Just in time for the holidays comes a slew of spirited books to gift yourself or someone special!  

518RYPNaopL._AA160_Tujague’s Cookbook by Poppy Tooker (Pelican)  New Orleans is arguably ground zero for the American pastime known as cocktailing.  Tujague’s (located in the French Quarter) has been serving these libations from behind their vintage bar since 1856.  In fact, one of the owners is credited with inventing The Grasshopper Cocktail in 1918.  They still serve it there today.  A handful of other timeless recipes are included, but the real meat of the book are the food recipes.  You have to remember that in the 1800’s drinking was something that the elite started at breakfast and continued until well after dinner.  With all of that booze, you needed to be well fed to remain somewhat cognizant.  The collection of recipes spans the last 150 years and are well presented by NOLA radio personality Poppy Tooker who adds her own southern spin on things.  There is also a chapter devoted to spirits of another kind.  Tujague’s is noted for several ghosts which inhabit the building.  There is even a ghost story which took place earlier this year.  GSN Rating: B+

51gOBuHir9L._AA160_Gone With The Gin by Tim Federle (Running Press) If you’re into puns, cocktails and film, this book is for you.  A collection of easy to replicate drinks to enjoy while watching a classic film, the recipes include “A Sidecar Named Desire”, The 7 & 7 Year Itch”, “Little Schnapps of Horrors”, and the title.  50 flicks are represented, plus a handful of recipes for edibles (“The Silence of the Lamb Burgers” sounds particularly cannibalistic).  Drinks are represented by black and white illustrations which add a retro sensibility.  Recommended for beginners and film buffs.  GSN Rating: C+

41wgm8Exg-L._AA160_Gin: The Manual by Dave Broom (Octopus) Author Broom has come up with another volume to match his Whiskey: The Manual using the same formula.  A short introduction to the history of manufacture of gin, a few bits on flavor profiles, mixers and criteria for tasting and a score of classic gin-based cocktail recipes.  The main section deals with a broad overview of brands available today and how they are best utilized in four drinks: G&T, Negroni, Martini and with something called Sicilian Lemonade.  This is a mixer crafted by Fever-Tree and may be tricky to track down depending on where you live.  Overall, the reading is upbeat, breezy and fun and will make for several weeks of recreating at home.  GSN Rating: A-

51CoPxuBkfL._AA160_Good Things to Drink With Mr. Lyan and Friends by Ryan Chetiyawardana (Frances Lincoln Limited) Basically a collection of original recipes by the owner of world-class bars White Lyan and Dandelyan, author Chetiyawardana shares the techniques and reasoning behind very up-to-date and creative cocktails.  Many of these require a bit more work in the kitchen or bar to replicate, calling for bespoke ingredients or house made infusions and such.  But, all that being taken into account, this is a beautiful book full of color and luscious libations.  In a  very real sense, you will come away with an appreciation of how cocktails can be an important part of the joy of being human.  They are meant to be celebrated in the same way that life’s little moments are special.  There is joy in these pages and it comes across loud and clear.  GSN Rating: A

51rzd9HQJNL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_To Have And Have Another – A Hemingway Cocktail Companion (Revised & Expanded) by Philip Greene (Perigee)  One thing is for certain.  The life of Ernest Hemingway and drinking are inextricable.  Perhaps one of the hardest drinking and life loving writers to ever grace the printed page, Hemingway is a fascinating character who not only created a few killer cocktails, but also seemed to have some success with his writing.  Seriously though, if anyone is qualified to write about both cocktails and Hemingway, it is Philip Greene.  Co-Founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, Greene has a compassionate and passionate love for Papa H.  This revised edition of his 2012 version includes almost three dozen new cocktail recipes, seven new chapters and a collection of new photographs.  Even if you own the original edition, this one is necessary reading.  GSN Rating: A+

