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Nine Giftable Spirits

Make holidays more merry with beautiful bottles of booze

by Julie Wolfson in Food + Drink on 09 December 2010

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With small batch spirits and one-of-a-kind bottles on the rise, an increasing number of producers are literally bringing something new to the table.

Whether it's a 100-proof rye whiskey or champagne encased in copper you're after, these boozy options will make you welcome at the door of any holiday party. Pair any of these drinks with an appropriate literary choice authored by a famous drunk (Hunter S. Thompson, Dylan Thomas, Hemingway, etc.) or with a book like 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die for a gift that will please any lush on your list.

For more, see our piece on giftable spirits from 2009.

Aged for at least ten years in American oak barrels, the creators of WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey hand-bottle this 100-proof spirit on a former dairy farm in Shoreham, VT. The result is both strong and well balanced, picking up fans with each sip. Pick it up from Drink Up NY for the sale price of $70.

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Joe Keeper at Silver Lake, CA's Bar Keeper recommends Karlsson's Gold Vodka, which is made from fingerling potatoes, as a gift. He loves the "nice viscosity" and the pepper grinder that comes with it adds a fresh-ground peppery zip. It sells from Park Avenue Liquor Shop for $36.

Made from 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay grapes, Beau Joie's Rosé bottle comes beautifully wrapped in 2nd-generation copper scrap. The knight-inspired copper armor helps keep the champagne cold longer by eliminating the need for an ice bucket. Get it from Wally's for $110.

Joe describes Cardamaro Amaro as "funky and delicious." Infused with two odd ingredients—cardoon, a relative of the artichoke, and Blessed Thistle, an herb used to treat the bubonic plague during the Middle Ages—the amaro is produced in Italy's Piemonte region by the winemaker Giovanni Bosca. Vino has it for $23.

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Celebrating their 10th Anniversary, the small batch whisky makers at Compass Box have made a name for themselves in the world of whisky. This holiday season, the 10th Anniversary bottle of Hedonism (£200) comes from a single cask of 38 year old Invergordon. Compass Box has combined Highland, Islay and Island single malts to create Flaming Heart, now bottled with a new label designed by Alex Machin (£72). Additionally, the name for Double Single (£100) refers to a whisky being comprised of one single malt and one grain. All limited editions, they sell online from Compass Box.

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When we asked Michel Dozois from Névé Luxury Ice for boozy holiday gifts, he immediately recommended Crusoe Spiced Organic Rum. Made with organic molasses and fair trade sugar cane, Dozois loves to create cocktail recipes with this spicy spirit that also incorporates cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, vanilla and orange. The bottle is available from K & L Wine Merchants for $32.

Another recommendation from Dozois, the award-winning bitters by Bitter Truth come in flavors like Old Time Aromatic, Grapefruit, Ghocolate and Greole (($17 each). Perfect as a gift for a friend perfecting their own cocktail recipes, you can also bring the traveler's set on the plane ($20) to calm inflight nerves. Get them from Drink Up NY.

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