Drinkhacker’s 2023 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

Drinkhacker’s 2023 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some festivities in the form of holiday revelry. Naturally, the holidays mean gift-giving time is nigh, and you’re going to want recommendations for what to wrap up and stash under the tree.

As always, this year we want your gift-giving to make a statement, but we know that money is tight for folks, so we really tried to a) keep prices down while b) keeping novelty high. We’ve kept most of our picks at or under $100 this year, with only a couple of “splurge” offerings for those with bigger budgets and more exotic tastes. Of course, prices will vary widely depending on the retailer; the costs listed below are all current as of the publication of this story, but they can change any time.

You’ll find most of these products available from our retail partners at Flaviar, Caskers, Total WineFrootbat, and Wine.com. You can also search multiple stores at wine-searcher to find the best prices on all these products and more from shops across the internet. If you can’t find something — or want a bespoke recommendation for a special someone that isn’t well-represented by our list — please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or drop us a line.

Oh, and don’t forget to don your DH colors with all new official Drinkhacker merch that goes well beyond t-shirts now, and we’d love to engage with you on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter/X, or all three.

Finally, don’t forget that previous picks are still out there and make great gifts. For more top gift ideas check out the archives and read our 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008 holiday guides.

Bourbon – Filibuster Triple Cask Bourbon Tokaji Finished ($100) – Sure, you can pick up any number of standby bottlings for holiday gifting, but if you want to make a real statement, seek out this bottling from Filibuster, which blends in-house distillate with MGP stock, then finishes it in sweet Tokaji wine barrels. We’re also big fans of Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea New York Edition Bourbon ($100), proofed with NYC famed tap water, the impressive 2XO The Innkeeper’s Blend ($95), and this year’s dazzling Blood Oath Bourbon Whiskey Pact 9 ($200), which is finished in sherry casks. All of these are excellent departure from the usual suspects… of which there are plenty to admire. We’ll be rounding up our 10 whiskeys of the year list in mid-December, as usual. Stay tuned.

Scotch – Glenmorangie “A Tale of Tokyo” ($100) – You’ll pay through the nose for Japanese whisky, so why not try a cracking homage to the stuff, courtesy of this outstanding bottling from Glenmorangie? Peat lovers will dig Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2014 Heavily Peated Islay Single Malt ($95), and the Port-finished Cragganmore Distillers Edition 2023 ($80) is an outstanding bargain for its quality. If you’ve got a little higher budget, you’ll make a massive statement with the new Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami ($350).

Other Whiskey – Bardstown Bourbon Company Collaborative Series: Foursquare ($130) – So many worthy gift options this year, but for something truly unique yet stellar in quality, check out this special edition from Bardstown Bourbon Company, which blends old rye and older bourbon, then finishes it for two years in rum casks. Shockingly cheaper now than it was upon release. A close second for this spot is Teeling Single Pot Still Virgin Portuguese Oak Irish Whiskey ($100), another huge winner from the Dublin upstart. Also check out the blended mutt Whiskey Jypsi Legacy Batch 001 ($195) and Old Elk Infinity Blend 2022 ($140), a mix of bourbon and wheat whiskeys.

Gin – Citadelle Gin Vive le Cornichon ($33) – Citadelle’s French, pickle-infused gin was a winner when it released earlier this year, and the distillery just announced a new batch was hitting the market, so there should be plenty to go around. Other off-the-beaten-path picks include homegrown Kuiper Belt Dry Gin ($35), UK-born Silent Pool Gin ($40), and one of our new California-distilled favorites, St. George Botanivore Gin ($30). All are excellent bargains. For more thoughts, check out our most recent top 10 gins list.

Vodka Crystal Head Onyx Vodka ($50) – This expression of Crystal Head doesn’t just come in the iconic skull decanter (this one black), it’s actually made from agave. But it’s not tequila. Conversation piece? You got it. Excellent alternatives: Beattie’s Distillers Potato Vodka ($30), Zakuska Vodka ($33), and Supergay Vodka ($25) — though that might make a different statement than intended at Christmas.

Rum – Plantation Rum Fiji Islands 2009 ($85) – Once again there is so much great rum out there, it’s hard to go wrong. Your best bang for the buck is probably this banger from Plantation, a single vintage Fijian rum that has more fruit than you can probably imagine in store for you. Also big fans of Papa’s Pilar Rum Legacy Edition 2022 ($85) and Isautier Traditional 16 Years Old ($145), though the latter is getting up there in price. For more solid picks, see our most recent top 10 rums list.

Brandy – Cognac Park VS Carte Blanche ($30) – It may seem “cheap” to recommend a $30 VS Cognac as a gift, but pound for pound I don’t think you’ll find a better pour in the brandy category. If you want to spend more money, that’s an option of course. Version Francaise Maison Fontan Armagnac 1998 ($120) and Through the Grapevine Camus Ile de Re 11 Years Old Bois Ordinaires ($131) are both hard to find, but worth the ordeal. And Remy Martin XO Cognac ($160) is still a solid pick.

Tequila – Lalo Tequila Blanco ($40) – Man, we just love this stuff — a killer, perfectly balanced blanco that drinks great on its own and mixes impressively, too, and it’s not too expensive, either. If you want to go upscale, consider Gran Centenario Cristalino Tequila ($80), Patron El Alto Reposado Tequila ($130), or the seductive Expresiones del Corazon Eagle Rare Anejo 2022 ($160). Of course, our sparkly new top 10 tequilas and mezcals list has plenty more options, too.

Liqueur – Heimat Barrel Finished Bosc Pear Liqueur ($45) – We love all of Heimat’s liqueurs, but this barrel-finished pear liqueur holds a special place in our hearts and on our bartop. More great options: Giffard Pamplemousse ($22) — that’s grapefruit to you — and the lively Amaricano Amaro ($45), an American spin on the Italian digestif.

Wine You can’t ever go wrong with a bottle of wine. Two recent top 10s are available for your perusal on that front: our top 10 wines for summer and our top 10 wines for winter features.

Books – Some of our favorite titles from 2023: Backcountry Cocktails: Civilized Drinks for Wild Places, The Ice Book: Cool Cubes, Clear Spheres, and Other Chill Cocktail Crafts, Champagne Magnum Opus, How to Drink Australian, and A Passion for Whisky.

Remember: If you need another custom gift idea (or have a different budget), drop us a line or leave a comment here and we’ll offer our best advice!

Looking to buy any of the above? Give our retail partners at Flaviar, Caskers, Total Wine, Frootbat, and Wine.com a try! Remember you can search multiple stores at wine-searcher for hard-to-find products. And Flaviar’s spirits subscription kits are a great way to try dozens of spirits each year for a reasonable price.

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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.

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