51lURSPTYbL._AA160_Experimental Cocktail Club by (Octopus Books) The latest trend in cocktail guides seems to be those published by working bars.  This generally gives the reader a good indication of the ideology of the bar owner’s vision.  With the Experimental Cocktail Club book, we are given insights into seven working bars around the world including London, Paris, New York and Ibiza.  Tasty and extremely creative drinks grace over 200 full-color pages of recipes with notes.  The recipes are fairly straightforward (no molecular mixology here), but sourcing some of the spirits, liqueurs and amaros may prove to be difficult for the home enthusiast.  Of particular note is a chapter devoted to vintage cocktails, that is libations crafted from vintage bottles of spirits.  Of course with things like these, when the bottle is empty, that’s that.  Brief introductions about each of the bars head each chapter giving the reader a sense of place.  GSN Rating: B+

51wO7IfYA7L._AA160_Branca: A Spirited Italian Icon edited by Niccolo Branca Di Romanico (Rizzoli) Fernet Branca is one of those love it/hate it flavors that divide casual drinkers from connoisseurs.  Regardless of where you fall, this book is a love letter to all things Branca, and not just Fernet.  The company has been in existence for 170 years, crafts and/or owns many of the iconic brands used in world-class bars.  Antica Formula, Punt e Mes, Carpano Classico and Caffe Borghetti are only half of the portfolio represented today.  This book gives a wide overview of the company, its many retired brands, advertising posters and labels from the 19th to 21st centuries, and a handful of cocktails that call for these spirits.  As an added bonus, there is a poster and several paper bottle labels to display if desired.  More than just a coffee table book, this is a volume of history and Italian iconography.  GSN Rating: A-

51VN+GRC7-L._AA160_The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil (Workman) The way Karen MacNeil describes wine is almost biographical.  There is life, vivaciousness, and a familial tone to her words crafted as an ode to this venerable beverage.  The book itself looks imposing at nearly 1,000 pages, and yet it all is put in easy to understand sound bites.  Wines are broken into countries, regions and styles.  What MacNeil does that takes this book to the next level is the inclusion of wines outside the typical boundaries of France, Italy, South America, California and Australia.  These are the wines that are constantly pushed on the consumer.  But, the rare gems are those from countries like China and Greece, or states like Texas and Virginia.  If you only buy one wine book for yourself this year, this is the one to get.  GSN Rating: A+

51fOzyoFyKL._AA160_Medieval Cooking in Today’s Kitchen by Greg Jenkins (Schiffer) I’m sure you’re wondering why a book on medieval cooking is included in this roundup.  Well, the answer is fairly simple.  There are ten recipes included for period beverages that were in their day, very much akin to today’s cocktails.  In fact, a few of them are still made today in similar form.  Flip, Bounce and Shrub being just a few.  The recipes are easy to recreate (even Cock Ale which calls for a roasted Capon), and quite tasty.  As with classic cocktails, there is a reason why many of these are still popular today, albeit on a much smaller scale.  They have flavor, balance and cheer the soul.  Now, that you’ve got a medieval beverage under your belt, you can try one of the many food recipes which are also redacted for the modern cook and easy to prepare.  If you’re looking for a novel or unique way to celebrate Christmas or New Year’s Eve, this book will provide you with plenty of food and drink ideas.  GSN Rating: B+

downloadDowningtown, Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing Company is bringing back three of its early popular beers to celebrate its nearly 20 years of brewing. The former releases will be available on draft, beginning this month with Hop Wallop, followed by Yakima Glory in December and Ten Years Alt in January. Hop Wallop Imperial IPA (8.5% abv) first debuted in 2003 and features whole flower English and American hops, while Yakima Glory (8.7% abv) first launched in 2008 and is brewed with four American hop varieties from the Yakima Valley. Ten Years Alt (8.5% abv) marked Victory’s 10th anniversary in 2006. All three brews will be distributed nationwide.

download (1)St. Louis-based Schlafly Beer is launching a White Lager, available now through March. The unfiltered German-style beer is 5.5% abv and intended to serve as an alternative to high-alcohol winter seasonals such as stouts and porters. White Lager was developed as part of Schlafly’s experimental Small Brews program created on its 12-gallon brewing system. White Lager is launching in six-packs for about $8.99 and at select on-premise locations throughout Schlafly’s distribution footprint. The company says it brewed 60,000 barrels of beer last year between its two brewery restaurants, located in downtown St. Louis and nearby Maplewood respectively.

download (2)Irvine, California’s Evans Brewing Company is debuting four new bottled beers that will make up its core year-round lineup. The company’s first four packaged beers are Pollen Nation Honey Blonde Ale (5.2% abv), The KrHOPen India Pale Ale (6% abv), Oaklore Brown Ale (6.5% abv) and ChocoLatté Chocolate Porter (6.8% abv). Evans says it expects to release further year-round packaged beers and a rotating portfolio of seasonal releases in the future.

