If there’s one truth to excellent gift giving, it is this undeniable fact: You must be unique. With that in mind, we’ve scoured the Windy City to find Chicago-centric gifts that have of one-of-a-kind appeal. Here are five cool finds for the utter originals on your list:
Intelligentsia cafés are where coffee aficionados go to watch a single cup of coffee painstakingly brewed to perfection. While the Chicago-based company has locations in New York City and Los Angeles, it was founded here and remains a source of pride to local connoisseurs. The standard holiday gift box includes Celebration Blend coffee, a holiday mug and a chocolate bar. We recommend you throw in the cool Chicago Flag Filter Mug, too.
For the Stylish Set
Any Chicagoan will tell you wearing a hat is an essential winter survival tactic, but those whose sartorial sense leans more toward style than basic function will appreciate a handcrafted cap from Optimo Fine Hats. More than 60 styles in a slew of fabrics are available, as is a custom option (fittings can be conducted over the phone) for the discerning customer. We like The Chicago fedora, Optimo’s best-selling hat, not only for its name but also for its throwback style and silk ribbon.
In the last couple years, Chicago has seen a slew of specialty distilleries pop up, turning out small-batch gin and the like. Rhine Hall, recently opened in the West Loop, is a family-run distillery making apple brandy with local apples from southwest Michigan. Brandy may not be at the height of popular spirits just yet, but we think this place is helping usher in a new trend — Chicago mixologists are already creating drinks with the old-timey liquor. Visit the distillery to purchase a 375-milliliter bottle ($29) along with a Saturday tour ($7) for the libation lover on your list.
For the Urban Aesthete
Chicago is beautiful — why not gift a photograph of the city by a local artist? Photographer Tracey Capone captures gorgeous shots — from urban signs to romantic cityscapes — and sells prints ($30) on her Etsy page. Her work can also be found at a few galleries around town, including Andersonville Galleria.
For the Practical Art Lover
The Art Institute of Chicago is a must-visit for locals and visitors alike, especially for those who want to take in the museum’s myriad pieces from artists such as Chagall, Hopper and Picasso. And while you might not be able to purchase an original for your artful friend, you can head to the museum’s shop and get him something beautiful but practical, such as an umbrella printed with Monet’s Water Lilies (the original is part of the Art Institute’s permanent collection).