In part II of our 2015 gift guide, we look at ten great gifts for the spirits lover. Whether your gift recipient is into American whiskey, Scotch, gin, brandy or cocktails, there are plenty of great options to choose from.
Interested in beer gifts? Check out our 2015 Beer Gift Guide here.
1. Plantation Pineapple Stiggins’ Fancy Rum
Need to find that perfect, under $50 bottle of booze for the rum or cocktail drinker in your life? Look no further than Plantation‘s Pineapple Stiggins’ Fancy Rum. It’s ridiculously delicious, only $30, and one of my favorite new spirits of 2015.
Plantation’s Pineapple Rum was released in full distribution earlier this year; and was produced by Maison Ferrand in collaboration with cocktail historian David Wondrich. The rum was originally introduced at Tales of the Cocktail last year and was a huge hit. You’d think it’d be too sweet or fruity, or fake tasting, but it’s not. It’s just right. And c’mon, what better way to celebrate the holidays than with a Tiki drink made with this stuff? $30
Building up a home bar and/or collection of spirits is an expensive endeavor. But Flaviar is making this endeavor a bit easier, and a lot more gift-worthy with their spirits discovery subscription service. They have whisk(e)y boxes and Cognac boxes, rum, gin… you name it. And when you sign someone up for a subscription box from Flaviar they get new curated boxes with three spirit samples every month.
Flaviar also sells tasting kits, which are made up of five samples each (for members only). I received a box called ‘Eau De Vie? Oui!’ that contained five Cognac samples including Dobbe XO and Gautier XO Gold & Blue which are both around $100 per bottle. Flaviar also offers special gift packs that are perfect for the holidays. Prices for a 2-month subscription start at $38.
3. Tanqueray Bloomsbury
Bloomsbury is the latest release in Tanqueray’s limited edition series. Its predecessors have include Old Tom Gin and Malacca–both of which have been excellent. The recipe for this particular limited edition London Dry Gin dates back to the 1880s when the distillery was located in Bloomsbury, London. It’s strong on the Juniper, and blended with additional botanicals such as coriander, angelica, winter savoury and cassia bark.
There are a few reasons why Bloomsbury would make a great gift for the gin/spirits-lover in your life. First off, it’s a great gin. Second, it’s a limited edition release. And third, it’s new. The perfect trifecta. $32
4. Death & Co.
If you’re looking for a bad ass gift to give a cocktail enthusiast, check out Death & Co’s beautifully designed cocktail book. This 300+ page book is an impressive guide to the contemporary craft cocktail movement, brought to you by one of the most influential bars in the country.
Death & Co. features hundreds of recipes for signature creations and classic drinks, plus plenty of educational information about drink-making, tools, and ingredients. The book is filled with beautiful photography and graphics, and will look amazing on any book shelf or cocktail bar. Buy it on Amazon for $25
5. Whistle Pig Old World Rye Whiskey
Whistle Pig’s latest limited edition cask finished release, Old World Rye–a 12-year straight rye finished in Madeira, Sauternes and Port casks–was one of my favorite whiskey releases of 2015. You can read my full review here, or take my word that it’s a killer rye; especially for whiskey drinkers that enjoy sweeter-style cask finishes and/or the 100% rye style that Whistle Pig produces. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but well worth the spend. $120
6. Good Booze in Cool Bottles
I would never recommend that you purchase alcohol purely based on the packaging. But, you can’t deny that beautiful packaging brings out a special factor in a bottle of booze… that’s particularly relevant from a gift giving perspective. So, find a beautiful bottle of alcohol that also contains good liquid and you’ve got yourself a winning gift idea. Here are a few particular beautiful bottles that I’d recommend:
Don Julio 1942: A fantastic anejo tequila, produced in small batches and aged for a minimum of two and a half years. A classic tequila in a standout bottle. $130
I.W. Harper 15: A tasty 15-year Bourbon that was distilled at the current Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, KY and aged most recently at the legendary Stitzel-Weller. Its vintage bottle looks amazing on a Mad Men set or on your bar cart at home. $75
Deleon Tequila: If your gift-recipient likes the bling bling, then Puff Daddy’s luxury blanco Tequila, Deleon, may be just the ticket. I love the etched D on the front of the bottle and the ornately decorated silver cap. $60
Brockman’s Gin: An undeniably unique gin with a botanical blend that includes coriander, blueberries, blackberries, and bittersweet Valencia orange peels. Juicy and dressed up in a deviously sexy black on black bottle. $35
7. Spirit of Place: Scotland’s Great Whisky Distilleries
If you’re looking for the perfect whisky-related gift to give the Scotch lover in your life, check out Charles Maclean’s Spirit of Place. This beautiful, large format book takes readers on a tour of Scotland’s fifty finest distilleries, and includes more than 250 page-stretching photographs. It’s sure to wow any whisky lover. The hardcover book is available from Amazon for $30.
8. Herradura Coleccion de la Casa Reserva 2015
Tequila Herradura recently unveiled the fourth release in their impressive Coleccion de la Casa series, Reserva 2015 – Directo de Alambique. Interestingly, and unlike the previous releases in this series which were all aged in unique casks, this new edition is released as a Silver, unaged tequila and bottled direct from the still. As Herradura says, they wanted to showcase the fresh, youthful flavor of the 100% blue agave tequila.
This is a limited edition release, bottled direct from the still at 110 proof — which isn’t exactly common for tequila. It’s a unique tequila that packs an impressive punch. $90
9. Compass Box Taster Kit
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Compass Box. I love their whiskies and I think John Glaser—Compass Box’s founder/whiskymaker—is one of the most innovative and exciting people in whisky today. The Compass Box Gift Pack is one of the best whisky gift sets on the market and includes five of Compass Box’s classic whiskies—Asyla, Oak Cross, Spice Tree, Peat Monster and Hedonism. The whiskies come inside glass tubes presented in a nice wooden box. It’s the perfect whisky gift. The Compass Box Gift Set retails for about $65.
Armagnac you say? Isn’t that a whole brandy-producing region in France? Why yes it is. And you should do your spirits-loving friend or family member a favor and introduce him or her to said region of brandy by buying him or her a bottle of Armagnac. Why? Because Armagnac, unlike, Cognac, still has a tiny audience in America. And it’s starting to catch on. But I have a feeling that your intended gift recipient doesn’t have a bottle and will be very thankful to you for introducing them to this fine spirit.
Need a recommendation of a specific bottle of Armagnac? Ask your local retail clerk or check out my recent article on Armagnac in which I recommend two delicious, under $100 Armagnacs: Tariquet 1993 and Delord 25 year.
That’s it for this year’s Spirits Gift Guide. Check out our 2015 Beer Gift Guide here.