DxXFKAcVPd2p7rNkK-hv7VBq3PPLwYWPRznc_UxBlHwThe Bronx Brewery has unveiled On The Black Pale Ale, the latest entry in its limited edition B-Side Series range. Brewed with a trio of malts and West Coast El Dorado and Citra hops, On The Black (5.7% abv) is unfiltered and unpasteurized, and will be available on draft at select accounts throughout New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York’s Westchester County. A portion of the brew has been reserved for aging in Mezcal barrels, with the aged version set to launch in early 2016. On The Black is The Bronx Brewery’s second B-Side expression, following its El Serrano Red IPA in September.

download (4)Half Moon Bay, California-based Mavericks Brewing is adding two new craft beers to its lineup this month—Big Break Belgian Golden Strong Ale and Coastside Pilsner. The new offerings join Tunnel Vision IPA, Belgian Style Wit and Rye Pale Ale in the brewer’s portfolio. Big Break (8.3% abv) is brewed with Pilsner malt and a small amount of wheat with European hops added, while Coastside (5.5% abv) is brewed with American 2-Row and German Pilsner malt with German and American hops and California lager yeast. Both new beers are available on draft and in four-packs of 16-ounce cans throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California.

download (5)Portland, Maine’s Peak Organic Brewing Company is rolling out its Winter Session IPA, a dry-hopped dark wheat ale blended with Citra hops. The company sourced its wheat from local farms and used organic hops in the brewing process. Winter Session Ale will be available nationwide on draft and in package format through January 15. Peak Organic brews 24 varieties of beer, including an IPA, Fresh Cut, Summer Session, Simcoe Spring and Hop Harvest Oktoberfest, among others.

imagesEscondido, California’s Stone Brewing Company has released Grainiac, the latest entry in its experimental Stochasticity Project series. Featuring a malt bill composed of seven grain varieties, Grainiac also includes Columbus, Chinook, Centennial and Cascade hops. Stochasticity Project Grainiac (8.5% abv) is available in 22-ounce bombers and on draft at select retailers in Stone’s 42-state footprint. It joins previous Stochasticity Project releases including Master of Disguise, Hibiscuscity, Quadrotriticale, Varna Necropolis and Grapefruit Slam IPA.

download (7)Seattle-based specialty beer importer Merchant du Vin will introduce two new lambics under the Lindemans brand early next year. The first, Lindemans Oude Kriek Cuvée René (7% abv), is billed as an old-style lambic sour beer fermented with cherries. The second newcomer is Lindemans/Mikkeller SpontanBasil, a collaboration between Lindemans and Danish brewer Mikkeller which is 6% abv and claims to be the first lambic brewed with fresh basil. Both new offerings will launch in the U.S. next February.

download (6)San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing Company has unveiled Segal Ranch Session IPA, the final entry in its 2015 Hop Odyssey series. The 4.5%-abv IPA, which is brewed with single-estate Tomahawk, Centennial and Cascade hops sourced from Yakima, Washington’s Segal Ranch, will be available nationwide in six-packs, 22-ounce bottles and on draft through the end of the year. Concurrently, Green Flash has announced plans to launch three pale ales as part of its 2016 Hop Odyssey lineup, each focusing on a single hop variety from a specific country. They will include a Pacific Gem Pale Ale with New Zealand hops (available January-April); a Styrian Golding Pale Ale with Slovenian hops (May-August); and a Nugget Pale Ale with American hops (September-December).

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily


BG-Reynolds-MixersBlair Reynolds is one of the West Coast’s most passionate and innovative mixologists. While many bars across the country are now starting “Tiki takeover nights” for the summer months ahead, he’s been doing it in Portland, Ore. for years. As owner of the popular Tiki-themed restaurant and bar Hale Pele, Reynolds is dedicated to sharing his love of sophisticated and delicious tropical drinks by developing high-quality products to support others who may not be as familiar with the classic ingredients.

