We are blessed throughout the year with great spirits, cocktails and accessories. Since our primary focus is reviewing “everyday drinking” equipment and spirits, we receive a lot of products to sit down and work with so we believe it’s time to build our holiday gift list. This list is good for the cocktail drinker, the spirit enthusiast and other great holiday gift ideas! Buy anything on this list and you’ll be the most respected and intelligent gift-giver at the event.
The top twelve products to add to your holiday gift list include:
#12: Bailey’s Mint Chocolate Irish Cream
Everyone is used to Bailey’s standard Irish Cream offerings, but they’re missing out on some of the holidays best flavors: mint chocolate! This flavor offers the same Irish Cream kick but allows you to flavor your coffee and cocktails with something a bit more minty without taking it overboard. You’ll find it’s subtle enough to be a great stand-alone spirit without overtaking your senses like a schnapps; all built with the same quality of any Bailey’s Product.
#11: WMF Boston Cocktail Shaker
Are you sick of shaking cocktails in a metal shaker that freezes solid making it impossible to remove the lid and reload a second cocktail? The three-piece cobbler shaker’s are nice but the Boston Cocktail Shaker is much cleaner and faster to build cocktails at parties or for yourself. In addition, you’ll look like a real bartender and, once you learn how to use the Boston Cocktail shaker, you’re on your way to cocktail excellence.
If you want to buy a Boston Cocktail Shaker, consider buying it today and hiding it until Christmas or the holiday of your choice because they can take awhile to ship and keep in stock; ours took three weeks to ship from amazon! I’d also consider a loft bar strainer to round out the purchase, that allows you to strain the cocktail without the partially melted ice falling into the glass.
#10: 10 Cane Rum (Light Rum)
Many people have had a standard light rum, made from molasses and that’s all fine and dandy. But the holidays are about trying to be creative with your gift giving choice, 10 Cane Rum can bring something new to the table. 10 Cane Rum has a sweeter profile, great mouth feel and stands out amongst other rums in its class. There is nothing wrong with a typical light rum, but why not give something a bit more unique for the holidays?
If you can’t find 10 Cane Rum, see if you can find Depaz Rhum Agricole, that’s another great pure cane rum but is a bit more “organic” and “green” in flavors.
#9: G’Vine Floraison Gin
Produced in the Cognac region of France, G’vine is a four-times distilled gin created from Ugni Blanc grapes. This gin brings more than juniper to your palate, with beautiful bright floral flavors and an elegance unseen by standard London Try gin varieties. You will definitely pay a bit more for the experience but the selection and experiences held within the bottle will please the receiver of your gift this holiday.
The G’vine Floraison with cost roughly USD $40 and is infused with the vine flower, giving it a very aromatic nose. This gin stands out as a completely unique experience not shared with other gins in the market today. You can read our review of G’Vine Floraison gin and decide for yourself.
#8: Bison Grass Vodka
Let’s be honest, most vodka brands taste the same and the culture of vodka, today, is to create a highly distilled product that brings clean and crisp flavors but very little more; a true “neutral grain” spirit. If you’re going to buy something that brings little taste profile, spending excessive money doesn’t make sense, just buy Tito’s Vodka and you’ll get all you need from a standard neutral vodka. For something more flavorful and unique that takes nuances to a new level, try Bak’s Bison Grass Vodka, now available in the United States.
Bison Grass Vodka isn’t the typical neutral grained vodka, it’s distilled to the point of clean tasting vodka without pulling all of the “impurities” from the spirit. The concept behind vodka is to remove all impurities but many of those so-called impurities add flavors and tastes that change the definition of the spirit, such as bison grass. Bak’s Bison Grass can be sipped as a neat spirit or added to a cocktail or apple juice to bring an invigorating sense of cocktailian pleasures.
#7: Absinthe Dripper/Brouilleurs
You know an absinthe drinker in the family or a friend? If so, they really cannot go on with life without this really awesome absinthe dripper from AbsintheOnTheNet. It’s small enough to be stored anywhere yet louche’s absinthe like a champion without the need for a huge absinthe fountain (which itself is a neat gift).
The Cusenier Absinthe Dripper Auto Verseur makes a great gift for the holidays because it brings a unique mechanical flare to preparing absinthe with all the functionality of a dripper. The added shock value will make your gift the most talked about product at the party and leave a smile on the face of those receiving one. They’re a bit pricey, at USD $109 but a product like this can be passed down through the generations, as long as you explain its purpose and share absinthe with the family.
I brough this dripper to a family event over the summer and everyone would sit there and watch it’s mechanical glory as if it was some alien object of desire.
