Drinkhacker’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

Drinkhacker’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

Happy Thanksgiving! While you’re enjoying your turkey, stuffing, and pie, many a thanksgiver’s thoughts turn to booze. Specifically, what one might buy for a favored loved one come holiday time. I’ve collected all my favorite spirits from 2011 here for you, but this is just a small sampling of what’s worthy on the market right now. Scan through the category of your choice for other ideas, and chime in with your own gift ideas!

Also check out our 2010, 2009, and 2008 holiday guides.

Bourbon – Big Bottom Whiskey 2 Years Old Port Cask Finish ($40) – Technically not a Bourbon, but close enough. I gave only two A+ grades (outside of event coverage) all year, and this was one of them. Finding this now will be tough (we’ll have a review of the 3 Years Old version shortly), so if this doesn’t pan out try Parker’s Heritage Collection Cognac Finished 10 Years Old ($80) or Col. E.H. Taylor Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon ($70). You can also try Angel’s Envy ($45), technically a 2010 release but also Port-finished and about as good as Big Bottom.

Scotch – The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve ($375) – This is my “go-to” whisky right now, though it’s rapidly depleting, and the price may make it a big much for anyone short of a spouse. If you can find  Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix ($95) or Laphroaig Cairdeas ($60), both make outstanding gifts. And MacKinlay’s “Shackleton” ($150) is worth the price alone for the conversation value.

GinBloom Gin ($29) – No question on this one. The floral but not perfumy Bloom is one of my favorite gins today. It may be made for a woman, but it’s powerful enough for a man.

Vodka – Russian Standard Gold Vodka – At $45, it’s pushing the boundaries of what anyone should pay for a neutral spirit, but it’s good and the package is striking enough to require no wrapping paper, saving you a few bucks. For your more avant-garde friends, check out Sub Rosa’s Flavored Vodkas ($30) or a bottle of Skyy Blood Orange ($18).

Rum – Montanya Platino Rum ($30) – So much good rum came out this year, but Montanya’s simple, pure, and bracing white rum is my winner for what you should give a loved one. Bottled in Colorado, not Latin America, they’ll immediately want to know more. For more traditional gifts, I also loved Berrys’ Own Panama Rum 10 Years Old ($80) and Brugal Extra Viejo ($27).

Brandy – “Original Gangster” XO Brandy ($25) – This gift works on a couple of levels. First, the packaging and name are so ridiculous that your hipster friends will get a solid, 25 dollar laugh out of it. Second, the brandy is actually pretty good, so you can actually drink it when you’re done giggling.

TequilaCasa Dragones ($275) – The other A+ I gave this year, but considering the price of this. Tequila is still on the rise, and lots of good stuff is on the market, including Gran Dovejo Blanco ($47), El Gran Jubileo Extra Anejo ($65), and Excellia Blanco ($50), among many others.

Liqueur – Tatratea (up to $60) – A collection of five tea-flavored liqueurs, each increasing in proof level. Exotic and bizarre, and totally worthwhile for the liquor snob who has everything. Home cocktail enthusiasts would also love a little Pimento Dram ($28) or the all-new Drambuie 15 ($56).

Looking to buy any of the above? Give our retail partners at Flaviar, Caskers, Total WineFrootbat, and Wine.com a try!

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. FulfilledDeer on November 30, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Any ideas for an Irish Whiskey drinker? Preferably not something outrageously expensive, but good nonetheless?

    Oh! Also, since I’m posting anyway, and you have the new reviewer, what about beer? Something really solid but fun that could expand the horizons of some of my less well tasted friends?


  2. Christopher Null on December 1, 2011 at 9:10 am

    FulfilledDeer – John L. Sullivan is IMO the best Irish on the market right now, though I know everyone’s gaga for the new Redbreast 15 Year Old, too.

  3. Greg Bruce on December 1, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Hi FulfilledDear: Now is the perfect time to introduce new beers to your friends! Many breweries put out sampler or gift boxes this time of year that cover a variety of styles. The Samuel Adams Winter Classics pack this year has 6 different beers, including a coffee stout, chocolate bock, and a spiced ale in Old Fezziwig. It’s fairly cheap, but the seasonals are flavorful enough without being heavy.

    Belgian beers are also great, especially for gifts, as they also can come in a larger 750ml corked & caged bottle. St. Bernardus releases its Christmas Ale for the holidays and should be well-received! These two recommendations are made knowing they should be available nearly anywhere. Good luck!

  4. FulfilledDeer on December 2, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Thanks guys! I read your John L. Sullivan review a while back and intended to pick it up, but never did. Last night I got 2 bottles (1 for me) and you’re right, it’s a really solid whiskey, especially for the price. Gotta love the logo too.

    Greg, solid ideas. I’m really happy you’re giving Drinkhacker more beer coverage. I really should have thought of the Sam Adams Winter Classics – Fezziwig is a favorite of mine. And I’ll definitely give the Christmas Ale a shot.

  5. aronovitz asher on May 4, 2012 at 4:09 am

    want to buy on line “petre heering” spirit . please your help. Tanks

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.