His latest creations are a new line of cocktail mixers for the at-home and professional bartender. Each bottle is authentically crafted with fresh, all-natural ingredients in small batches using original techniques and deep admiration for true Tiki culture. The new Tropical Cocktail Mixers are available in 750 ml bottles for $15.99 and include Mai Tai, Jet Pilot and Zombie Punch and are made in small batches in Portland, Ore. The mixers make delicious tropical cocktails with aged rum or mixed with soda water for a refreshing non-alcoholic option.

Mai Tai – The Mai Tai mixer is very much lime forward, followed by orgeat and a slight hint of orange.  The recipe calls for 3 oz of mixer and only 1.5 oz of rum.  Personally, I think the recipe should be equal parts to not only boost the alcohol content, but also to balance out the intense sour acidity of the mixer.  Overall, the flavor is quite good, but nothing can beat a fresh made one using two different styles of rum and a true Curacao.  GSN Rating: B

Jet Pilot – The flavor here is quite balanced and tasty.  Interestingly, there is a hint of anise which makes up for the lack of Pernod or absinthe that the recipe calls for.  Again tho’, the bottle instructions call for 3 oz of mixer and only half as much rum.  To really shine, this needs an ounce of dark and gold rums, and a half ounce of a 151 rum.  If you cut back the mixer to just two ounces, and add the rums, then this really comes close to an authentic jet Pilot.  GSN Rating: A

Zombie Punch – Oddly enough, the flavor is very subdued here, the main characteristic being a kind of clove simple syrup.  The palate is entirely mid-range and doesn’t sparkle. For a killer Zombie, you need a total of four ounces(!) of three different rums.  1.5 each of gold and dark, then another whole ounce of 151 proof. The balance should be 2 ounces of mixer with a lot of crushed ice.  But, again, the directions on the bottle call for a very unbalanced and wimpy 3 ounces of mixer to only 1.5 pounces of a overproof rum.  GSN Rating: B-

These mixers are great for people who don’t have 1) the money to buy several rums and 2) the money to buy citrus, orgeat, cinnamon syrup, etc…  In a pinch they will do, and probably unless the person is a tiki cocktail enthusiast (like me), they will never know the difference.  But, the rum is key and utilizing a variety of styles in each drink is what made these drinks so successful when they debuted in the 20th century.  If you do anything, at least pour equal parts rum and mixer to achieve a more balanced cocktail.

For more information go to: BG Reynolds

prometheus-26-year-old-speyside-single-malt-scotch-whisky-4_1Prometheus 26 Year Old Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a unique effort spearheaded by Bespoke Spirits and the Glasgow Distillery Co. The idea for Prometheus was born when Glasgow CEO Liam Hughes chanced upon a batch of whisky combining the smoky influence of peated barley with the zesty and floral notes typical of Speyside. Hughes decided to bottle the whisky but keep its origins a secret. We do know, however, that the amazing whisky is a reborn single malt, aged 26 years and finished in hand-crafted sherry casks (it’s rumored the whisky comes from Macallan… but you didn’t hear it from us!).

Prometheus 26 Year Old (94 proof)
Visual: Medium pale gold.
Nose: Cocoa powder, barley malt, green apple, red raspberry, ancient dried rose petals, new cut cedar.
Taste: Scrumptious.  Lovely self-assured entry with a lot of sherry to cross fade with the hearty ex-bourbon cask aging.  Fruity, floral and upbeat.  A fine whisky to sip with soft cheeses and apple slices. Yet, you probably won’t, since this retails for $950 a bottle.  A shame.
Finish: Very long with warming, sherry coloration still pursuing your taste buds.
Overall: A truly fine whisky that I would hate to see kept purely as an investment.  This level of quality deserves to be enjoyed.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Glasgow Distillery



We here at the GSN offices are given the opportunity to taste a rare spirit every so often.  The Last Drop is one of those that most people will never get the chance to try.  So, with that being said, here is our review of this $4,000 whisky.

