December is a nexus for gift giving, but finding the right gift for the spirituous adventurers in your life can be elusive. Never fear! Our last-minute gift guide can help turn a Bah-humbug season into one of good cheer.
For your fave Scotch lover, The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve, scoring a 96 from Wine Enthusiast, offers a refined and elegant non-age-statement Sherry-bomb explicitly developed for cigar lovers. Aged in ex-bourbon casks, Matusalem Oloroso Sherry casks, and Cab Sauv barriques, the result is a spectacularly smooth and rich dram. Intense notes of vanilla bean, winter spices, and fresh red fruits finish with long warm hints of candied orange peel, dark chocolate, marzipan, and toffee, perfect for holiday celebrations and a good cigar. Price: $170-$200 USD*
Shopping for a bourbon aficionado? You’ll be redeemed with a deceptively affordable bottle of Redemption High Rye Bourbon. Scoring an impressive 96 points at the NY International Spirits competition, it leads with aromas of holiday spice over clean sweet corn, with hints of dried tree fruits, vanilla, and mint. The nose creates an aromatic head-fake as the flavors burst with rye spice, soft caramel, black licorice, and hints of bitter chocolate. Surprisingly complex given its youth, it’s equally suited as a winter-fire quaff and a daily drinker. Price: $25-$35 USD*
Gift-giving is “muy facil” with the multi-award-winning El Tesoro Extra Anejo Tequila. Receiving a 95 at the 2021 Ultimate Spirits Challenge and Double-Gold at the 2021 San Francisco Spirits Competition, it’s no wonder El Tesoro was twice named Distillery of the Year. This special release spends a minimum of four to five years in ex-bourbon American oak barrels to provide a uniquely smooth mouthfeel that begins with a fat, buttery nose touting earthy cooked agave and oak, with hints of coffee, caramel, and black pepper. On the tongue, agave and oak prevail, leading to notes of vanilla, cinnamon, more caramel, and a black-pepper spice. Ideal in a snifter, it can also make Cadillac margaritas and rich Mexican coffees. Price: $150-$170 USD*
Your gift ship won’t be blown off course by giving a bottle of Ron Abuelo Centuria molasses rum from Panama. Earning 97 points from Wine Enthusiast, you’d be hard-pressed to find a smoother, more elegant rum. Incorporating rums as old as 30 years, this solera-blended juice is aged in ex-Jack-Daniels whiskey barrels. Stunningly dark-dark mahogany color, Centuria opens with intense toffee and vanilla aromas, followed by tobacco and leather notes and a hint of candied orange. The mouthfeel is viscous with a cream-like silkiness. The flavors are complex and bold, exploding with spice cake, honeyed leather, caramel, and hints of winter squash baked with brown sugar. The finish is warm and long, reminiscent of a summer Caribbean night. Price: $150-$180 USD*
Looking for something more medicinal for your Magi moment? Stolichnaya Elit is a Russian-Latvian ultra-luxe wheat vodka that received a 97 from the Beverage Institute and with good reason. Specially sourced Russian wheat combined with artesian water from Latvia creates a crystal-clean vodka of distinction. Out of the bottle, Elit’s aroma is clean and gentle, with notes of lemon zest, spring fields, and a hint of mown grass. A supple softness on the tongue leads to mild heat in the swallow. The finish brings hints of fresh cranberry, cinnamon, citrus, minerals, and white pepper. The overall experience is light and clean, making Elit the perfect freezer bottle for a crisp, neat nip. Price: $40-$60 USD*
If variety is your special someone’s spice, then consider the Bartesian Premium Cocktail and Margarita Machine. With over fifty restaurant-quality drink options, every night will be happy hour at home. Just fill the five glass dispensers with vodka, tequila, whiskey, gin, and rum, select one of the specially designed mixer capsules, and hit “Mix.” The capsules contain all the premium bitters, extracts, juice concentrates, and sodas that would otherwise need to be purchased, making the process easy and efficient. The machine tells you the glass style required for your drink and even lets you customize the pour strength from “mocktail” to mule-kick. It’s a slick bartender-in-a-box that makes tending bar as easy as making a cup of coffee. Price: $300-$370 USD*
These recommendations will make your loved ones sing your praises for months. And, of course, if you desperately need someone you can send gifts to, know that I’m always here to help!
*Prices in U.S. Dollars and vary by retailer.
Product photos are the property of the respective brands.