Oct. 18: Drink up

There are just 67 shopping days left until Christmas. Need some fun gift ideas? Here are some beverage-related gift items I found on some of my favorite gadget and parenting web sites.

Penguin Teaboy

Tea too strong? Too weak? Problem solved. Our nattily attired tea penguin always brews the perfect cup. Set the timer for your ideal brew time (from 1 minute up to 20) and he lowers the teabag into the water. When the time is up, he lifts it out. Couldn't be simpler or more fun. 3" diameter, 8" tall. $18.98 at Signals. (Description is from Signals, and picture link goes there. Slightly different penguin tea timers are available at Amazon and Harriet Carter.)

Sherpa Coffee Sleeve

Sip in style, pamper your hand, keep beverages hot (or cool) longer, and save a tree with one of these. Sleeve rolls up for compact storage in a briefcase, bag, or glove box. Combine with a prepaid coffee shop card for a terrific gift. Made in the USA from tan and cream 100% polyester. Machine wash. Two or more save 10%. $10.98 at Signals.

Global Warming Mug

Sure to be a topical topic of conversation, this mug shows off the adverse effects of that annoying global warming. Just pour in a hot cup of coffee, and the ocean starts to spread across the continent as ice caps melt and water levels rise. A pleasant reminder to take care of the planet and knock down your carbon dioxide emission. $12.00 at Uncommon Goods.

AlcoHAWK PRO Digital Breath Alcohol Detector

Advanced semiconductor sensor quickly and accurately estimates Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) using a breath sample. Blow into the mouthpiece for 5 seconds; get a digital LED readout (0.00 to 0.40%) in 3 seconds. Upgraded foolproof design monitors abnormal sensor conditions and ensures a sufficient air sample is tested. Meets rigorous National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards. Runs on 9V battery (included). Remember: Never drink and drive. $139.95 at Sharper Image.

Eiffel Tower Tea Set

I include this mostly because I love any excuse to have the Eiffel Tower in my house. Ain't it cute? Add a little ooh-la-la to the tea party. Includes 2-cup stoneware teapot (9¾" tall) with lid/stopper, plus two 2-oz. cups with saucers. Hand wash. Gift boxed. $24.95 at Sur la Table.

Pick Your Nose party cups

Who knows how to liven up a party? YOU do! Each of these photo- realistic paper cups comes emblazoned with a new nose. When you tip your head to take a drink - voila - you get an instant nose job, and a chuckle from the crowd. Remember, never turn your nose up at a good laugh! There are 24 12-oz. cups in each pack, evenly divided between male and female proboscises (errr, noses). $7.49 at Perpetual Kid.

Cool Shooters Ice Shot Glasses

What's cooler than a shot glass made of ice? Fill Cool Shooter with water or your favorite juice, freeze, and then pop out four fully-formed frozen shot glasses. A great way to add a little nip to your favorite sip! Pure food-grade silicone rubber. $6.95 at Perpetual Kid.

USB Mug Warmer & Hub

It's perfect and it's simple - a hotplate powered by USB keeps your coffee warm. But if Alton Brown has taught us anything is that we hate a single-use tool. That, and sometimes we like our caffeine served cold. No problem, 'cause we've got you covered! Just flip a switch, and the hot-plate turns into a peltier device, quickly cooling to 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celcius). Sweet! By maintaining optimum temperatures for your caffeine delivery system, you can enjoy increased work productivity and nice twitchy gaming reflexes. Connection via USB. Cable length: 2 feet. Power consumption: 5.75W. Dimensions: 5.25" x 3.25" x 1.4". $24.99 at ThinkGeek.

Wine Bottle USB drive

Here's interesting packaging for software that basically inventories your wine cellar. Open Cellar is so practical it gives you access to all the information with only a few clicks. The interface is pleasant and intuitive, wine forms are detailed and complete, with numerous reports and statistics. The web-based program offers even more features. About $40 at BeWineConnected.

This last thing has nothing to do with a beverage, but I just had to include it.
Until I saw this, the Gummi Venus de Milo was my favorite shape formed in the gummi medium. But now... oh my lord, how can I resist gummi haggis? I'm only human!

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