The youngest of the malts and grains was distilled in 1965, and many are far older. Indeed, several of the distilleries represented here have long since closed forever, making this a truly rare Scotch whisky – the like of which you may never taste again. Twenty-seven years ago, a small volume of the original blend was selected by the Chief Blender to be refilled into fresh ex-Bourbon American oak casks for further ageing. Since then, this small batch has been slowly maturing in one of the oldest traditional warehouses in the Highlands of Scotland.   Only 592 bottles exist. Each has been wax-dipped by hand, and presented in a signature Last Drop Distillers leather case. Each case includes a 50ml miniature as well as a leather-bound booklet that certifies your bottle and leaves room for personal tasting notes.

The Last Drop 48 Year Old (97.2 proof)
Visual: Sunny yellow.
Nose: High, crisp wood grain notes with a more subtle back palate of browned butter.
Taste: The entry point is quietly reserved, but this quickly leads into a more aggressive and heady mix of tanned leather, bittersweet chocolate, scorched vanilla bean, young banana and adzuki bean paste.  Really quite a smorgasbord of flavors.
Finish: Medium long, with more mid-range tones taking a slow fade.  Warm autumnal essences of slumbering forest.
Overall: A surprisingly variegated whisky that doesn’t necessarily feel like its overstayed its welcome in the barrel.  This is like a long-lost friend suddenly stopping by for a visit out of the blue.  Time to relax and catch up with one another.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Last Drop Distillers

rsz_img_9893In honor of National Espresso Day, I was challenged to create an original and unique cocktail using Caffe Borghetti Espresso Liqueur.  Everyone who has tried this (even those who don’t like coffee drinks) has said it is absolutely delicious.  Celebrate with one today!

Roman Holiday
1 oz Caffe Borghetti Espresso Liqueur
0.75 oz 100 proof rye (I used James E. Pepper 1776)
0.5 oz fresh squeezed Meyer Lemon juice (if using regular lemons, adjust simple syrup to 1/2 ounce)
0.25 oz simple syrup
Rinse cocktail glass with absinthe and discard excess. Add all other ingredients to an ice-filled shaker and shake well. Strain into rinsed cocktail glass.

Garnish with a Meyer Lemon twist if desired.

The GSN offices are proud to present a curated selection of gift items for discerning drinkers.  

There’s something for everyone’s holiday budget here!

Under $20

cc4ddd683e30b6056c048807e9e36787Looking to make your holiday season a little greener by giving earth-friendly gifts that are both practical and stylish? Bottles & Wood, a trend-setting eco-design company headquartered in San Diego, has a creative selection of sustainably chic gift ideas that are sure to be the talk of every holiday party. Using locally-sourced materials, Bottles & Wood’s handcrafted, repurposed jewelry, serveware and home décor make the perfect gift for everyone on your list during the holidays and all year round. “The holidays are all about giving and our team has been hard at work creating one-of-a-kind pieces that also give back,” said Bottles & Wood CEO Steve Cherry. “All of our products are made from reclaimed wood and glass and do more than just look fashionable and on trend; they keep discarded items such as wine and beer bottles out of landfills and give them a second life.”  (Prices range from $7.50 and up)

Segura Viudas Brut, an artisanal Cava from the renowned Ferrer family of Spain is the go-to wine for celebrating with friends and family. Known for its high quality at an affordable price ($10), Segura Viudas Brut makes celebrating the holidays easy as (pumpkin) pie. Plus, it’s hardly a celebration without some bubbly! Incredibly versatile with foods, Segura Viudas will impress your foodie friends at the table from the first course to dessert! Segura Viudas is your answer to a million types of dishes on the table it pairs with it ALL!

Maison Louis Jadot: Beaujolais-Villages 2013v (SRP $13.99) Pair your turkey or cheese course with Louis Jadot Beaujolais- Villages. It is made from the Gamay grape—crisp, fruit-forward, juicy wine that has expressive aromas and flavors of ripe, red berries, with nice weight in the mouth. This wine is best served slightly chilled and can be paired with a main course of turkey and mashed potatoes, or the cheese course.

