17 Bottles Of Booze That Make Perfect Holiday Gifts

The beauty of gifting quality alcohol is, quite simply, that the right bottle will compel the recipient to crack it open right away — and share.

So it’s really in your best interest this holiday season to give the gift of liquor (responsibly).

We headed to Astor Wines & Spirits — Manhattan’s Shangri-La of booze — for some recommendations. Wine and spirits consultant Steven Bowles walked us through some of his favourites.

If you have a tippler in your life, don’t just go to the liquor section and buy something expensive with a fancy label. There are plenty of special and rare items that won’t break the bank.

The prices used are Astor’s (and you can purchase these bottles on their website), but prices will vary.

Ransom Old Tom Astor Exclusive Gin

This single cask gin is unique to Astor, and carries a lot of flavours: “Woodsy pine, lemon balm, crushed rose petals, pepper and cinnamon spice.” A richer and sweeter kind of gin.

Origin: Oregon, USA

ABV: 44%

Price: $44.96

Pueblo Viejo San Mattias Orgullo Anejo Tequila

A high-quality, single-cask bottle for the true tequila lover. This is for sipping, not shooting.

Origin: Jalisco, Mexico

ABV: 40%

Price: $49.96

Mount Gay Astor Black Barrel Rum

Charred oak gives this sipping rum some serious power. Rich notes of vanilla “with a playful, fruity vibrancy and grassiness that can only come from a top-quality sugar cane spirit” makes this a really complex rum.

Origin: Barbados

ABV: 43%

Price: $39.96

Karlsson’s Gold Potato Vodka

Made with “virgin” potatoes from Cape Bjäre, Karlsson’s actually retains its true potato flavour. Gift this to anyone who likes a good up martini with fresh cracked pepper.

Origin: Sweden

ABV: 40%

Price: $31.99

Berkshire Mountain Bourbon

A solid whiskey with caramel and vanilla flavours coming through. It’s 18% rye, giving it a nice spiciness too.

Origin: Massachusetts, USA

ABV: 43%

Price: $41.99

Barr Hill Gin

Bar Hill’s distiller is a beekeeper and adds raw northern honey at the time of bottling. The result is “sweet, floral, and slightly herbaceous.”

Origin: Vermont, USA

ABV: 45%

Price: $42.99

High West “The 36th Vote” Barreled Manhattan

Here’s a special gift for the Don Draper on the go. A barreled Manhattan. That’s right, the cocktail. Rye, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters thrown into rye barrels for 120 days, served ready to drink.

Origin: Utah, USA

ABV: 37%

Price: $49.99

High West Campfire Whiskey

Another one from High West, the “campfire” delivers on its name. It really tastes like a camping trip, in a good way: Corn, toffee, maple, spicy vanilla, cherry, and a hint of peat smoke at the end. It’s a blend of Bourbon, rye, and peated scotch — great for an all-around whiskey lover looking for something different.

Origin: Utah, USA

ABV: 46%

Price: $52.99

McCarthy’s Single Malt Whiskey

Peat-malted Scottish barley gives this single malt whiskey honey, bitter chocolate, and sweet malt notes. Plus, it’s a pretty rare, small-production bottle.

Origin: Oregon, USA

ABV: 43%

Price: $53.99

Nikka Taketsuru 12 Yr. Japanese Whisky

Japanese whiskies like Yamazaki are already pretty popular in the U.S., but the Nikka is slightly less common. It’s a really nice treat, and has that “exotic” alcohol gift feel.

Origin: Japan

ABV: 40%

Price: $69.99

NY Distilling Co. Chief Gowanus Gin

Oak barrels give this gin its darker coloration. “The sustained aromas transition to spicy, malty rye on the palate.”

Origin: New York, USA

ABV: 44%

Price: $

Jim Beam Signature Craft Bourbon

This is the biggest name on our list, but don’t let that discourage you. “Baking cinnamon, vanilla, sweet cream, rye spice, acetone, and heady orchard fruits all leap out of the glass and lure you right in,” according to Astor. For any Beam drinker, this is a holiday upgrade.

Origin: Kentucky, USA

ABV: 43%

Price: $40.99

Jean Fillioux La Pouyade Cognac

New cognac drinkers will go straight to the Hennessey, just because. But the Fillioux are one of the last independent cognac producers in France, and this one is a cognac staple. “Fresh and primary, with a focus on beautiful florals, mouth-watering citrus, and almond notes.”

Origin: Grande Champagne, France

ABV: 42%

Price: $68.99

Neisson Reserve Speciale Rum

Rum (or “rhum”) from Martinique has a purer, grassier feel. This one is aged 10 years in old bourbon and whiskey casks. “Roasted nuts, dark fruit, and warm spice make this a delightful body warmer.” A winter rum if there ever was one.

Origin: Martinique

ABV: 42%

Price: $72.99

Tequila Ocho “El Refugio” Reposado

Another tequila meant for sipping. “Distinct tropical citrus aromas and flavours are accented with whiffs of mint, spice, peppercorn and mineral-laden notes of rich, sweet and pure agave.”

Origin: Jalisco, Mexico

ABV: 40%

Price: $54.99

Armorik Exclusive Cask Single Malt

One of the better single malt whiskies available for under $US100, Armorik is matured in casks of Sauternes, a sweet French wine. “The resulting spirit is a fusion of rich nectar fruit complexity, creamy malt, nougat, and dry barrel spices.”

Origin: Brittany, France

ABV: 46%

Price: $99.96

Glenfarclas 12 Yr. Scotch

Glenfarclas is a Speyside like Glenfiddich and The Macallan, and has “notes of sherried fruit, a touch of vanilla, and a tingle of spice.” The 12 year expression is reasonably priced, but Astor also carries the 40 year for $US500 a bottle if you’re really going for it this holiday season.

Origin: Speyside, Scotland

ABV: 43%

Price: $53.99

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