Spirits Gift Recommendations – 2017

Great Holiday Spirits Gifts

Great Holiday Spirits Gifts

Are you waiting until the last minute to do your holiday gift buying? You’re not alone. Last-minute shoppers represented 36 percent of the overall total. If you are among the many who have not completed their holiday shopping we have assembled a few, straightforward gifts ideas for you.

Here is our spirits recommendations sorted by type:

Brandy

Christian Drouin XO Calvados, Pays d’Auge

Christian Drouin is the gold standard for Calvados. They create a large range of styles and vintages while the XO has always had a special and holiday-like feel for me. This is a real beauty showing what Calvados can be with a few years of maturation seamlessly integrating oak and spice into the fold while keeping the fresh apple notes alive. The XO is made with a blend of double distilled Calvados aged 8 to 15 years in small casks. $127

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Gautier Gold & Blue XO Cognac

Gautier is a great old Cognac house with a history spanning 10 generations. Gautier’s cellars are located in a former mill along the River Osme. Their “Blue XO,” a tremendous Cognac, is created with spirits from four of Cognac’s great crus and then aged for 20 years in oak. It was well worth the wait. The Cognac is beautiful, complex, and lush making it the perfect thing to serve after your holiday dinner and it’s a great gift with a very impressive bottle. $135

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Singani 63 Singani Brandy

So, what the hell is Singani? I’m glad you asked. Singani is a unique Brandy produced in the mountains of Bolivia. It is considered to be the national drink of Bolivia. It is made exclusively with the Muscat of Alexandria grapes that give it a unique fruit signature. This clear, unaged Brandy is versatile being able to stand alone or work in a variety of cocktails. It’s a great value and a super gift for a Spirits lover in your life as it is quite unique. $30

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Vermont Spirits No. 14 Apple Brandy

Vermont Spirits was launched in 1998 with the intention of creating unique Vodka from the state’s famed product, maple. Today they offer a wide range of spirits that now include Gin, Brandy, Bourbon, and a unique Maple Spirit. I have been a fan of their spirits from the very beginning. For their No. 14 Apple Brandy Vermont apples are pressed and fermented into a raw cider and then distilled and rested in Hungarian oak casks. This apple brandy is not aged for a specific number of years rather they continually taste and bottle once the desired maturity is achieved. This charming brandy is a great American take on Calvados and we do love a tasty Calvados. $53

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Gin 

Caorunn Small Batch Scottish Gin

I’m a longtime fan of Caorunn (pronounced – ka-roon) and I love seeing it on the backbar as I then know that the buyer is tuned in. It features 11 botanicals including five wild-foraged Highland botanicals: rowan berry (or Caorunn in old Scottish Gaelic), bog myrtle, heather, Coul blush apple, and dandelion leaf. The spirit is silky and lush making it great in cocktails or simply chilled. Any Gin lover would lover to get a bottle of Caoruun as it’s different enough to be a great addition to anyone’s bar but it also features classic attributes that Gin lovers seek. $42

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Vermont Spirits Coppers Gin

The Coppers Gin is named for coins issued by the Republic of Vermont in 1785. This expressive American Gin is distilled with wild juniper berries picked in Northern Vermont along with coriander, angelica root, cassia, orange peel, and cardamom pods. The spirit itself is wonderfully lush while vibrant with bright acidity and fresh citrus accents. This lovely Gin is both harmonious and complex – I love this Gin in a classic Martini. $29

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Liqueurs

Antica Classic Sambuca

This is another spirit that is a great gift choice and/or can be used as part of your holiday meal. The great Antica brand and method was founded in 1868 at the Rossi D’Asiago distillery. This Sambuca earned prestigious awards including the Gran Medaglia D’Oro and the Grand Prix in Paris in 1904. The classic flavors are ideal after dinner, with dessert, or with an espresso.

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1453 Vespertino Tequila Cream Liqueur

Vespertino is a new star in the cream Liqueur category. The Silver Tequila base is the ideal canvas for the alluring and complex flavors of fresh cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, and vanilla. The name Vespertino means evening in Spanish and the flavors echoes that meaning with its suggestion of rich desserts offered south of the border. Vespertino is extremely versatile working well hot or cold. Serve over ice or in coffee. It’s also great on or in desserts. It is a fantastic value and everyone who tries it simply loves it.