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum is commemorating the holidays its own way – by celebrating the rebellious and making gifts you’ll be proud to give those who live life outside the lines. Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins, for whom the rum was inspired, was an American tattoo legend with an unapologetic attitude- in other words, a total bad ass. Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum wants commemorate his spirit for the holidays by providing the ultimate gift package for all the bad ass people in your life. The best part? No wrapping necessary. Each bottle of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum comes packed with a limited edition poster featuring an iconic Norman Collins pin-up. Pick one up at your local liquor retailer for ($15.99).

Embellished with festive gold text, The Chandon Limited Edition bottle ($20) is a perfect host gift and affordable way to send your “Bestie Wishes” this season.

Under $40

a82944d1b2f62030d506624978469109Gamay – Pinot Noir’s Lesser Known Sibling: Pinot Noir and Syrah tend to be the usual suspects when it comes to picking a wine to pair with multi-course holiday meals or holiday nibbles. This season, reach for something a little different, delicious and utterly versatile – Beaujolais Crus. Made from 100% Gamay, both Jean Ernst Descombes Morgon and Chateau Des Capitans Julienas from George Duboeuf are the perfect antidote to Pinot fatigue (both $20.99). Bright, luscious, and fruit-forward with lovely complexity, these delightfully drinkable wines are a match for everything from cheese and paté to rabbit and braised pork – and light enough to sip alone.

THE WINE BIBLE (Workman; October 2015), by “America’s Missionary of the Vine” (TIME) and James Beard Award winner Karen MacNeil. Whether you’re hosting a party, going to one and not sure what bottle to bring, or looking for the perfect gift for any wine lover in your life, THE WINE BIBLE is here to help! Filled with extensive tried and true food pairings, tips on how to choose great glassware at any price point, and fun explorations of topics such as why champagne has bubbles, the options are endless. Long thought of as the most compelling, entertaining, and comprehensive book on wine, MacNeil traveled the globe for the revision, tasting over 10,000 wines in 5 years. Transporting you from the cool, forbidding landscape of China’s Sichuan Province to the warm shores of the Sicilian Mediterranean, MacNeil delves into the history, food, wines and wineries of each region. ($24.95 paperback, $39.95 hardcover)

In his gorgeous new book, Tasting Wine and Cheese, maitre d ‘Fromage Adam Centamore teaches readers how to first taste wines and cheeses separately, helping everyone to understand the complex profiles of reds, whites, aged, and fresh. But wading through these waters is only half the battle. Tasting Wine and Cheese takes readers on a journey through pairings of cheeses with white, red, sparkling, and dessert wines. There is even a section to help readers pair condiments with their wine and cheese. Whether readers are looking to broaden their appreciation for gourmet combinations or simply looking for a menu to host a party, everyone will find everything they need in this comprehensive, must-have guide. ($24.99)

With the 2015 holiday season at our doorstep, wine lovers are turning to the Original Wine of the Month Club® for their holiday gift giving ideas—from gift baskets with a fine selection of delectable treats to gift-giving wine club memberships. Original Wine of the Month Club®’s unique, hand-picked selections of robust and flavorful wines are paired with savory gourmet snacks and sinfully sweet accoutrements to create the ultimate holiday gift-giving experience. With convenient online ordering, free shipping and gift-giving ideas starting at ($24.99), holiday shoppers are only a click or call away from the perfect gift for family members, friends and clients.

Maison Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuisse (SRP $27.99) Another option for appetizers or first course would be to pour an aromatic medium-bodied wine like Louis Jadot’s Pouilly-Fuisse and pair with salad and a classic French appetizer called cake salé, a crumbly cake flavored with ham and olives. The aromas and flavors of toasted nuts and citrus will balance the savory flavors of the dish.

Cruzan Single Barrel is one of Cruzan’s most awarded rums. The spirit is a well-rounded, mellow and full-bodied rum with a smooth finish whose distinctive taste is best enjoyed when sipped neat or on the rocks. At a price point of ($29.99) for a 750ml bottle, Cruzan Single Barrel makes for an affordable, yet premium option for the holidays. The term “single barrel” refers to the fact that after its initial aging, the rum is handpicked and blended before it is barreled for a second time in new American oak barrels and slowly aged again to perfection.

