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The Loop

The best booze gifts to give (and get) this holiday season

December 11, 2018
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Calling all clueless husbands, overwhelmed wives, out-of-touch dads, and procrastinating sons. Paging all Christmas trees, menorahs, kinaras, and aluminum Festivus poles. The holidays are here and it’s time to give the gift of getting through it—AKA booze. So whether you’re giving, getting, or just treating yourself, we're here to help, compiling our favorite holiday baubles and bottles so you can get back to doing what you do best: Drowning hints about grandkids and the house down the street that just went on the market with the sweet, sweet nectar of the gods.

Cruzan Hurricane Proof Rum


The only thing better than good rum is a great cause, and Cruzan’s new Hurricane Proof packs both into a single expression. Bottled at a whopping 137 proof as a nod to the wind speeds of a Category 5 hurricane, with every case of Hurricane Proof sold, Cruzan will contribute $1 to the Island Spirit Fund, dedicated to restoring the island of St. Croix in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Needless to say, charity never tasted so good.

Flaviar Whisky Advent Calendar


Buying booze for someone who knows more about it than you is a nigh impossible task, but thanks to Flaviar's Whisky Advent Calendar, now you literally can’t get it wrong. Featuring 24 days of whiskey goodness—including everything from rare Welsh whiskeys like Penderyn to NYC upstarts like Widow Jane—this adult advent calendar is the gift that just keeps giving. And hey, if your "discerning" father-in-law decides he doesn’t like one or two, who knows, maybe he’ll even kick them your way.

Rhetoric 25-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey


For six straight years, Tennessee’s Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Co. has been asking drinkers one simple question: How old is too old for bourbon? Beginning in 2012 with the 20-year-old Rhetoric, Orphan Barrel has upped the age-statement ante each year, reaching their final installment in 2018 with an impossibly mellow 25-year-old that will make you rethink everything you know (or don’t) about aging bourbon. Trust us, not even the most ardent bourbon snob will expect to find this one waiting for them under the tree.

New Riff Bourbon


If you’re embracing the “out with the old, in with the new” adage this season, try New Riff bourbon instead. Launched this year, New Riff—as its name implies—is the newest name in Kentucky bourbon, born from the heart of Newport with a little help from the so-called “Godfather of Rye” Larry Ebersol. Featuring a high-rye mash bill, New Riff glows with warm spices, dark berries, and even refreshing mint notes, but most importantly it’s bottled in bond, for those holiday moments when you know only 100 proof will cut it.

YETI Insulated Wine Tumbler


The holidays are a great time to take your drinking outdoors, whether by choice (IT’S SNOWING!) or because you had to get away from your parents for 25 minutes, frostbite be damned. But just because you’re freezing your ass off doesn’t mean your hot toddy has to. Enter YETI’s stainless steel, vacuum-insulated wine tumblers, which even come with lids in case you’re on the chair lift or hiding from mom in the bushes again.

Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey


Chances are you have a Conor McGregor fanatic in your life. Perhaps they’re a little brother or a distant cousin. Maybe it's your roommate who you're bribing with a gift so they do the dishes for once. Whatever the case may be, it calls for Proper Twelve—McGregor’s brand-new Irish whiskey label that, much like the man himself, isn't afraid to go to toe-to-toe with the big boys like Jameson and Bushmills. The fanboys are already gulping this down by the gallon, but if you can find a bottle, it’s sure to be a, er, knockout.

Crystal Head Vodka John Alexander Artist Series Bottle Series


Dan Aykroyd’s Crystal Head vodka has always had one thing going for it: The bottle, an eye-catching, see-through skull that pops no matter where you put it or how you pour it. But what do you get when you turn that gleaming sphere over to acclaimed American artist John Alexander and tell him to do his worst? Well, as it turns out, one of the single most giftable spirits of the year. Amplified by Alexander’s incendiary brushstrokes, this coveted limited-edition is one time where it’s totally OK to judge a book—er, booze—by its bottle.

Laphroaig 28 Year Old


There’s someone in your life who deserves something really nice this year. We aren’t going to speculate on who or why, but for the person that truly earned it this year, there’s Laphroaig. Married in sherry casks and bursting with a palate of baked pears, salted toffee, and Laphroaig’s infamous, seafaring funk, this rustic-but-regal expression is not only one of the finest whiskies in the legendary distillery’s range, but the perfect way to say thanks to that one person who always has your back. And who knows, maybe they’ll even share a dram with you…

Wine Condoms (for wine bottles, NOT other things)


Always practice safe sipping, especially during the holidays.

Chivas Regal Mizunara


Everything in life comes full circle...including scotch. Just ask blended-malt masters Chivas, who have taken Japanese whisky—long the little brother of its Scottish brethren—and used it to inspire their latest expression, the Chivas Mizunara. The first scotch whisky to ever be finished in Japanese Mizunara casks, this groundbreaking expression plays the pupil to its former apprentice, going down smooth in layers of honey, hazelnut, and spice. If you’re looking for an affordable way to dip your toe into the very unaffordable Japanese whisky world, then give yourself the gift of Chivas.

Whiskey Cocktails recipe book


Listen, not everyone wants to (or has time) to hone their home cocktail skills, so pick your recipient wisely. But for that person who embodies DIY—who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty and isn’t afraid of pouring it all out and trying again—no recipe book is more fun this year than Assouline’s gorgeous, playful Whiskey Cocktails compendium. Oh, and you should probably make sure they like whiskey. That helps too.


Roku Gin


Nothing says Christmas like a big, piney kick of gin, but while the ol’ red-and-green Tangueray might be tempting, allow us to throw you a bit of curveball: Roku Gin, one of two new clear spirits from acclaimed Japanese whisky house Suntory. Blending traditional gin botanicals with notes of Yuzu peel, Sencha tea, and Yansho pepper, Roku Gin is sippable, mixable, and an essential component of any holiday bar...especially your dad’s, which, let’s be honest, could use a bit of an update.

Corralejo 1821 Extra Añejo


Mezcal may be getting all the hype these days, but there’s still no replacement for a good tequila. Lucky for whoever you’re buying it for (yourself?), Corralejo 1821 isn't just a good tequila, it's a stellar one, made from 100% Blue Weber Agave via a 400-year old distillation method long used by French cognac makers. The result is a rich, slow sipper simmering with subtle smoke and a flavor profile bursting with walnuts, vanilla, cinnamon, and pepper. Needless to say, you won’t find better fireside company this winter (Ron Swanson notwithstanding).

Booze Filled Ornaments


Honestly, what more do you need to know?