If you’re lucky, you’ve got a spirit lover on your holiday gift list. He or she is always up for trying new releases, and gets excited about limited edition or particularly unique spirits. At least one of the suggestions below should fit in your budget and delight the recipient, and ideally, you’ll get a taste too.
Compass Box Great King Street Artist’s Blend. The Compass Box team continues to elevate blended Scotch Whiskys with their latest release, Great King Street Artist’s Blend. Using almost 50% malt whisky lends a depth not found in many other blends, and new, heavily-toasted French oak imparts toasted, sweet vanilla notes. This beauty is ideal for sipping neat, but wouldn’t be out of place in a cocktail.* ($39.99)
Brugal 1888 Rum. This new release from Brugal is ideal for sipping by the fire, if you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace. This blend of rums ranging from five to fourteen years is aged first in American white oak and next in Sherry oak casks, giving it toasty caramel and vanilla notes, but also a whisper of smokiness. Try it with a bit of dark Dominican chocolate — a perfect combination. ($50)
Glen Garioch 1994 Vintage. In 1995, the Glen Garioch distillery halted production for several years, and when it re-opened in 1997, they no longer used peat. The 1994 vintage, however, is a remnant of the earlier, peated whisky, aged in North American bourbon casks for 17 years. ($109.99)
Auchentoshan 1999 Vintage Bordeaux Cask Matured. For the single malt lover seeking something different, this extremely limited release (only 300 bottles were made available in the U.S.) has been aging in Bordeaux red wine casks since 1999. Aside from imparting a rich color, the aging process gives the spirit a creamy sweetness that plays beautifully with Auchentoshan’s citrus notes. ($69.99)
St. George Sprits Gins: Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye. This California-based distillery has released a trio of gins; at least one should appeal to the gin drinker, no matter what his or her personal preference. The Botanivore is distilled with nineteen different botanicals, making it herbaceous and bright, while the Terroir incorporates Douglas fir, California bay laurel, and California coastal sage, in order to capture the essence of the coastal forests on California’s Mount Tam in a bottle. The Dry Rye is a unique blend, leaning slightly towards the malty sweetness of a genever, but with the spicy notes of a rye. ($35 for 750ml bottle; $12 for 200ml. Purchase online at www.stgeorgespirits.com.)
* In fact, Compass Box, Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan are sponsoring a cocktail competition on Monday, January 23, 2012 at Ramscale Loft, 463 West Street, New York, at 7:00pm. There will be 2 simultaneous competitions and winners: one for the “Best Great King Street Cocktail” in Brooklyn; the other for the “Best Great King Street Cocktail” in Manhattan.
Grand Prize: The winner of each will be highlighted in a full page ad in Edible Brooklyn or Edible Manhattan: bartender’s photo, personal bio, venue name, winning cocktail to be featured. Feature will appear in the April, 2012 issue and run for 2 months.
1. The featured spirit will be Great King Street, Artist’s Blend. Bartender may use other Compass Box whiskies as secondary ingredients if they choose.
2. Bartender must use at least one locally sourced (New York State) ingredient. Bonus points for sourcing from home borough (Brooklyn or Manhattan).
3. Bartender must be associated with a venue in one of the competing boroughs (bar, restaurant, lounge)
4. Venue can enter more than one bartender to represent it
5. Besides cocktail, bartender will be judged on knowledge of Compass Box brand, Great King Street, professionalism and presentation
6. Winner will be announced on January 23, 2010 and featured at Edible’s Good Spirits event, February 28, 2012 at 82 Mercer in New York
Submissions due by December 31, 2011: via email to firstname.lastname@example.org; include:
- Bartenders name, email and phone
- Venue name
- Cocktail name, exact recipe and list of ingredients