Campari®, the legendary one-of-a-kind red spirit, today announced the U.S. launch of limited edition art labels for 2015, featuring a sketch by Futurist artist Fortunato Depero reimagined with the use of contemporary colors.  The trio of limited edition labels reinterpret a sketch of a Campari pavilion designed by Depero in 1933 for an international exposition held in Milan. The three collectible labels arrive just in time for the holiday season and will grace 750 ml bottles at retail stores across the United States beginning in November. ($34.95)

Punch it Up! If you’re looking for something with a little more kick to serve your guests as they arrive, try handcrafted, grape-based Peruvian Pisco from Campo de Encanto Pisco ($39.99) made by a San Francisco bartender, a sommelier and an award-winning distiller. Pair it with the brand’s own Original Bank Exchange Pineapple Cordial ($14.99) and you’ve got a delicious Pisco Punch made with all natural ingredients that’s a breeze to mix up.

There’s no better way to ring in the season and the cold weather than with silky smooth Baker’s® Bourbon, an Ultra-Premium bourbon that is rich in history and flavor, great for sipping after a holiday dinner or at your next cocktail party, or as gifts for the bourbon aficionado in your life. Aged for seven years in new oak barrels with warm vanilla and caramel overtones and a sweet yet smooth finish, reminiscent of cognac, Baker’s is best enjoyed over ice or with a splash of water, and also pairs well with your favorite cigar. ($39.99)
Just in time for the holidays, Speyburn has released Arranta Casks, a distinctly spicy single malt scotch for the whisky lover on your gift list. Arranta—meaning “bold, daring and intrepid” in Gaelic—gets its exclusive, complex flavor profile from the use of first-fill America Oak ex-bourbon casks. The character of the hand-selected air-dried wood, imparts notes of toffee, coconut and spice on the whisky. With an SRP of ($40), this spirited gift is sure to impress any scotch connoisseur this season.

Party to go! A great alternative to brown spirits and the perfect hostess gift for the conscientious drinker in your life. The Spirit Works Tasting Experience Pack lets you sample the premium grain-to-glass spirits that put Northern-California based Spirit Works Distillery on the map as a craft distiller. Each gift pack includes a 200ml bottle each of Vodka, Gin, and Sloe Gin. ($40)

Under $60

The Homemade Gin Kit gives alcohol enthusiasts a safe and legal way to make gin at home in 36 hours — no bathtub needed! Gin Kits come with two 375-ml glass bottles, tins of “gin-gredients” (juniper berries and special botanical blend), custom stainless steel funnel and strainer, and instructions. Available in retail stores nationwide and internationally — including Williams-Sonoma and Barnes & Noble. ($49.95) Additional gin blends are available including Smoky, Spiced, Hooped Grapefruit and Barrel-Aged.

A quirky and stylish gift, the Clicquot En Route Limited Edition Mailbox ($50), cases a 750 ml bottle of Veuve Clicquot, and displays the winning design from Veuve Clicquot’s 2014 Re-Creation Competition.

The holidays will be here before we all know it, and to mark that festive time of year, San Francisco’s celebrated Anchor Distilling Company and Anchor Brewing have teamed up for the third time to release their Christmas Spirit, available November 30 until December 31, 2015. The Christmas Spirit is a merry result of distilling Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale, a rich and dark-spiced ale from the previous year, into a smooth, winter-spiced, white spirit that’s ideal for mixing in holiday cocktails and punches. The secret recipe for Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale, available from mid-November to mid-January, changes annually, resulting in a uniquely distinctive Christmas Spirit, which is signified by the different hand-drawn tree on the label each year. ($54.99)

Champagne Taittinger Brut La Française (SRP $59.99) Splurge on the bubbly and welcome your guests with Champagne Taittinger Brut La Française. This beautiful pale gold and subtle wine pairs with oysters or foie gras, French staples during the holidays. The wine is delicate, with aromas of peach, white flowers, vanilla pod, and brioche on the nose and flavors of fresh fruit and honey on the palate, which will complement the hors d’oeurves.

