Booze-Giving: A Mandatory Holiday Guide to Gifting the Very Best Liquor Has to Offer
We are about to embark on the most saturated social time of the year. That’s because from Thanksgiving (and even before) to New Year’s Eve our schedules will be littered with soirees, parties, shindigs, social gatherings, and family functions. That’s enough social engagements to make an introvert (and even some extroverts) grab the closest bottle of booze and drink until January.
And while we’re no strangers to the art of boozing, we believe that blindly stumbling through the holidays in a drunk haze isn’t such a great idea. But, we’re all about social drinking. That’s why we came up with this handy dandy list of bottles of booze you should bring to social engagements and gift to your friends, family, and coworkers in the hope that they’ll be kind enough to pour you a glass or two.
Photo: Ivanko_Brnjakovic (Getty Images)
Ardbeg 10 Year
For the uninitiated, Scotch whisky can seem extremely complicated. It’s really not. Of the various Scotch-producing regions, the sheep-filled island of Islay makes peat-smoked whiskies. If you’re giving a gift to a fan of smoky whiskies (or someone interested in trying them), there’s no better jumping off point than Ardbeg 10. It’s smoky, sweet, and complex.
Absolut Elyx Vodka
In the spirits world, vodka doesn’t really get a lot of respect. To many, it’s simply unaged ethanol alcohol and not at all very nuanced. But, to aficionados, different terroir, ingredients, and distilling techniques make for very different, exciting flavors. This is absolutely true for Absolut Elyx. This single-estate vodka is made from winter wheat and pure water from an underground lake in copper stills. It’s fresh, smooth, and complex enough for slow sipping or mixing into your favorite cocktails.
When it comes to Jim Beam’s Small Batch Collection, Booker’s (and its variety of offerings) seems to make all the press. But, when it comes to holiday gifting, you shouldn’t sleep on another Small Batch offering from Baker’s. This 107-proof bourbon is aged for seven years. The result is a rich, smooth whiskey with hints of caramel, toffee, and vanilla sweetness.
Photo: Beam Suntory
FEW Cold Cut Bourbon
By now, you know that in order to be called a "bourbon," the whiskey doesn’t need to be made in Kentucky. It simply must follow a handful of rules including being made from at least 51 percent corn. Evanston, Illinois’ FEW has been making bourbon since 2011. But, its recent offering takes your favorite whiskey and amps it up with the addition of cold brew coffee to create a truly unique flavor and an extra buzz.
Hibiki Japanese Harmony
Fans of Scotch whisky have been embracing Japanese whisky for decades. If you’re buying a gift for something new to the style, you can’t go wrong with a bottle of Hibiki Japanese Harmony. This smooth, well-balanced (you might even call it harmonious) whisky is a blend of some of the most well-known Japanese brands, including Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Chita. The whiskies were aged in a variety of barrels, including Mizunara oak, American white oak, and Sherry butts.
Photo: Beam Suntory
Sure, you can buy bottles of rum and whiskey for your friends and family, but if you really want to show them how much you care for them, you’ll grab them a bottle to enjoy after a heavy holiday meal. Fernet-Branca is one of the most popular digestifs in the world and a favorite of bartenders because of its herbal flavors from more than 40 herbs and botanicals.
Templeton Rye 6 Year
Fans of bourbon looking for something with a little extra kick would love to be gifted a bottle of rye whiskey. One of the best brands available is Iowa’s Templeton. Its 6 Year Rye has been aged for (you guess it) six years in American oak barrels. The result is a slightly spicy, smooth, rich whiskey perfect for slow sipping throughout the holidays.
Monkey 47 Gin
There’s no wrong time of year for gin. Nobody is going to look down on you for enjoying a gin and tonic in the middle of winter. In fact, they’ll probably ask you to make them one. When they do, make it with a bottle of German’s Monkey 47 Gin. Made from 47 unique, regional botanicals (including lingonberries), this juniper-based spirit is well suited for all of your holiday gatherings.
Photo: Monkey 47 Gin
Casa Noble Reposado Tequila
This award-winning tequila from Casa Noble is the perfect tequila to buy a friend, family member, or coworker who doesn’t often stray from their go-to brand. This rich, aged tequila sat in French oak barrels for 364 days. The result is a floral, sweet, vegetal tequila with hints of rich oak, caramel, and vanilla.
Photo: Casa Noble
Santa Teresa 1796 Rum
There’s more to rum than sugary coconut flavoring and a bombastic pirate who likes to stand with one leg up for some odd reason. This year, buy a bottle of Santa Teresa 1796 for that rum fan in your life. This single-estate Venezuelan rum is is made with blends as old as 35 years. It’s rich, smooth, full of vanilla and caramel sweetness, and so good you might want to sip it instead of wasting in a cocktail.
Photo: Santa Teresa