Time for our first annual round-up of the best gifts you can give your spirited friends and family this holiday season! Cheers!
Caffe Borghetti If I weren’t already a french-press coffee drinker, I’d switch to Caffe Borghetti every morning. This is like fresh brewed boozy espresso. Highly recommended!
Kringle Cream Liqueur Kringle has a dairy-fresh flavor that takes me back to childhood. Like a butterscotch and maple cream flavored dessert. I’d gladly drink this over eating a Danish, any day.
Four Roses 125th Anniversary Bourbon This is a world-class bourbon that exemplifies the art of distilling and blending. Well worth seeking out to “cellar”. Kudos to Master Distiller Jim Rutledge for this engaging beauty!
Old English Gin Really well done and a testament to the historical recipes of the 1700’s. It’s no wonder that Britains went mad for this style of gin.
The BenRiach Authenticus 25 Year Old Peated Single Malt Sweet, smokey, salty, tannic, grainy, malty, saline, spiced and fruity. Yet throughout all of this, there is a total cohesiveness. A killer whisky that defies tradition.
Baker’s Bourbon This is like pure bourbon candy. I’ve been sipping it for a few weeks every now and then, and I am still impressed.
Tres Agaves Silver Tequila Summer in a glass. This is the kind of tequila you want to take home and introduce to your mother.
Redbreast 21-Year-Old Whiskey They’ve done it again. The Midleton Distillers have set the bar for Irish whiskies beyond anything else on the market. Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that it retails for $200+ a bottle, I would gladly make this my daily nightcap.
Rhum Clement Select Barrel So good, you’ll be saddened when the bottle is empty. Absolutely one of the finest rhums I’ve ever had.
Citadelle Reserve Solera 2013 Gin The mouthfeel is amazing and there is a lot of body to this gin that is unlike either the Plymouth style or Dutch genever. Just outstanding. This will make any cocktail wake up!
Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur One of the best liqueurs I’ve had in a while. Not only does it taste homemade, but it has a tropical/Asian sensibility that makes it indispensable for use in tropical based cocktails.
Selvarey Cacao Rum Many flavored rums tend to extremes. This one in no way can be improved upon. A true artisanal rum that everyone should try at least once in their life.
Ilegal Mezcal This is a lovely mezcal that excels at everything. Flavor, balance, distillation, mouthfeel, you name it. Mezcal lovers seek this one out!
Kavalan Solist Ex-Bourbon Single Cask Strength Whisky Wow. Just killer. One of the finest bourbon barrel-aged whiskies I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking.
Kavalan Solist Vinho Cask Strength Whisky A killer whisky that shouldn’t work as well as it does. I was amazed from the get-go at how well the flavor of the wine meshes with whisky.
Partida Anejo Tequila Absolutely beautiful. An amazing tequila that will enhance a traditional Mexican meal. If I had to choose a tequila to celebrate the spirit of Mexican distillation, this would be it.
The Hakashu Single Malt Heavily Peated Whiskey Possibly the finest Japanese peated whisky on the planet. If you can find a bottle, buy it immediately and only share with your closest friends and loved ones.
Basil Hayden’s Bourbon My current favorite bourbon for sipping straight, this also is absolutely amazing in Manhattans, Sazeracs and even Old Fashioneds.
Anchor Old Tom Gin This gin is everything is should be and nothing it shouldn’t be. Fantastic in a simple highball, but also with enough depth of character to shine in complex gin based cocktails.
Auchentoshan American Oak Whisky This is a spirit to convert non-Scotch lovers to the wonderful world of Scotch. If you are already a Scotchophile, this is one to keep within hand’s reach when arriving home after a bitterly cold winter’s day.
Awestruck Lavender Hops Cider Each sip surprises the palate and engages the mind to really reflect on what you’re drinking. Very clever, creative and a real winner among ciders!
Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean by Jeff Berry (Cocktail Kingdom) Literally every page is dripping with amazing discoveries, photographs and recipes that you will find it hard to put down. It’s almost as if you are watching the history of what are collectively known as “tiki drinks” unfold in a “Mad Men” type way.
The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level by Dinah Sanders (Sanders & Gratz) Where has this book been all my life? For those of us who love to sample as many cocktails as we can when visiting a new bar, unfortunately there comes a point where the alcohol wins.
The Bar Book by Jeffrey Morgenthaler (Chronicle Books) You may want to invest in some quality bottles if you really get serious, but it’s also just plain fun to realize that cocktails can be more than the sum of store-bought ingredients. Cocktails ultimately can be infused with a part of yourself.
Death & Co. Modern Classic Cocktails by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald & Alex Day (Ten Speed Press) Out of the hundreds of cocktail guides out there, this one more than any other makes you feel like you are right there working with the bartenders from opening to last call.
Bob’s Chocolate Bitters Honestly, a minute after tasting these, I’d swear I just ate some chocolate. Nicely done.
Bob’s Ginger Bitters Even if you weren’t to use these in a cocktail, they would be a great digestion aid in tea. Really tasty too.
Jackson Cannon Bar Knife I honestly have not used a better knife at the bar, though I’ve tried many others over the years. This is a sure winner that will become a cherished part of your routine behind the stick.