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Rum

Don Q Signature Release/Single Barrel 2007 Rum

I first tasted this Rum from the cask roughly 10 months before it was released and I was blown away — I still am. This is one of the finest Rums that I have ever tasted and considering it is a single cask we will never experience these precise flavors again. This is an aged Rum for lovers of wood aged spirits and I see this having a great crossover appeal with Whiskey and Brandy drinkers. It’s a beautiful brown spirit that transcends category. Without hesitation I will say that this is one of the finest Rums that I have ever tasted. $40 (a steal!)

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Cannes Royale Extra Old Rum

The Cannes Royale Extra Aged is a beautiful and complex sipping Rum created at the Eastern Caribbean Rum Company — established in 1998. This lovely Rum was made with Rums aged for up to eight years in toasted oak barrels. The Rums utilized in this blend have been created in both pot and column stills. Both molasses based Rum and cane juice Rums were also used. The result is a complex and extremely attractive Rum with pristine flavors and a natural color. $30

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Vodka

Van Gogh Acai-Blueberry Flavored Vodka

The Van Gogh Acai-Blueberry offers a unique take on the berry flavored Vodkas. While most are cloyingly sweet and one-dimensional this tasty flavored Vodka deftly delivers sweet and tart berry flavors with a refreshing dose of acid and an unexpected tannin structure thanks to the acai berry. In addition to the desirable aromatics and flavors, the color is mesmerizing. $25

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Van Gogh Vodka

Van Gogh Vodka is known as the master of flavors but we really like their versatile and pure classic Vodka. From the very first rising scents from the glass the unmistakable characteristics of wheat Vodka greet the nose. Further exploration reveals much more as the Van Gogh Vodka offers a complex fruit and mineral tapestry as well. The signature Van Gogh Vodka is crafted with wheat from Holland, Germany, and France. It is perhaps this blend of wheat that makes Van Gogh exceptional. $25

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Vermont Spirits Gold Vodka

The Vermont Spirits Gold is simply lovely and utterly unique with aromatics and flavors seldom seen in Vodka. Made with 100% maple sap that is batch-distilled in a glass fractionating column and then gently filtered to preserve the distinct maple flavors. Vermont Spirits started by creating their unique maple Vodkas and these beautiful spirits are as good as ever – if not better. The ideal gift for the fancy Vodka lover on your gift list. $43

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Whiskey/Whisky

Egan’s Single Grain Irish Whiskey

I loved the first offering from Egan’s – their lovely 10 year-old Single Malt – so I was very keen to try their Grain Whiskey. As expected this Grain was our favorite of the current crop of Irish Grain Whiskies. The Egan’s Vintage Grain was put in cask in 2009 and bottled in 2017. It rested for eight-plus years in ex-Bourbon casks and was bottled at 46% with no chill-filtration. Despite being bottled over-proof the Whiskey is not at all hot on the palate rather being wonderfully soft and harmonious. This is a great gift for your Whiskey loving friends as so many focus on the malts and overlook the lovely Grain Whiskies. $45

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Ardbeg An Oa Single Malt Scotch Whisky

I’m a longtime fan of Ardbeg and this is my favorite release from them in years. Bold, seductive and it’s also an incredible value. Named for the Mull of Oa on the southwest of Islay this new expression from Ardbeg is one of the most exciting Whiskies of this year and perhaps the decade. This complex beauty is aged in a combination of cask types married in what Ardbeg likes to call a “gathering vat.” Cask types for maturation include Pedro Ximénex Sherry, ex-Bourbon, and a bit of charred virgin oak. The combination of bold and lovely flavors along with the approachable price tag makes this simply irrestitable! $60

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Old Pulteney 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

These days it’s getting nearly impossible to find a 12 year-old single malt with character and style for near $40 but Old Pulteney delivers. Old Pulteney is the most northerly distillery on Scotland’s mainland. It was founded in 1826 in the historic fishing town of Wick. The Old Pulteney 12 is both rustic and refined with a vibrant saltiness that has drawn comparisons to Manzanilla Sherry. The vibrant Malts of Old Pulteney are aged in both ex-Bourbon and Sherry casks. Ideal for after dinner sipping. $40

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