Presents Perfect: 12 Bottles of Booze For The Alcohol Enthusiast In Your Life
What on earth do you gift that person who has drunk everything? Let this spirited gift guide help you out
Christmas shopping can be tricky for that lushy friend (or relative) with a taste for fine spirits. Let us make it easy for you with this list of the 12 best spirits to gift this Christmas. Curated by Cyrene dela Rosa, an enthusiast who used to teach beverage management at Enderun Colleges, every bottle on this list is a unique and thoughtful find guaranteed to please.
1. Clairin 2018 Le Rocher (Haiti)
Clairin, the native rum of Haiti, is a clear, unaged cane spirit made in the microbreweries that dot the Haitian countryside. Each one makes clairin with its own unique taste and terroir. The result is a wild spirit that uses archaic production methods, indigenous yeasts, wild cane, and follows local tastes and traditions. “If Brazil has its cachaça, then Haiti has its clairin," says dela Rosa. "Le Rocher clairin, in particular, is different because it’s made of sugarcane syrup instead of juice. I like its pure, organic rum that’s naturally fermented with no dilution, filtration or additions." Available at The Booze Shop.
2. Derrumbes Durango Mezcal (Mexico)
An historic spirit well known for its various expressions, this mezcal is made with agave from Durango, a state in northern Mexico. Made using traditional roasting methods then distilled in copper pots, this mezcal has notes of tropical fruit and a smokey pinewood backbone that showcases how well this spirit explores the concept of terroir as it applies to mezcal. Available at The Booze Shop.
3. Código 1530 Rose Tequila (Mexico)
Level up your drinks with this elegant, rose-colored tequila, which used to be just a local recipe enjoyed by some tequila-making families in Amatitan, a small town in Mexico. To make it, the tequila is allowed to rest for a month in barrels that used to hold Napa Valley cabernet. The interaction of the agave with the wine results in this pretty millennial pink. Buy it here.
4. Grappa Moscato (Italy)
Grappa is brandy distilled from grape pomace, the skins left over after grapes have been pressed to make wine. An ancient drink, it's popular today as a digestif. Zanin Grappa Moscato is a nice and easygoing liquor with the pulpy residue of moscato grapes. It's sweeter than most grappas, and tends to linger on the palate. Available at Terry's Bistro & Gourmet Store.
5. Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask Whisky
This single malt whisky has had a 14-year maturation period in traditional oak casks before being transferred to casks that previously held Carribbean rum to finish aging. This process imparts extra sweetness and ultimately produces a well-rounded whisky with subtle tropical flavor notes of pineapple and coconut, “My favorite Balvenie,” says Dela Rosa. Available at Hilltop Mart and The Booze Shop.
6. Crows Eau De Vie De Mangue (Philippines)
This small batch eau de vie (literally "water of life" or brandy) is made using the sweetest available Philippine mangoes. An ideal digestif, it pairs well with dessert or with a cigar. It's an excellent brandy, redolent with the aroma of mangoes just on the verge of ripeness. Available by special order only from Crows Craft Brewery
7. ARC Botanical Gin (Philippines)
This award-winning spirit is made with 28 fresh botanicals, of which 22 are proudly sourced from around the Philippines, like oranges from Sagada, pine buds from Benguet, and pomelo from Davao. The result is a clean, elegant drink that embodies the rich diversity of the Philippines. Ideal for G&T’s. Available at The Booze Shop, Kultura and Tesoros.
8. Sorgin Small-Batch Sauvignon Gin (France)
The first spirit project of Sabine Jaren and Francois Lurton, well known winegrower and the owner of vineyards in several countries, Sorgin is one of the best small batch gins I’ve tried. Made with a choice of botanicals and distillate of sauvignon blanc grapes, this is a must-try for the serious gin imbiber and wine lover alike. Buy it here.
9. Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça (Brazil)
The purest representation of organic sugarcane from southern Brazil, this silver cachaça proves terroir matters. Redolent of the aroma of bananas, with notes of floral rainforest, and sea salt to balance its tropicality, this cachaça is 100% handcrafted using organic ingredients and following sustainable practices. It’s a cachaça clearly focused on quality and will make for extra tasty caipirinhas. Available at Wine Depot and Wine Warehouse.
10. Plantation 20th Anniversary XO Rum
Aged first in bourbon casks in Barbados, this rum is then finished in casks originally used for Pierre Fernand cognac. This double aging gives it smoothness, complexity and a sophisticated palate of chocolate, vanilla, ripe banana, roasted coconut, and a hint of fresh mangoes. A rum to savor. Available at Wine Depot and Wine Warehouse.
11. Izumibashi Black Tombo Kimoto Junmai Sake (Japan)
Easy to spot, thanks to the prominent black tombo (dragonfly) on its label, this special sake from Kanagawa prefecture has a reserved, understated aroma. It's light with delicate flavors, and is delicious when served slightly warm. It's perfect for enhancing rich flavors or cutting through oil — try it with grilled meats and barbecues. Buy it here.
12. Kimoto No Dobu Sake (Japan)
For the sake purist, Kubo Honke Brewery’s main label makes this white unrefined sake that’s full bodied and rich in flavor. It’s a nigori or a cloudy style sake. Enjoy this chilled or cold on a warm day. Buy it here.