LONDON — What kind of gift do you get for a man who divides his time between the White House and a gold-plated skyscraper?
That was the question facing British Prime Minister Theresa May ahead of her visit this week to the U.S., where she will become the first world leader to meet with President Donald Trump since he took office.
Here's what the British came up with: a quaich.
For those who may not be up on their ancient Scottish drinking vessels, a quaich (pronounced "quake,"). It is a two-handed vessel— some types of which are also known as "loving cups" — that originated in the Scottish highlands, where clan chiefs prized them as tokens of hospitality.
RELATED: Photos of Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May
Britain's Home Secretary, Theresa May, delivers a speech at RUSI (Royal United Services Institute) in London, Britain June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Britain's Home Secretary, Theresa May, arrives in Downing Street in central London, Britain June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May speaks on the third day of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester northern Britain, October 6 , 2015. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Britain's home secretary Theresa May arrives at Westminster Abbey for a thanksgiving service on the final day of 70th anniversary Victory in Europe (VE) day commemorations in central London May 10, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May addresses the Police Federation's conference in Bournemouth, southern England, Britain May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May curtsies as she greets Queen Elizabeth during a ceremonial welcome for Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto and his wife Angelica Rivera, at Horse Guards Parade in London March 3, 2015. The President and his wife are guests of Queen Elizabeth during their three day state visit to Britain. REUTERS/POOL/Leon Neal (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT)
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) and Home secretary Theresa May arrive at a ceremonial welcome for the President of Singapore Tony Tan, and his wife, at Horse Guards Parade in London October 21, 2014. The President and his wife will be guests of Queen Elizabeth during the first state visit of a Singapore President to Britain.
REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS)
Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May speaks as she opens the Ukraine Forum on Asset Recovery at Lancaster House in central London, April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Winning (BRITAIN - Tags: CRIME LAW POLITICS BUSINESS)
Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May gestures next to an unidentified man during the evening swimming session at the London 2012 Paralympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 30, 2012. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS SWIMMING POLITICS)
Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May arrives for the service of thanksgiving to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Britain's Queen Elizabeth at St Paul's cathedral in central London June 5, 2012. Four days of nationwide celebrations during which millions of people have turned out to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee conclude on Tuesday with a church service and carriage procession through central London. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty (BRITAIN - Tags: ANNIVERSARY ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) meets with British Home Secretary Theresa May at the London Conference on Somalia, February 23, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS)
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
"They have been used across Scotland for centuries as a cup of friendship," May's office said in a press release. "Today it is rarely used as a drinking vessel, but rather it is a symbol of welcome and kinship. Its two handles signify trust, both on the part of the giver and the receiver."
The gift could well be a nod to the president's Scottish ancestry on his mother's side.
Gift-giving between British and American leaders has been something of a political minefield in recent years. In 2001, Prime Minister Tony Blair gave President George W. Bush a bust of World War II leader Winston Churchill. But President Obama removed it from the oval office, replacing it with one of Martin Luther King Jr.
RELATED: Gifts world leaders have given U.S. Presidents
Gifts world leaders have given U.S. Presidents
Gifts world leaders have given U.S. Presidents
WASHINGTON DC - JULY 9: (NO U.S. TABLOID SALES) President Ford accepts a gift from Saudi Arabian Prince Abdallah Ibn Abd Al-Aziz Al-Saud in the Cabinet Room July 9, 1976, in Washington, DC. Also attending are Secretary of State Kissinger; National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft; Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; Abdul Azia Al Tuwayjiri, Deputy Commander of the National Guard; Ali Abdallah Alireza, Ambassador; and State Department interpreter Najib Najjar. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/ Getty Images)
Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (right) presenting a Bicentennial gift to US President Gerald Ford, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Washington DC, June 21st 1976. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
President Dwight D. Eisenhower receives a replica of the Russian Lunik from Premier Nikita Khrushchev during his state visit to the American capital. Vice President Richard Nixon (l) watches. (Photo by mary delaney cooke/Corbis via Getty Images)
President John F. Kennedy shows off some of the gifts, a beaded tie and a doll, that were presented to him today during a visit to the White House by members of the National Congress of American Indians. The Chief Executive, an honorary member of several Indian tribes, called for greater national efforts to provide better living for American Indians.
