Finding that perfect gift for dear old Dad can be tough. Here, we have a hodge-podge of gift ideas for the man of the house.
This gadget is perfect for the chap who is tired of seeing multiple data and internet bills pile up each month. The first pay-as-you-go portable WiFi hotspot, Karma lets users connect a tablet or laptop anywhere, regardless of Internet access and without tapping into a costly data plan. The device costs $79, and data plans start at $14 for 1GB. But the concept goes beyond mobile hotspots; Karma is a 4G social sharing tool. The hotspot is open to as many as eight devices, and anyone can sign on (you cannot deactivate sharing).
Here's the benefit of the open access: For every user who jumps onto your hotspot, you earn 100MB of free data. Data is not shared—only the connection is—so someone else’s connection does not count against your purchased allotment. If your Karma is open for business, you might never have to pay for Internet again. And because it operates on a 4G network, there are few hiccups along the road to connectivity.
Spend some quality time refining your palate with Dad by brewing your own beer. The homebrew kits from Florida-beased Craft a Brew are top-notch. Eschewing the plastic route many pre-packaged kits wander, Craft a Brew goes glass, using all professional, food-grade devices and industry tools like a three-piece airlock and curved racking cane. The real stars in these kits, though, are the recipes and ingredients. There is a style for just about every palate, including American pale ale, chocolate milk stout, Hefeweizen, oakaged IPA, brown ale, golden ale and even the White House honey ale recipe created by President Obama and his chef team. Kit prices range from $45-$48, while additional recipes—which include malt extract, grains, hops, yeast, sanitizer and brew bag—are available separately for $15-$18. Available at craftabrew.com.
For some exclusive flavors, Craft a Brew offers recipes on UncommonGoods.com. Kits include Southern Bourbon Stout, Vermont Maple Porter, West Coast IPA and Texas Chipotle Amber. They are available only at uncommongoods.com.
Know Your Temp
When it comes to grilling, temperature is everything. The difference between medium-rare and well-done is just a few ticks of mercury, so being hypervigilant is a necessity. This is why the iGrill Bluetooth Meat Thermometer ($79) and app is a godsend for the grill man, roaster or smoker in your house.
To use the thermometer, insert two meat temperature probes into the meat. iGrill's stand-alone thermometer acts as a sentinel near the cooking implement, boldly proclaiming the temperature for all to see, while an app—available on iPhone/iPad and Android products—keeps the cook in the know. With a 200-foot Bluetooth range, an alarm function can be set for minimum and maximum temperatures as well as cooking times, time remaining, a standard kitchen timer and even recipes. Never serve dry brisket again.
Chic Six (or Four)
Walnut Studiolo is always coming up with killer handcrafted leather goods for the home, office, bar and bicycle. This Father’s Day, go green and serve Dad the ultimate handmade, reusable leather six-pack holder ($90). This little beer basket consists of leather rings riveted to a masonite or plyboo board with a cut-out handle. Made from sustainable materials, it's eco-chic.
For the man who prefers vino to bier, the four-pack ($94) accommodates four 22-oz. or 750-ml bottles. Constructed a bit differently, the handle is made of hand-carved wood forming ergonomic finger grips. Pretty sweet.
The Future is Now
This Father’s Day, have fun building a flying robot with Dad. Quadrocopter offers a range of multi-rotor flying machines: from $9,000 professional-grade, heavy-lift octo-rotors used for aerial photography to $100 entry-level bots. For the beginner, the Pilot Training Package is the perfect starting point. The package includes a radio transmitter (the control device; $180 for the DX6i DSMX; $430 for the DX8), flight simulator software ($100 for AeroSIM RC Sim; $130 for the Phoenix RC Pro) and a training copter ($120 for the BLADE mQX BNF, $150 for the BLADE mQX RTF). Buyers can mix and match, but if you run the low end, the total comes in just under $400.
Picture a Sentimental Wave
From the other side of the pond comes a pretty cool concept that serves double-duty: sweet wall art and a personalized story to boot, created by Owlish Grey. Submit a sound file with a message, and artist Gemma Hutchingson will convert the timbre of the voice into a personalized sound wave image printed on fine art archival paper (optional: Have the message transcribed below the wave.). With 24 color options available, the image is a great way to personalize Father’s Day—and the wall. Prints cost $31 for 11x8 inches and $43 for 16x11 inches plus shipping. Available on Etsy.com.