Under $80

download (12)Few Spirits is a true grain-to-glass distillery in Evanston, Ill., just outside Chicago, distilling a wide variety of whiskey, gin and other spirits from grains grown within 100 miles of the distillery. Everything is fermented, distilled, aged and bottled in-house; no sourced anything here! Our main products are: Few American Gin, Few Standard Issue Gin, Few Barrel Gin, Few Bourbon Whiskey, Few Rye Whiskey, Few Single Malt Whisky,  and Few Anguish & Regret, our special twist on Chicago favorite malört. This spirit is an 80-proof infusion of a house-made ras al hanout Moroccan spice blend with an earthy, floral bitterness that’s great in a variety of cocktails. (It’s something like Chartreuse but without any sugar.) ($60 – $80)

Grain-to-glass craft spirits pioneer Spirit Works Distillery has been waiting patiently to announce the release of their highly anticipated first whiskeys. As of this month, visitors to their Sebastopol, CA tasting room will get a first sip of both their Straight Wheat Whiskey and Straight Rye Whiskey. Beginning December 1, these much-anticipated, grain-to-bass whiskies will be on store shelves and back bars throughout California and select states just in time for holiday imbibing. Spirit Works Straight Wheat Whiskey is made from 100% organic Red Winter Wheat that results in a rich, caramelized-sugar palate rounded out with delicate notes of sweet tea and toasted walnut, finishing with graham crackers and subtle smoke. The Straight Rye Whiskey is a true small-batch, high-rye whiskey. Rugged and robust, the rye rewards the discerning drinker with notes of bright baked apple, coffee and sweet golden honeycomb with a warm spice finish. Both whiskies are bottled at 45% ABV / 90 Proof and have a SRP of ($65).

If you’re a big fan of themed and collectible wines, look for clubs that offer special limited-edition themed wines each month with your subscription. A wine club like the recently introduced TCM Wine Club from Turner Classic Movies would be perfect for this wine club seeker. The club introduces movie-themed wines from classic TCM films each month in addition to wines from around the world. ($79.99)

Over $100

e6d80872ffe7f60c679d09fdd66e830eA Christmas idea to help the unemployeds who are willing to gain experience and professionalism in the field of traditional craftmanship in Piedmont region. The SoloPerGian grappa, produced by Distillerie Berta, takes its name by the namesake non-profit foundation born in 2015 and named after Gianfranco Berta, co-owner of the company, who passed away recently. The proceeds of the sale of each bottle, will be used to support the projects hold by the organization: among its main goals is the support of the craftsmen and the unemployeds who are willing to improve their abilities or learn a craft. This means that courses and scholarships will be supported in order to safeguard arts&crafts bond to the farming world as well as the local products, with the goal of contributing to the rural development of the Asti territory and preserve its traditional jobs. SoloPerGian is a blend of the three flagship grappas Tre Soli Tre (grappa di Nebbiolo), Roccanivo (Barbera) e Bric del Gaian (Moscato). This unique distillate is aged for 8 years in 1000 litres tonneau and then for 2 years in small barrels. ($125.00)

Basil Hayden’s®, a super-premium bourbon, and Quoddy®, the Maine-based footwear brand with a century-old family tradition of shoemaking, have come together to create 100 limited edition gift sets for the upcoming holiday season, perfect for bourbon fans who appreciate handcrafted, American-made finds. The Basil Hayden’s + Quoddy limited edition gift set brings to life what each brand is known for: American craftsmanship and style. Each gift set will feature four leather wrapped rocks glasses, artfully packaged in a hand stitched leather gift box. A pair of custom, made-to-order co-branded Basil Hayden’s + Quoddy shoes will accompany each gift set, giving bourbon fans the opportunity to don their “drinking shoes” as they sip Basil Hayden’s Bourbon. The co-branded gift sets will be exclusively available for purchase at the Basil Hayden’s Bourbon Holiday Shop beginning November 1, and will retail for ($399.98).

This year, Moët has released a limited edition artistic collaboration with world-renowned designer Marcelo Burlon.  The Moët & Chandon Nectar Rosé Marcelo Burlon bottles are exquisitely embellished with exotic tiger print and Burlon’s futuristic touch.  Available in Copper, Gold, and White. ($59.99, $179.99, $499.99)

For a lavish holiday party, the unique Dom Pérignon 3 Pack ($500) comes complete with a stylish ice bucket and 3 bottles of “The King of Champagne” to ensure that the bubbly is flowing all night.

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