If whiskey isn’t your thing or the thing of the guy you’re buying for, never fear, you’re in the right place. Check out our (non-whiskey) liquor lover’s gift guide for everything you need that isn’t, well, whiskey. Like gin? We’ve got you. Rum? Don’t you worry. Vodka? Oh, we’re there for you, too. (If you do like whiskey, we’ve got a whole guide just for you, too.)
(One thing is important to note: The prices listed reflect averages, as liquor purveyors around the country oftentimes charge very different prices.)
Copper & Kings Old Tom Gin – $40
A style of gin originally from 1800s England, Old Tom gins are seen as the middle ground between Genever and London Dry Gin. For their expression of the style, Copper & Kings takes a grape wine base as their eventual distillate to create a rich and smooth gin that has a hell of a body and that shines in a number of cocktails.
The Walter Collective Gin – $45
An attempt to blend the styles of dry gin and American-style gin, The Walter Collective has created a spirit that draws a nice line between the two. The Walter Collective achieves this by using Italian juniper, which provides a softer flavor, in addition to cassia, cardamom, and grapefruit. If nothing else, the bottle is perfect for anyone looking for something Gatsby-esque.
Bayou Select Rum – $30
Bayou Barrel Select is aged for at least three years in bourbon barrels using a solera system. With vanilla and cinnamon on the nose and a palate that will reveal caramel, oak, and maple, this rum is great for whiskey drinkers who are looking expand their knowledge of spirits.
Don Papa Rum – $35
A relative newcomer to the American market, Don Papa is a Philippine rum created by the Bleeding Heart Rum Company. Named after Papa Isio, who was instrumental in achieving Philippine independence, Don Papa is light and fruity with notes of vanilla and candied fruit on the end.
Viva XXXII Reposado Tequila – $41
This is for the tequila lover who also likes philanthropy. Ten-percent of sales of Viva XXXII tequila goes to organizations working to end animal cruelty. If that isn’t enough, the tequila has an earthy, grassy nose, with a smooth, floral body and a nice, lingering finish.
El Tesoro 80th Anniversary Tequila – $200
Only eight casks of this special edition tequila were made by Master Distiller Carlos Camarena to commemorate his family’s 80 years in the tequila-making business. Aged for eight years in ex-bourbon casks, this extra añejo tequila is agave-forward with a good amount of oak flavors.
Koskenkorva Vodka – $25
Hailing from Koskenkorva, Finland, this vodka only recently made it to our shores, even though the product itself has been made for almost six decades already. Made from locally-grown barley and pure spring water, the vodka (which is quite smooth) totes itself as “Vodka from a Village” because of the intense focus on creating a local product.
44 North Mountain Huckleberry Vodka – $32
Created by one of the lead distilleries in the American craft vodka movement, this flavored vodka uses huckleberries (native to the Pacific Northwest, where the distillery is located) to create a smooth, fruity vodka that is great mixed with soda or in a cocktail (it makes a killer home-made hard lemonade).
Italicus – $45
An Italian aperitivo based on a recipe from the 1800s, Italicus is made from a variety of ingredients (including lavender, chamomile, and gentian) and is meant to invoke the soul of Italy. Not only does the stuff on the inside taste great before a meal, but the bottle looks damn good on a shelf, too.
Frisco Brandy – $35
Made in San Francisco and inspired by pisco, Frisco Brandy is an unaged liquor made from (obviously) California grapes. What separates it from other similar products, too, is the charcoal mellowing that occurs after distillation. You’ll find floral notes mixing with tropical fruits in a spirit that is great for substituting in if you feel like you always make the same four or five drinks.
Giffard Caribbean Pineapple – $30
With a seven-year-old rum as a base, this bright liqueur uses both fresh and candied pineapple to create a smooth, buttery, round pineapple liqueur. Not only does it infuse cocktails with a light, fresh Caribbean feel, but it’s equally as good poured over pound cake or ice cream.
Rolling River Spirits Ole Bjørkevoll Aquavit – $59
Aquavits are traditional Scandinavian spirits (more on them here) that are typically made a grain or potato base and flavored with herbs and spices, namely caraway and dill. Ole Bjørkevoll is a savory, smooth aquavit that really allows the dill flavors to shine. Perfect for a few shots before, during, or after dinner.
Bitters and Tinctures
Scrappy’s Firewater Tincture – $21
This tincture is a scorcher. One or two drops will do you well, as they explode with habanero flavors and light up anything you add them too. Try mixing these with a fat-washed spirit (find out how to make your own here) for a meaty, spicy cocktail.
The Bitter End Thai Bitters – $25
Know someone that always suggests Thai food when it’s time to go out? These bitters are for them. A mix of mint, galangal, lemongrass and Makrut lime flavors, they’ll forget about pushing for Pad Thai in no time.
And if all this liquor gives you a hangover, shake it off with this morning-after drink: the Corpse Reviver.