime, a cocktail is only a splash of club soda away.
For more permanent gifts, it doesn't get any better than Soundmatters' Dash 7. Since receiving an iPad for Christmas last year, it's become my go-to device for watching movies and TV but the sound quality has been frustrating. I've often missed lines of dialogue or just felt so far away from the action. This tiny, handheld speaker, turns the iPad into a mini home theater. The depth of sound is remarkable for both dialogue and music, uncovering layers that get meshed together with most speakers. This Bluetooth enabled device comes with its own case, making it perfect for traveling.
Watches have morphed from utility to accessory, and Modify gets this. They make interchangeable faces and bands that are colorful and durable. It's any easy way to punch up your wardrobe or express a mood. I love how transformable they are and could see amassing a collection of different sizes and styles over time. Think customizable Swatches made by a Brooklyn artist.
Sometimes the most satisfying self-gifts are the ones that take months to track down and require careful planning and an aggressive game plan. For those looking for a challenge, try a few of Buffalo Trace's hard-to-find expressions:
EH Taylor Straight Rye Whiskey
A deeper smokier taste with a warm lingering bite that's deeply satisfying. It's sweetness is muted to a savory finish that begs for another sip. A fireside whiskey indeed that leaves heat on the tongue and a smile on the face.
EH Taylor 134.5 proof
Even cut with a couple drops of water, the vapors of this high proof whiskey are so formidable that it takes a little courage to dive in. The First sip is rewarded with a perplexing density and then a smooth and slightly honey-tinged aftertaste.
Sazerac Rye 18 yr
As drinkable as it is complex. Sweet followed by heat. At 90 proof the alcohol doesn't overpower but rather reveals levels of flavor. The vapors penetrate deep through the nostrils and hint at the complexity lingering just beneath.