Below, you’ll find our picks for the best bottles of booze to give someone this holiday season. Whether they’re a fan of whisk(e)y, gin, rum, or something else, we’ve got you covered. The only thing left to do, then, is to decide what you’re getting for yourself.
Please note that prices may vary slightly depending on where you buy the products.
Old Forester Rye Whisky
One of the best-value rye whiskeys on the market, Old Forester Rye Whisky is made of 65% rye, 20% malted barley, and 15% corn, leading to rich floral notes blending with the typical rye spice characteristics.
Sagamore Spirit Cognac Finish Rye
Finished, as the name states, in Cognac barrels, this rye whiskey from Baltimore’s Sagamore Spirit is full of bold rye spices mixing with apple, pear, and brown sugar. The oak notes stick with you from beginning to end.
Sonoma County Distilling Black Truffle Rye
Sonoma County Distilling is known for doing things a little different – namely using direct fire to heat its still, but this new expression also falls into the “different” category. After distillation, their rye whiskey sits on Périgord truffles from France for a few months, adding an umami, earthy component to the spicy rye whiskey.
Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series 2019 Limited Release: Stave Profile RC6
The newest special edition from Maker’s Mark is a super limited release – only 255 barrels of the stuff were produced. The name of the stave refers to the proprietary wood stave inserted into the barrels. The staves work to bring out the fruitier notes of the whiskey and balance the spice characteristics.
Widow Jane The Vaults 14 year
The first in the company’s new “The Vaults” annual line of whiskeys that feature the oldest and rarest from the company, this is a 14-year and older Tennessee and Indiana bourbon drawn from 20 barrels hand-selected and blended. Look for tobacco, vanilla, brown sugar, and some menthol notes.
Bourbon Batch 2019-04 ‘Beaten Biscuits’
Named after the small, cracker-like biscuits Booker Noe used to make, the final release from Booker’s in 2019 is 6 years, 6 months, and 19 days old with oak on the nose with caramel sweetness and a hint of spice on the palate.
Jefferson’s Ocean Aged At Sea Cask Strength
By now, you’ve probably heard about Jefferson’s Ocean, a whiskey that crosses the equator multiple times as it sits on the deck of an OCEARCH ship. This is that same whiskey, but as cask strength.
George Dickel Bottled in Bond
This whiskey won Whiskey Advocate’s Whiskey of the Year 2019 for a reason. A 13-year-old Tennessee whiskey, it is 100 proof and costs a mere $36 bucks. Expect a mix of softness and intensity, with plenty of caramel apple, toffee, and dark chocolate flavors.
Single Malt Whisk(e)y and Scotch Whisky
Virginia Distillery Company Prelude: Courage & Conviction
Coming ahead of the launch of the distillery’s flagship American single malt whiskey, Courage & Conviction, early next year, Prelude is also a single malt and is made from 100% malted barley and aged a minimum of three years in Sherry, cuvée, and bourbon casks. Expect oak, fig, dried fruit, and caramel notes.
Cragganmore 12 Year Old
Distilled in 2006, this Speyside malt whisky is known for its particularly entrancing aromas above all. Both sweet and savory on the nose, you’ll find apple pie and leather in almost equal parts. The palate is slightly sweet with a little smokiness and with spice notes throughout.
Aberlour A’bunadh Alba
The first batch of this expression from Aberlour, A’bunadh Alba (a-boon-ack alba, if you were wondering how to say it) is a derivation from the Sherry cask aging that Aberlour is known for. Instead, this takes insapiration from American whiskeys with a decidedly more bourbon-like profile.
Tod & Vixen Gin
Created by master distiller Roselyn Thomson, star bartenders Jeffrey Morgenthaler and Leo Robitschek, and the late Gary “Gaz” Regan, Tod & Vixen Gin was designed to be a gin that could function as a base for a wide variety of cocktails – in other words, a bartender’s gin. You’ll find big juniper notes and a mix of the other seven botanicals, a variety of other bold flavors.
Benham’s Barrel Finished Gin
Finished in Zinfandel barrels, this gin is a bold option for those looking for Juniper flavors that are a little heavier. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom juxtapose the floral juniper and other citrus notes of the gin.
Copper & Kings American Craft Apple Brandy
A leading distillery when it comes to American brandy, this release from Copper & Kings is a solera-blended copper pot-distilled brandy matured in a 90-10 mix of bourbon barrels and new white oak with a medium char. Look for honey and toasted oak on top of cooked apple flavors on the palate.
Diplomático Planas Rum
While it is clear-ish in color, Planas is actually an aged sipping rum that has sat for anywhere between two and six years, which is then charcoal filtered to strip all of the color from the product (much like crystalino tequila). What you are left with is a clear rum that packs much of the flavor gained from time spent in a barrel.
Chairman’s Reserve The Forgotten Casks Rum
Named, as the story goes, because the casks were recently uncovered after being lost for a time due to being moved after a fire, this rum from Saint Lucia is a spicy spirit with hearty coffee and dry dark chocolate flavors. You’ll find more coffee, toffee, and some vanilla on the palate.
Made in Portland, Oregon to be an expression of the Pacific Northwest, Headwinds Vodka is crafted using grain spirit that is then filtered with pure Oregon water. Each bottle comes with a wooden wrap that is as different from the next bottle as snowflakes.
Cîroc White Grape
The newest limited edition release from French producer Cîroc, White Grape is the adult equivalent of Welch’s white grape juice that most people probably had at some point as children. Rich white grape flavors are enhanced with fresh floral notes and just enough sweetness for a smooth pour.
Nosotros Reposado Tequila
While most tequilas either come from the highlands or lowlands of the starte of Jalisco, Nosotros is a blend of both, offering up both the peppery notes of lowland agave with the sweeter, more tropical flavors of highland tequila.
Montelobos Tobala Mezcal
Made from Tobala agave (as opposed to Blue Weber, which must be used to make tequila), this release from Montelobos is rich in lemon and fresh green pepper on the nose, with more citrus, some nutty flavors, and truffle on the palate.
Apologue Saffron Spiced Liqueur
With the base of this liqueur being the world’s most expensive spice, saffron, this offering from Chicago’s Apologue is bright, fresh, citrusy, and spicy all at once thanks to the addition of ingredients like cardamom, coriander, lemongrass, and more.
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