Michelle Obama famously said “When they go low, we go high.” I have a similar philosophy when it comes to last-minute Christmas shopping: When they pack the shops, I hit the liquor store. No, not to drink but to pick up some some presents for bosses, neighbors, business associates, clients and the odd cocktail aficionados on my list. Now if you prefer to try your luck in the scrum that is just about any boutique or department store this week, be my guest. All others, consider the following…
Compass Box makes some of the loveliest blended whisky around—complex and flavorful. Even better, they also have some of the most stylish bottles. Their Signature Range highlights the spectrum of whisky styles, from the light and delicate Asyla to the bold Peat Monster. This bottle, Hedonism, is bang in the middle. It’s rare, blended from 100 percent grain Scotch whisky, and is only produced once a year when the whiskymakers find the right casks with the right flavor profiles. The rarity makes it a perfect gift for the whisky-lover on your list. The flavor—rich, sweet, with hints of vanilla and pastry cream—make it a great entry-level dram for those new to whisky. That gorgeous label will ensure it pride of place in anyone’s home bar. Prices vary between about $110 and $130.
If Hedonism is a bit pricey, grab a bottle of Compass Box’s Great King Street Artist’s Blend. It’s a well-balanced combination of grain and malt whiskies. It was m entry to Compass Box, and thus I think of it as their calling card. It sips great with a splash of water or ice and really works well in a scotch and soda or other cocktail. And just look at that bottle! So stylish. This one can be yours for about $35
Take the bourbon drinker on your list back to the beginning: The good Reverend Craig founded his distillery in 1789 (it’s right on the bottle). Elijah Craig Small Batch is made exclusively from batches of 200 barrels or less of 8-year-old to 12-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This year, Heaven Hill Distillery, the family-run company that owns the Elijah Craig brand has introduced a sleek new bottle. In keeping with our theme, the bottle is as beautiful as the contents are delicious. You can pick up a bottle for about $40
Back in 1972, the Rolling Stones kicked off their North American tour with an epic party in San Francisco. The bartender introduced the band to the tequila sunrise, made with Jose Cuervo, which jump-started the cocktail’s popularity. Confession:Long after that ’72 tour, the tequila sunrise (silver tequila, orange juice and grenadine) was my post-college go-to drink. Jose Cuervo has commemorated that time with this limited-edition release. It can be yours for around $22. Pick one up for the Stones (or tequila) fan on your list.