One holiday may be behind us, but we’ve got a couple more before we call it quits on this year. And the ones coming up kind of require you to buy gifts for people. I know…Capitalism! Am I, right?
Look, I know it’s stressful; but don’t worry, I’ve got you. Whenever I don’t know what to get someone for Christmas, I fall back to a bottle of alcohol. One, it’s a relatively easy and cheap gift. Two, they usually share some with you, so you’re kind of gifting yourself.
In this article, I will go into different bottles and brands you should look for, which are the best bang for their buck, and so on. I’m sure you can probably guess by the headings which bottles are cheaper and which are more expensive.
Bottles for Relatives You Kind of Like
For the cousins, uncles, and mom’s boyfriends of the world.
Tequila: Arette Tequila $25-$40
This stuff is delicious. Arette is named after a gold medal award-winning horse, which means that horse will be more accomplished than most of us, and if that doesn’t make you want to drink, I don’t know what will.
Yes, Casamigos does not make this list, and it never will. Most tequilas add coloring and flavoring to their product. They are legally allowed to do this, so don’t get mad at Mr. Clooney, but only give Casamigos to your worst enemies. The brands that strive to make a clean unaltered product will always be better. Arette is one of those brands. Their blanco, reposado, and añejo tequila are all some of my favorites.
Whiskey: Rittenhouse $26
This rye whiskey has been in just about every restaurant I’ve worked. It ends up in the well most of the time, not because it’s cheap, but because it makes a delicious cocktail. It’s spicy but slightly sweet. Use it in a Manhattan.
This American rye is bottled in bond, meaning bartenders love it. If you want to know what bottled in bond means, go ask your local bartender…we love talking about it.
Gin: St. George $30ish (depends on which bottle)
Ok, this one could probably be in the next two categories. I really love this gin, and it won’t break the bank. This Californian distillery makes some of the best gin I’ve ever tasted. The botanicals they use are sourced from northern California’s forests, and their gins are well-crafted.
They are very botanical, so these gins work very well in stirred drinks, like a Martini or Negroni but can overpower a shaken cocktail. These gins will impress enthusiasts and casual drinkers alike.
Bottles for Relatives You Love
The moms, the dads, the siblings, and your lush of a grandma.
Whiskey: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof $70
Elijah Craig makes some great American whiskey. Their small batch is also great, so if you don’t want to break the bank on this barrel-proof bottle, no worries. Opting for Elijah Craig’s small batch will not disappoint anyone, as this bourbon whiskey is at the top of most people’s lists.
Elijah Craig claims to be the father of charred casks, but most American whiskey producers claim that, so who knows? What I do know is that these bottles make some great cocktails. I swear, this makes the best Old Fashioned and makes even better shots.
Irish Whiskey: Redbreast 12yr $70
We all took shots of Jameson in college, and personally, I was turned off by Irish whiskey altogether because of it, but Redbreast is truly one of my favorite all-time whiskeys. Their cask strength and sherry cask bottles are also great, but their standard bottle is just perfect.
Tequila: Fortaleza Reposado $70
This hand-blown bottle contains one of, if not the best tequilas you can buy. You can splurge on Casa Dragones or Clase Azul, but this agave distillery makes some quality juice.
Nothing much more I can say about it, really. It’s not Casamigos which already makes me love it. No additives, obviously, great as a sipper, and it makes a clean Margarita.
Bottles to Make Your In-Laws Actually Like You
Good luck with that.
Bourbon: Old Fitzgerald Bourbon $ (Depends, but a lot)
Ok, sorry, I couldn’t give a price statement on this. These bottles have such a small release each year that this limited edition whiskey’s prices vary wildly. Buying from a reseller can cost you around $500, but if you can find it at the store, it’ll probably be less than $200.
Old Fitzgerald’s Straight Bourbon Whiskey is becoming the new Pappy Van Winkle, or it’s safe to say it already is; either way, this is a great gift idea, and all the more impressive if you can actually find it.
Scotch: Balvenie 15yr Sherry Cask $150
I’m a sucker for sherry cask finished Scotch. Any of them will do, Macallan is fine in a pinch, but Balvenie makes one of the best versions of this category.
Honestly, you’d do well to get any sort of Scotch to impress someone. I personally love single malt highland Scotches more than Islay, but that’s just me, no one will be mad at a bottle of Lagavulin.
Cognac: Hennessy XO $150
Cognac has a pretty old history in America; we’ve been drinking it for a long time, but much like Irish whiskey, people have negatively associated it with Hennessy. But guess what? Hennessy is actually really good, so shut up.
Hennessy XO is a delicious holiday gift. Frankly, I hope to be someone’s mercurial in-law someday just so they can win my affection with this bottle.
Bottles for Relatives You Wish Didn’t Show Up
Get them nothing and spend the next 364 days not thinking about them. Or:
Casamigos: Bad Tequila $? (I have never looked it up)
The worst Batman.
Gifts for Yourself
Wow, that was a lot…now, don’t forget about yourself. You can’t expect others to match your gifts, so rather than feeling disappointed by your family again, just get yourself something nice.
Bar Tool Set
How are you going to help your family drink their new bottles of booze without being able to whip them (and you) up a cocktail? Cocktail Kingdom sells some of the best barware out there. Seriously, everything that I have that I didn’t steal from work was bought at the Cocktail Kingdom.
Impress your family by making them some cocktails, but wait, you don’t know how to make cocktails? Wow, then I guess you better get yourself a…
You must have known a plug was coming, and here it is. Put your new bar tool set to good use and learn from real bartenders. We have collectively worked for decades and have drank Casamigos, so you don’t have to. We’re doing classes on bar techniques, spirit education, and all in all, we just have a good time. So come join the fam and take a seat at our bar. Check us out here.
And if you want to gift an HBIC membership, that is totally cool, too. Ok, love you, bye.