Simple Good Looks
Is your pop an iPad man? Protect that gizmo with some personalized style in the Everyday Leather iPad Envelope ($79) by Mark and Graham. The name says it all: The protective cover is an oversized leather envelope for an iPad, complete with a laser-engraved monogram on the fold. Available in five color options, the exterior is rugged and strong and, like a fine wine, improves with age. The interior is lined with linen to protect the gadget and its sleek screen. It's simple, unique and personalized—need we say more?
Your dad is cooler than you think, and this book proves it. Dads are the Original Hipsters ($13; Chronicle Books) is a collection of faded photographs of dudes being dudes before they settled down and had kids. Filled with all the ridiculousness of the 1960s, 70s, '80s and '90s before the mustaches were ironic, Dads is a collection of home photos with witty captions that encapsulate all of the vintage awesomeness. It's a book that will certainly make you laugh—and probably look at Pop in a new light. Available on Amazon.com.
Unscented and Loving It
Men generally don’t fret over the soap that sits in the dish by the sink or on the rack in the shower. But Right Soap has a bevvy of goodies that don’t smell like lavender and does not use harsh chemicals or ingredients that can be harmful to the skin. Made with all-natural, medicinal-quality clays and minerals, organic vegetables, roots and fruits, natural oils and vegan butters, the bars of soap are cold-pressed to ensure the quality and integrity of the ingredients. For South Florida dads, the Activated Charcoal Soap (No. 2)—$6 per bar—is our pick of Right Soap’s offerings. With an active ingredient in charcoal, which has antibacterial properties and can help clean wounds, a deep the black hue and an absence of scent, this bar has all the making of a manly man's soap.
Everybody loves getting mail, especially when the package is stocked with artisanal cheeses and meats. Get Dad the gift that will have him running to the mailbox: a subscription to one of Murray’s Cheese monthly clubs.
The Cheese of the Month club delivers 1.5 pounds of different cheeses every second Tuesday of the month ($275 for a four-month run, $400 for six months, $775 for 12 months; shipping is included). The Pair of the Month club delivers a half-pound of cheese and an accompaniment (like chutney, preserves and spreads) expertly selected to complement the cheese (sends the third Thursday of the month: $200 for four months, $285 for six month, $550 for 12 months). That hankering for charcuterie is satisfied with the Meat of the Month club, a monthly delivery of two different salumis, all cooked and cured, whole and encased, every third Thursday ($225 for four months, $325 for six months, $625 for 12 months). All shipments are hand-selected by expert cheese mongers and include descriptions of each.
Nothing says manliness quite like lighting a fire and searing meat on it. The Weber 121020 is the MacGyver of grills. Falling under Weber’s Go-Anywhere Series, the 121020 is one of the most versatile and portable grills on the market. With 160 square inches of total cooking area packed in a pint-sized 14.5x21x12.24 inches, the 121020 has plated steel legs that double as lid locks, a plated steel cooking grate, aluminum heat dampers, a glass-reinforced nylon lid handle and a porcelain-enameled lid and base—guaranteed to be rust-resistant. But the best part of this little devil is its heating versatility: The 121020 is available in charcoal or gas, and at $50, it's perfect for the beach barbecue or tailgate season come fall.
Drink Like the Founding Fathers
Rye whiskey is a popular spirit right now, and it makes a great gift for the drinker in your life. But what to get? Hop on the Founding Father bandwagon with a bottle of hooch made from a recipe by George Washington. Part of Washington's sprawling Mount Vernon estate in Virginia is a distillery and gristmill that in 1799 produced as many as 11,000 gallons of whiskey, making it the largest distillery in America at the time.
After a 200-year hiatus, the Mount Vernon distillery became operational again in 2009 with the help of former Maker’s Mark distiller Dave Pickerell. An old recipe belonging to Washington has found its way back into the stills, and it's made following the same techniques from more than 200 years ago: Seven distillers use wood-burning boilers and water from an adjacent pond and grind their own mash using Washington’s special formula (60 percent rye, 35 percent corn, 5 percent malted barley). They run this process twice annually, generating 1,100 bottles per. For $95 you can own a 350-ml bottle of the unaged rye. It sells out quickly; there is a waiting list of 4,000, and buyers must pick up the bottle in Virgina.
Pickerell and Scotch distillers Glenmorangie, Laphroaig and Cardhu have created the first-ever single malt whiskey at the Mount Vernon distillery using pure Scottish peated malt. The whiskey is currently aging in barrels for three years. Only 100 bottles will be distilled, and they'll be distributed to 100 charities around the globe for auction in 2015. Be on the lookout—chances are one or two bottles will make their way to Florida for the highest bidder.
Image courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.