Holiday Season Spirits!

Have you gotten all of your holiday gifts together yet? If not, and you’re still looking for that perfect gift, you’ll want to consider some spirits! As a Sommelier working in online wine retail as well as events and virtual tastings, I am constantly asked about spirits to gift for Clients, CEO’s, Staff, and Sprits Enthusiasts. It’s always a pleasure to get to talk about this subject since a lot of my job does revolve around more than just wine. Whether it’s suggesting the perfect cigar pairing, creating a cocktail recipe, or recommending ideal sipping spirits, this category plays a big role in gifting, especially during the holiday season.

I had the pleasure of tasting some fantastic spirits this year, neat, on the rocks, and in cocktails. I have compiled the list of my favorites that are ideal for sipping as well as gifting this holiday season and beyond!

Scotch/Whiskey

Glendronach Port Cask Many of you have seen my Glendronach posts about all their different expressions. Well, here’s another great one, and this time it’s in a port cask! This single malt scotch whiskey was inspired by the rich history of importing port casks into Scotland during the 19th century. The beautiful color in this scotch whiskey comes from the barrel naturally over time. It has in intense cherry wood nose, with some honey and ginger. On the palate, layers of nice rich fruit make this Glendronach release really special. It’s an amazing expression, one which is ideal for gifting yourself and also the Scotch Whiskey lover in your life. Available Nationwide. $89.99

Benriach Original Ten- This is their signature smooth layered expression. Matured 10 years in bourbon barrels, sherry casks, and virgin oak, this expression is really something else. You’ll notice a lot of orchard fruit with toasted oak and some subtle smoke. Overall it’s a really delicious Ten that is rich and layered and ideal for the Speyside Single Malt lover. $53.99

Benriach Smoky Ten Malted barley smoked with Highland Peat is what this expression is all about. This imparts those distinct smokey noted into this spirit. Benriach The Smoky Ten  has been crafted from a combination of unpeated and peated spirits, and three cask matured for at least ten years. The combination of barrels is quite unique and consists of  bourbon barrels, Jamaican rum casks, and toasted virgin oak. The whisky is then married together to form the perfect blend of orchard fruit, smoked apple, and spiced pear. This is a delicious expression, one which makes a fantastic gift and bar addition! $59.99

Benriach The Twelve- This one is aged 12 years in sherry casks, port casks, and bourbon barrels. Another wonderfully unique blend from Benriach that created a smooth sherry -rich single malt, that is full of ripe fruit, spice, orange, and hazelnut. I really loved this one, and would gift this to someone who enjoys sherry or wants to try a very approachable sherry cask single malt. $59.99

Benriach Smokey Twelve–  Another perfect marriage of fruit and smoke brought to you by Benriach Distillery! This is a combination of peated and unpeated spirit aged in bourbon barrels, sherry casks, and marsala casks. You really get the notes from each cask in this one, with nice ripe fruit nots, subtle sweetness, and enticing oak and spice. $64.99

Liberties Oak Devil 5 Year Old Irish Whiskey- The devil stands watching proudly over the first of The Liberties Irish Whiskeys.  This 5 year old  blend of malt & grain whiskey is liquid heaven! Seductive aromas of baked apples, fresh hay, and warm brown sugar, are ideal for fall and winter sipping. On the palate, flavors of toffee, apples, and caramel lead to a lingering spice driven finish. These notes are imparted by years in the highest quality American oak casks. $49.99

Liberties The Copper Alley 10 Year Old-  Copper Alley was the oldest street in Dublin, named after the coin that was first minted there in the 17th century. For the history buffs in your life that also enjoy an incredible Irish whiskey, look no further! The label is inspired by the color of those minted coins and their Celtic Irish origins. Sweet aromas of honey and flowers, apple blossom,  and red fruits fill the glass.  The whiskey has been finished in 30-year old Oloroso sherry casks which impart bold fruit notes of baked stone fruit, ripe red grapes and give the spirit its gorgeous amber color! $59-64.99.

 

Gin

Bottega Bacur Gin- A gorgeous Italian Gin from the Veneto area! I had the pleasure of visiting Bottega distillery last October 2019 when I went on a beautiful press tour with Hello Grappa. I fell in love with this Gin while at the distillery and know the Gin drinker in your life will really appreciate this for the holiday season! Juniper berries from Tuscany, sage leaves from Veneto, and lemon zest from Femminello Siracusano (Sicilian Lemons) are left to macerate in a solution of Italian Alps water and alcohol. This makes Bottega gin the gin it is, before double distilling it. It’s a smooth gin, not too aggressive, and is perfect on its own as well as in cocktails. $38.99

Other Awesome Spirits

Boulard Calvados Pays d’ Auge– Calvados is one of the most underrated gifts to give during the holiday season. I honestly would love to be gifted Calvados because you can do so much with it from cocktails to sipping neat, and even using it in recipes. This apple based spirit is ideal to sip and gift and is full of warm apple notes, spice, vanilla, and wood. It’s smooth and delicious, and can be enjoyed after dinner as well as an aperitif in cocktails, with ingredients such as ginger beer and thyme syrups. $45.99

Kimo Sabe Joven Mezcal-  This collaborative family run mezcal brand stems from 11 different mezcal farming regions in Mexico. It’s award winning and sustainably farmed. The Joven is a wonderful expression with aromatic herbs, smoked notes, citrus and pepper. It’s ideal for those who enjoy cocktails and mixology, they would really appreciate this expression. $42.99

Kimo Sabe Añejo Mezcal- Also from the Kimo Sabe family brand is this refined mezcal with notes of vanilla, sweet grass, tropical notes, and some banana. It’s ideal for the whiskey and bourbon drinker, and even high end tequila drinkers. It’s a very versatile expression that can easily be enjoyed on its own as well as in cocktails too. $58.99

 

These eleven spirits are ideal to sip this holiday season! What are you waiting for, grab some of the expressions you think you’d like best, and get creative with your seasonal spirits and cocktail pairings.

Need some advice on what you may like to sip or gift? You can always reach out on IG via @SommInTheCity and ask me anything, anytime! 

Always remember, eat what you like and drink what you love. Please pair responsibly!

Sara Lehman

About Sara Lehman

Sommelier, Private Chef, & Food and Wine Pairing Expert in NYC! Sara is a Wine Writer, Wine Ambassador, and Wine Consultant specializing in pairings, parties, entertaining and education.

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