Six Gift Ideas for the Cocktail Lover on Your List
Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey ($60)
After enjoying a cult following in Colorado, this handcrafted whiskey—distilled with local Colorado malted barley cut with Rocky Mountain water from Eldorado Springs—rolled out nationwide. The potent whiskey is non-chill filtered and bottled by hand at 94 proof. Delivered in a tall heavy glass bottle with a tin-cup closure, this artisanal gem is richly textured and has sweet coffee and caramel notes. stranahans.com.
Pikesville Rye ($50)
Heaven Hill Brands recently launched this super-premium, six-year-old, 110-proof straight rye whiskey. A traditional three-grain American straight rye, it has earthy and smoky aromas and comes off as dry with vivid spice and honeyed rye flavors, notes of vanilla, cocoa and clove on its long finish. Rye is having a renaissance in the mixology world and high-proof rye stands out well in classic cocktails like Manhattans and Sazeracs. heavenhill.com.
Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or ($75)
Made in Ross-shire, Scotland, this single malt, finished in casks that once held Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes, is beloved by female whiskey drinkers for its honey gold color and seductive flavor of ginger, dates, nutmeg, lemon meringue and crème anglaise. At a recent tasting in New York City, Bill Lumsden, head of whisky creation for Glenmorangie, described its aroma as “stepping through the door of a French patisserie.” glenmorangie.com.
Domaines Hine Bonneuil 2005 ($140)
This limited-edition Grande Champagne cognac is made as a single estate, single harvest expression, the first of its kind in a new collection, offering only 18 casks or 8,100 bottles. As one of the few cognac houses growing its own Ugni Blanc grapes, Domaines Hine uses estate grapes from its 297 acres to make this artisanal cognac. With floral and grape fragrances, it displays a heady mix of tangy, spicy and sweet notes including pepper, licorice, gingerbread, clove, honey and pineapple. domaineshine.com.
Fonseca Classic Vintage Porto 2011 ($120)
Fonseca, celebrating its 200th anniversary, uses grapes from its three estate vineyards in Portugal’s Douro Valley for this inky black, concentrated “declared” vintage (which indicates a top quality year). With intense aromas of blackberry, black currant, plum and hints of herbs, dark chocolate and licorice, this precious Port (foot-treaded in lagares and aged for two years in oak) pairs beautifully with blue cheese and berries. fonseca.pt.
Flor de Caña Centenario 18 ($50)
Made by the same family for 125 years from a single estate in Nicaragua, Flor de Caña grows its sugar cane sustainably near an active volcano. With the volcanic soil contributing to the molasses’ rich and deep flavor, this exceptionally smooth amber rum, aged 18 years in American white-oak bourbon barrels, exhibits an array of flavors from tropical (pineapple, coconut, banana) to fig, licorice and baking spices. It’s lovely as a sipping rum neat or on the rocks with an orange twist. flordecana.com.
A version of this article appeared in the December 2015 issue of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens with the headline: That's the Spirit!.