What To Drink Now: Holiday Spirits

Why not give them what they really want for Christmas this year….the gift of spirits.  Let’s face it, spirits are the one thing you are almost guaranteed won’t be re-gifted, and if your timing is right, you can often enjoy them too.  Here are some favorites that are sure to bring joy and glee to their recipient, a few selections were sent for editorial consideration.

Scotch, Bourbon and Whisky -
A good single malt will show even the most persnickety just how much you care, and if you are looking for the best go straight to The Macallan Single Malt Scotch Whiskey. Created in Speyside since 1824 bringing in smoky layers of earthiness into their smooth, distinct and complex scotch.  My personal favorite is the Macallan 18 Sherry Cask Single Malt, aged for 18 years in Spanish oak casks previously seasoned with sherry, creating intense, layered flavors of caramel, orange peel and spice.  A perfect introductory scotch would be The Macallan 12, with some of the same spice and caramel characteristics, just a bit lighter.  Shopping tip – I found this the other day at the liquor store attached to the new Sam’s at Northwest Highway and Skillman for less than $40 a bottle, no membership needed.

Sipping Bourbon, like sipping tequila or sipping scotch, isn’t the most common way to drink the spirit, however Maker’s Mark 46 aims to change that by taking their full-bodied and easy to drink Bourbon up a notch by taking fully matured in oak Bourbon to the next level by then adding seasoned and seared French oak staves to the barrel and then replacing the Bourbon to age it some more.  The length of time this secondary aging takes place isn’t specific, it is aged until the taste meets the Maker’s Mark standard with flavors of creamy caramel, vanilla and toasted nuts.

Canadian Club Classic 12 Year Aged Whisky celebrates the art of a great blend by taking various 12 year whiskies aged in charred oak barrels and creating a smooth whisky with toasted hazelnut, sweet honey, orange peel and toffee flavors.  A delicious whisky on its own or created into cocktails, like a classic Manhattan taking 2 parts CC Classic 12 and adding 1/2 part sweet Vermouth, dash bitters and orange peel and a maraschino cherry.

Looking to add a personal touch to your holiday gift on one of the finest blended whiskies of them all? Friday night, December 23, Sigel’s in Addison will host a bottle etching of Johnnie Walker Blue Label from 5pm-8pm.  Johnnie Walker Blue Label is truly one of the best around, blending hand picked whisky from the extensive Walker reserves to create a delicious, unique and special spirit.  Sigel’s will have special pricing as well, the normally $260 bottle will be $199.99 on Friday – a great deal if you wanted to give one to yourself as well.

Vodka, Rum and Tequila –
Who doesn’t love a bottle of Grey Goose?  Often seen on many home liquor shelves, especially in one of their festive flavors like orange, citrus or pear.  Created in France from winter wheat, distilled and blended with pure spring water, this clean, neutral vodka is the ideal mixer with everything from orange juice to soda water. Sigel’s on Fitzhugh will have an engraving event on Saturday from 2p-5p on any flavor of Grey Goose, also good if you need to stock you own bar shelves.

The toasting of Vodka in Russia isn’t just what is done in celebration, it is a way of life with shots of ice cold vodka hoisted on all occasion with hearty cheers of “Za Udachu!” (Good Luck!)  Russian Standard Vodka makes this even easier this holiday with a special gift pack available throughout Dallas at various liquor stores which includes a 1.75 liter bottle of Russian Standard vodka and a 350ml bottle (for taking to grandma’s).  Remember, always lock eyes with the one you are toasting when raising a glass.

Ron Abuelo Centuria Rum celebrates the 100 year anniversary of the Varela Family, owners of Ron Abuelo, making world class rum from sugar cane grown on the family’s land in Panama.  A sipping rum created from aged rums the Varela family held in their private stocks, their “Reserva de la Familia”, creating a smooth, well-rounded and elegant sipping rum with sweet vanilla and spice.

If you have a tequila lover on your list consider Casa Dragones. Made in small batches from 100% Blue Agave Joven Tequila by Bertha Gonzalez, a Maestro Tequilero, and her team in Tequila, Mexico.  Each bottle is created from hand crafted, lead-free crystal which is hand inspected and approved.  This refined tequila defines what smooth, clean tequila can taste like with cool citrus and herbal notes.  This one steers clear of the harsh alcohol burn some tequila can have and instead creates an easy sipping spirit that will please even the non-tequila fan.

Liqueurs -
Earlier this year Grand Marnier launched Quintessence, an exclusive blend of vintage Congac and special reserves of the Marnier-Lapostolle family aged up to 60 years blended with double distilled Citrus Bigaradia orange essence, the secret of Grand Marnier, where oranges are macerated in an aromatic orange essence before being distilled. This blend of cognac and orange essence is aged in French oak to marry their flavors creating the final quintessential taste of orange perfection.

For anyone who loves champagne or a vodka martini with a twist consider a bottle of either St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur or Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur.  Though completely different, both will add an incredible burst of flavor to your favorite glass of bubbly or that boring vodka martini.
St. Germain, made from the beautiful white star shaped elderflower buds with intense floral, herbal notes with just a hint of citrus, pear and passionfruit.  A delicious addition to a variety of cocktails from bubbles, to tequila, to scotch, giving it that extra layer of va-va-va-voom.

Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur created from fresh Vietnamese ginger adds flavor, texture and spice to any cocktail, making even the most bland exciting.  Add it to your favorite sparkling wine, light rum and pineapple juice, bourbon and lemon juice, Pimm’s and ginger ale, or my favorite when I need a lift after a long day – hot green tea with an orange peel.

Patron XO Cafe blends fine coffee liqueur with ultra premium Patron tequila creating a subtle, smooth liqueur filled with espresso, chocolate and vanilla notes with just the slightest touch of citrus and just the right amount of sweetness.  Perfect on its own, in a cup of coffee or mixed into cocktails like The Onyx, blending 1 part Patron XO Cafe with 1 part coconut milk. Delicious!

One comment on “What To Drink Now: Holiday Spirits

  1. This was really helpful information. I don’t know much about hard liquor but am considering buying special bottles as presents. However it would be helpful if you included the prices in this review. I mean I can look them up but.