#6: Veev Açaí Spirit
Açaí juice is extremely tasty but I never considered purchasing it at the store until I sat down with a VeeV Açaí cocktail which changed my perspective on fruit flavor. The scent of the spirit is delicious and slightly potent with unique flavors unseen by many US brands of spirit which all pair well in a cocktail with other fruits and flavors. Açaí is a fruit all its own and its taste cannot be compared to other standard fruits and berries, it’s a Brazilian delight.
My first experience with VeeV was in the VeeV Açaí Lemonade, a great lemonade style cocktail for the lemonade lover and offers a low-calorie look at cocktails. Many specially designed VeeV cocktails bring low calorie alternatives without losing the sweetness and flavors, that’s just something Açaí brings to the table. Read our review of VeeV and make your own decision.
#5: Buffalo Trace Bourbon
Whiskey lovers in the Kentucky area will be all like “no duh!” for this one, but it’s hard to shuffle through all the mass market brands of mediocre bourbons to find one that really shines. You can drink the same whiskey you drink everyday or you can try something a bit better and pickup the Buffalo Trace Bourbon.
Buffalo Trace Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey (~$23.99) begins with the finest Kentucky and Indiana corn, selected rye, and superior malted barley. Upon delivery the grains undergo a general visual inspection for any obvious abnormalities. Buffalo Trace Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey is 90-Proof (45% ABV) with its distillery located in Franklin County, Kentucky. I’ve found this brings a huge series of flavor nuances without over-oak or burning sensations, the perfect bourbon for a perfect whiskey sour! You can’t ask for more!
#4: Republic Tequila Reposado
The market is full of great 100% de agave tequila and you really can’t go wrong with a real tequila. However, there are so many to choose from and I believe Republic Tequila Reposado is the hidden gem in the tequila industry right now. It’s a 100% Blue Agave Organic tequila with flavor nuances that lend itself to rich pineapples, sweet brown sugar and spicy white pepper.
The Republic Tequila Reposado reminds me of a nice bourbon in its complexity and deep experience and commands a competitive price in the mid USD $40 range. You’ll find dozens of USD $40 tequila brands but only a few with the complexities to feel like a USD $60 tequila, Republic Tequila’s Reposado does more than expected. Read our review.
#3: Bluecoat American Dry Gin
We’ve taken a look at G’Vine which brings a floral experience to your gin, now we’re looking at a more traditional American dry gin. Bluecoat has organic juniper berries, organic citrus peels and other organic materials in their gin recipe. The viscosity was thick and well-bodied which shows some great class. While appreciating the smoothness on the palate, a huge explosion of orange zest exploded in my mouth in every direction which tickled all the senses from the tip of the tongue to the back of the nasal passages.
Until I had Bluecoat I never really appreciated the zesty orange that can be found in a good American dry gin. Read the review for yourself.
#2: Don Q Grand Añejo
This is the second most awesome gift for this holiday. Don Q Rum, in general, is a tasty spirit but their Grand Añejo brings a huge complexity to the dark rum style and mind blowing flavor. I brought a bottle to a family event and most people looked at me strange when I told them to “sip this rum” as they associated rum with mojito cocktails. They took a sip and said, “is this really rum? This isn’t a whiskey?”
Don Q Grand Añejo doesn’t taste like a full bodied whiskey, it tastes like a full bodied rum with the backbone and nuances you normally would receive in a classy whiskey. It’s maturity commands a fairly high price, at USD $59.99, this isn’t a low-grade rum by any stretch of the imagination. While it may break the budget of a Secret Santa gift, this is a respectable product to give to a loved one over the holidays as it is a sign of respect.
#1: Riazul Añejo Tequila
Unfortunately, Riazul may be hard to get across the United States, but you may find it at Spec’s Online (if you can figure out how to navigate their order process). Riazul Añejo will run you around USD $54 but easily tastes like that of a USD $200+ bottle of tequila in flavor profile, mouth feel and overall excellence.
Sometimes I feel like a Riazul spoke’s person by praising their product so much but you have to give respect to a hard working crew that’s really trying to change the tequila industry by offering a great price on an exceptional product. Riazul Añejo resembles a 15 year old wine in smoothness and completeness and can easily compete with the best aged whiskey on the market today in complexity. White chocolates, subtle fruits, ripe pineapple and beautiful finish. If you find this for your holiday shopping list pickup a second bottle for yourself… pickup a third bottle for me since I recommended it! Read our full review.
Hopefully we’ve given you some direction to go on your holiday gift shopping list for spirits, liquors and cocktail gifts. For mom or dad, or any siblings over 21 years of age, these gifts will show people that you’re in “the know” and following exceptional trends in the industry. Happy holidays!