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The 12 Drinks Of Christmas—Wines, Spirits, And A Partridge In A Pear Tree

Wondering what to get alcohol-loving friends for Christmas? I’ve got a holiday themed list that may not only help with the shopping rush, but may also be festive and fun. I mean, what’s a proper Christmas without a classic carol like “The 12 Days of Christmas,” right?



12 Drummers Drumming: Remy Martin Limited Edition Matt W. Moore VSOP Cognac

S&R Membership Shopping,

This being the end of the list of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” I figure I’d recommend something I normally end a hearty dinner with. This limited-edition bottle features artwork by world-famous American visual artist Matt Moore.



11 Pipers Piping: Lagavulin 16 Single Malt Whisky

The Booze Shop, Jupiter Street, Makati City,

Talking about pipes brings about thoughts of smoke, which is exactly what Islay Scotch is all about. This one in particular has a hint of elegance in that the smoky notes give way to a great structure, and the peaty characters aren’t too aggressive.



10 Lords a Leaping: Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine Depot stores in Makati, Greenhills, Alabang, SM Aura,

I know it seems like I’m copping out by using wordplay. It may be true, but I have to say that this multi-awarded wine with dark notes of blackberries, plums, violets, leather, and tobacco is great to pair with meaty Christmas dinners (a juicy prime rib comes to mind).



9 Ladies Dancing: Château Haut-Bailly

Wine Story stores in Rockwell, Serendra, Shangri-La Plaza,

This was the first wine that popped in my head the moment I saw the word “lady.” It’s personal, but one of the most important (and elegant) ladies I’ve met from Bordeaux is Madame Veronique Sanders of Château Haut-Bailly. I also find that her wine is a reflection of her sophistication, so it’s an absolute must-have and a perfect gift for an avid wino.



8 Maids a Milking: Tequila Ocho

Wine Depot stores in Makati, Greenhills, Alabang, SM Aura,

Again, I will admit to this being a play on words, but I chose to add a tequila to the list because, hey, some people prefer a livelier Christmas party. I’ve always found tequila the perfect drink to up the ante to any party, and this brand is a great way to elevate the tequila experience.



7 Swans a Swimming: Gin Mare and Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water

S&R Membership Shopping,

When someone mentions “Mediterranean” to me, I think of southern European regions that have an abundance of wine, olives, and herbs. These places also have a close proximity to the sea (for swimming, of course). This is why I added a Mediterranean-style gin (which uses botanicals from Spain, Italy, Turkey, and Greece) to the list, paired with Mediterranean tonic water.



6 Geese a Laying: Château Les Carmes de Rieussec Sauternes

Bacchus Epicerie stores in Rockwell and Alabang,

One of the classic food-and-wine pairing combinations involves pan-fried goose liver (i.e., foie gras) and the liquid gold of the wine world: rich Sauternes. Normally, people get intimidated buying proper Sauternes because it can get pretty pricey, but Château Les Carmes de Rieussec is great value for money.



5 Golden Rings: The Five Variants of Michter’s Bourbon

Wine Depot stores in Makati, Greenhills, Alabang, SM Aura,

This collection—Bourbon, Straight Rye, Sour Mash, Single Barrel Bourbon, and Single Barrel Straight Rye—is something I recommend as a gift for avid Bourbon fans. Not the often stereotyped “grandpa’s drink,” these variants are a great way to illustrate the differences in characteristics of approachable (but no less elegant) Bourbon and rye. They’re excellent to use for cocktails, too.



4 Calling Birds: Selvarey White Rum

One of the classic but rarely talked about cocktails is the Yellow Bird. This is made from white rum, Galliano, triple sec, and lime juice. What I like about Selvarey is that it’s equal parts characterful and smooth. It also gets bonus points for being created by international music sensation, Bruno Mars.



3 French Hens: Ménage à Trois Midnight

Rustan’s Supermarket,

I like that this wine is a French play on the word “three,” and also reminds me of counting down to midnight for traditional Noche Buena. This predominantly Merlot blend is great for red wine aficionados who prefer an easy yet characterful wine.



2 Turtle Doves: Möet & Chandon Ice Imperial

Rustan’s Supermarket,

Manila’s Christmas season is unusual in that it’s the peak of wedding season. This is why I thought of the ultimate wedding staple, Champagne. Of course, a bottle of bubbly isn’t just for weddings, which makes it fitting for Christmas as well. Ice Imperial may be enjoyed alone or as a cocktail, which makes it pretty unique.



A Partridge in a Pear Tree: Nid d’Amour Oeil de Perdrix

Säntis Delicatessen,

“Perdrix” is “partridge” in French. While the story behind the Oeil de Perdrix is a little on the macabre side, the wine itself is food friendly and is an excellent addition to a Christmas dinner. In fact, it’s one of the styles I recommend with Filipino food.


Photos by Paulo Valenzuela

Styling by Angelique Castro

Illustrations by Butchie Peña



Gail Sotelo has a WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits. She is a wine consultant, blogger, and lecturer. She owns the drink blog which aims to make wine and other drinks accessible to everybody, and holds classes at Enderun Colleges.