Members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives present President Kennedy with a pair of cuff links after he signed his first bill as president. The congressmen present are: (from left to right) Rep. Fred Cchewengel, Rep. Peter Mack Jr., Sen. Everett Dirksen, Sen. Vance Hartke, Rep. Winfield K. Denton, Sen. John Sherman Cooper, William B. Brasy, and Sen. Paul H. Douglas.
(Original Caption) This is a close-up of the 8 month old Russian puppy on the left that arrived at the White House as a gift from Soviet premier Khrushchev to President Kennedy. The puppy, an offspring of Stelka, the Soviet space dog is for Mrs. Kennedy. Here, the puppy is introduced to Charley, the Kennedy's Welsh Terrier. The puppy's Russian passport, is in the foreground.
(Original Caption) Two rival political figures, apparently the best of friends, arrive by Transatlantic Airliner. Both the donkey and elephant are destined for Republican homes. The donkey, the animal adopted by the Democrats as their symbol, is a gift to David Eisenhower, the President's grandson, from the Spanish Foreign Minister. The elephant was imported from Siam for use in the Republican national campaign.
Fala, Scottish terrier of FDR, looking up at sphynx sculpture superimposed w. face of his master in room filled w. gifts received during FDR's presidency. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/Pix Inc./The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Pacific Palisades, California: Presidential-elect Ronald Reagan has his hands full as a white horse, a gift from the President of Mexico, Jose Lopez Portillo, rears as it is presented to him at a park near his home. The horse, Alamain, is from Portillo's private stable. January 12, 1981.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny gives a gift of an etched bowl filled with traditional shamrocks to U.S. President Barack Obama during a St. Patrick's Day reception at the White House in Washington, March 19, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
US President George W. Bush (C) holds up a gift during a Gowning and Investiture Ceremony at the Executive Mansion in Monrovia, Liberia, on February 21, 2008. Bush is capping off a five-country Africa trip promising lasting friendship with the continent. Bush became the first US leader in 30 years to visit Liberia, a nation settled in the 1820s by slaves freed by the United States and still the closest US ally in Africa, but battered by a bloody series of civil wars. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President George W. Bush receives a gift from United Arab Emirates' President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan at Al Mushref Palace in Abu Dhabi. The solid gold sash is studded by diamonds and gems. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
U.S. President Bill Clinton is presented a gift of shamrocks by Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern on St. Patrick's Day at the White House, March 17. Clinton is continuing talks today with Irish leaders for peace in Northern Ireland.
