Are you a last minute shopper like me? Every year I say I’m going to get a head start but I never do. I think I work better under pressure anyways. I put together this Holiday Spirit Gift Guide in case you need any last minute ideas on what to get that special someone. I’m never disappointed with a bottle of booze and I’ve included all my favorites to gift and get. The best part? These are all under $50!
- Monkey 47 Gin $45– An unusual gin from the Black Forest in Germany, Monkey 47 contains a unique ingredient, cranberries! The 47 comes from the number of botanicals that go into this unique gin and is bottled at a healthy 47% ABV. In 2011 Monkey 47 won the World Spirits Award Gold in the Gin category and Gold for best in class for the Gin Worldwide at the International Wine and Spirits Competition London. Such a great gin to use in cocktails and a staple in my home bar.
- Plantation Pineapple Rum $32-This blended rum is crafted in two parts, first by infusing ripe Queen Victoria pineapples in rich, aged Plantation Original Dark Rum for 3 months. Then they distilled a second batch using pineapple rind with their classic white rum, blended the two and before bottling, matured them for an extra period in the barrel. The result is an absolutely delicious, bright rum with pineapple essence to blend with the lushness of the infused Plantation Rum. Enjoy it straight on ice or mix it with a cocktail. This was originally supposed to be a limited edition Rum gifted to friends, family, and limited stock in certain bars. It was such a hit they decided to keep making it. I was lucky enough to receive one of the very first bottles and that’s the one that sits at home on my bar cart. I’ll sip on it when I’m feeling special!
- Olmeca Altos Reposado Tequila $25– Altos Reposado Tequila is a super premium, high quality, 100% agave tequila. Altos Reposado is aged in oak barrels for 4-6 months, which creates a rich and complex taste perfect for drinking on its own or in cocktails. Margarita, please! It was rated a 94 at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge.
- Laird’s Apple Brandy $32– Laird’s Apple Brandy is hands down my favorite spirit there ever was. Besides the fact that it is a must-have for any at home cocktail enthusiast because of its history and presence throughout classic cocktail culture, it is from my home state of New Jersey. Laird’s also holds distilling license number 1 in the USA making it the oldest and the first distillery in America. It’s also the oldest family-run distillery in the country, run by a 7th generation Laird, Lisa Laird Dunn. Did I mention George Washington is the only other person to have the family recipe? Drinking this is like drinking history and everyone needs a bottle on their home bar. The Jack Rose is my favorite classic cocktail and are perfect for drinking during the holidays.
- Pierre Ferrand Cognac $40– A top-quality golden Grande Champagne Cognac from distinguished boutique producer Pierre Ferrand. A lively, expressive style with fresh fruit flavors and good depth from this award-winning house. This is what I drink and mix with at home and also what I prefer to use behind the bar. Ferrand is also the producer of the Plantation Rums. Pretty much my favorite line of spirits. Check out Citadelle Gin too!
- Glen Grant 12 year Scotch $48– I’m not a huge Scotch drinker but I love the Glen Grant 12 year. I call this the beginner Scotch because it is so easy to drink! It’s light and fruity with notes of apple pie, caramel, vanilla and subtle spice. Glen Grant 12 year is great to drink alone but also mixes great in cocktails because of its subtle flavors.
- Amaro Nonino $47– This is one of my favorite Amaro’s because it is so unique! A digestif made from grappa infused with herbs, plus grain alcohol, and ingredients that include caramelized sugar, bitter orange, cinchona, licorice, quassia wood, rhubarb, saffron, sweet orange, and tamarind. Has an herby fragrance, with a mildly bitter spicy taste. Great on its own before or after dinner and in my favorite Paper Plane cocktail!
- Elijah Craig Bourbon $33– Bottled exclusively from a dumping of 70 barrels or less, all drawn from the middle to upper floors of the traditional metal-clad rickhouses. It is the original Small Batch Bourbon, having been made available even before the term was invented.
- Del Maguey Vida Mezcal $36– I love all the expressions that Del Maguey puts out but the Vida is really great for the price. A fruity bouquet complemented by honey, vanilla and agave. Palate spiced with cinnamon, sandalwood, and ginger, with a citrus undertone. Finish is smoky soft and lingering. Great on its own but especially great in cocktails. I use this at home and behind the bar.
- Faretti Biscotti Liqueur $30– A uniquely delicious spirit, the famous Faretti liqueur comes from Northern Italy where wonderful biscotti cookies are baked in rustic brick ovens. This is one of my absolute favorite liqueurs! It is great on its own, in coffee, but especially in cocktails. You’ve probably seen me use it on the blog numerous times. It is a great substitute for when amaretto is called for in drinks and in my opinion yields a much more delicious flavor. Faretti is so festive for the holidays and makes a wonderful Christmas gift. Crack it open with coffee and dessert!