Drinks

5 Standout Bottles of Booze to Gift This Season

For a memorable host gift, listen to this Dead Rabbit pro
Best Liquor Gifts 2017
Photo: Dickie's Bar; London

Every holiday party brings not only the decision of what to wear but also what to take as a host gift—because if you don't know by now, nothing kills holiday cheer faster than showing up somewhere empty-handed. So do your part to keep the partying going the whole night through and gift a bottle that not only says "thank you" but also shows you have great taste.

Here to help: Greg Buda, director of education and training manager at The Dead Rabbit, the NYC bar consistently ranked among the world's best. When choosing a bottle as a host gift, Buda looks for two things: rarity and versatility. Rarity "doesn't necessarily mean that the bottle is expensive," he says, but rather "something that they won't come across at every liquor store."

In terms of versatility, Buda looks for a home bar chameleon, a "price-accessible whiskey that's good to sip on the rocks or neat, but not too expensive to use in a cocktail like an old-fashioned or Manhattan." Here are his top picks for gifts your host won't forget— even if the party does get a little hazy.

Jura 10 Single Malt Scotch

 

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"This is a beautiful island Scotch whisky, newer to the market, that can play a number of roles at home," Buda says. "It is complex and rich, making it great to sip on, but is also accessible enough to use in a cocktail." Perfect for securing that end-of-year bonus with the boss.

Green Spot "Château Léoville Barton" Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Who doesn't love a good whiskey? "This is a special version of the well-loved Green Spot Irish whiskey, finished in Bordeaux wine casks. This is the perfect Irish whiskey to have after a big holiday meal, and to me is like dessert in a glass," Buda says.

Hudson Maple Cask Rye Whiskey

If you're on the hunt for a gift that looks as good as it tastes, this is it. "Made locally in Gardiner, New York, this is a great example of a bold, punchy rye whiskey rounded out by aging in maple syrup barrels," Buda says. "It is autumn in liquid form and makes a great holiday gift, even more so because of the small apothecary-style bottle that it comes in."

 Lustau Brandy de Jerez "Solera Reserve"

"This Spanish brandy might not be something you are familiar with, but it is perfect for the holiday season. It can be enjoyed neat, of course, but also makes a great spiked cider, brandy toddy or boozy eggnog." You had us at spiked cider.

Plantation "Stiggins' Fancy" Pineapple Rum

 

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Proof that daiquiris aren't just for the beach. "You've never had a flavored rum like this before, made with real pineapples and aged until it tastes like pineapple upside-down cake. This spirit makes an incredible daiquiri for the colder weather."

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