Moscow, Russia. President Boris Yeltsin (C) of Russia presents President Bill Clinton (R) of the United States with a copy of the Union flag of the Civil War times during a meeting at the Moscow Kremlin. Alexander Chumichev; Alexander Sentsov/ITAR-TASS (Photo by TASS via Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama is presented with a gift in honour of his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, by Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during a state dinner at the State Palace-Istana Merdeka in Jakarta, November 9, 2010. Obama and his mother lived in Indonesia during Obama's early years. REUTERS/Jason Reed (INDONESIA - Tags: POLITICS)
A member of the U.S. government staff carries a bust of Mahatma Gandhi, presented as a gift to U.S. President Barack Obama, during his trip in New Delhi, November 8, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Reed (INDIA - Tags: POLITICS)
Pope Benedict XVI (R) exchanges gifts with U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd R) during their meeting in the pontiff's private library at the Vatican July 10, 2009. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano (VATICAN POLITICS RELIGION)
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) holds a gift he received from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah during a meeting at the king's farm outside Riyadh June 3, 2009. REUTERS/Larry Downing (SAUDI ARABIA POLITICS IMAGES OF THE DAY)
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (2nd L) presents a gift to U.S. President George W. Bush in New York, November 13, 2008. REUTERS/Saudi Press Agency/Handout (UNITED STATES). FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
U.S. President George W. Bush receives a bowl of Shamrocks as a St. Patrick's Day gift from Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, March 17, 2005. At right is first lady, Laura Bush. REUTERS/Larry Downing LSD/HB
U.S. President George W. Bush (L) receives a drawing depicting
"yabusame", Japanese traditional mounted archery, presented to him from
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the Foreign Ministry's
Iikura guest house in Tokyo February 18, 2002. Bush's Japan visit is
the first stop on a three-country tour through Asia. REUTERS/Katsumi
Former U.S. president Bill Clinton (R) receives a gift from Taiwan's parliamentary speaker Wang Jing-pyng after giving a speech at an event hosted by the Taiwan Democracy Foundation in Taipei February 27, 2005. Clinton will meet Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian on Sunday during a whirlwind visit to the island that China regards as a renegade province, but China was restrained in its reaction. REUTERS/Richard Chung TW
President Ronald Reagan standing next to horse named El Amamein, which was given to him as a gift from Mexican President, on ranch. (Photo by Pete Souza/White House/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
German Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt together with his wife presenting a gift to the US President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy Reagan is standing to the right, the present is a couple of American Eagles, July 01, 1978, Bonn, Germany. (Photo by Thomas Imo/Photothek via Getty Images)
President Carter Receiving Gift (Photo by ï¿½ Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (R) presents a traditional gift of a bowl of shamrocks to U.S. President Donald Trump during a St. Patrick's Day reception at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
The removal sparked outrage in Britain's tabloid press and prompted then-London Mayor (and now Foreign Secretary) Boris Johnson to decry what he claimed was an "ancestral dislike of the British empire" on the part of the "part-Kenyan" president.
Likewise, Britain felt snubbed in 2009, when Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave Obama a wooden pen holder made from the timbers of a Victorian anti-slave ship. In return, Obama gave Brown 25 DVDs of classic American movies.
May's gift to Trump can be seen as an attempt to highlight both his personal ties to Britain as well as the long-standing alliance between the two countries. The Prime Minister has an economic motive to emphasize the positive aspects of Britain's relationship with the U.S.
Last week, May outlined her vision for Britain's departure from the European Union, which, to the dismay of many business groups, included withdrawal from the bloc's single market and customs union.
I look very much forward to meeting Prime Minister Theresa May in Washington in the Spring. Britain, a longtime U.S. ally, is very special!
That will make the health of the British economy contingent on the ability of May's government to secure free-trade deals with other nations — in particular the U.S., which is the largest single-country export destination for Britain, accounting for over 15 percent of the country's exports, according to Britain's Revenue and Customs department.
British lawmakers, and May herself, were also highly critical of some of Trump's rhetoric and behavior as a candidate. In January 2016, British lawmakers debated banning Trump from entering the country in response to a public petition that garnered enough support to trigger a parliamentary response. During the debate, lawmakers brand Trump a "fool," a "demagogue" and a "wazzock" — British slang for an irritating person.
In addition, May told a British TV host that she found Trump's comments, in which he bragged about sexually groping women, "unacceptable."
But for Britain at the moment, economic issues take precedence.
During her visit, which begins Thursday, May will address the annual Republican congressional retreat being held in Philadelphia. She will stress the importance of renewing the alliance between the U.S. and Britain, visit Arlington National Cemetery and then meet with Trump in the White House on Friday.
Whether the prime minister's gift of a quaich wins Trump's favor remains to be seen, but it could be a bumpy road. After all, when you're giving a vessel traditionally used to serve alcohol to a teetotal president, what could possibly go wrong?