Gift Guide 2015: Holiday Spirits & Libations

by W. Andrew Powell
Auchentoshan Scotch Whisky

Get into the holiday spirit with The GATE’s suggestions for libations that will make your friends, loved ones, and colleagues smile just a little brighter this season. In our latest gift guide we’ve got recommendations for a range of premium spirits from Auchentoshan, Bowmore, Grand Marnier, Chic Choc, Basil Hayden, Hennessy, Clicquot, Grey Goose, and Bacardi.

Auchentoshan American Oak | $54.80

Auchentoshan’s American Oak Scotch whisky is my new favorite dram for a crisp winter evening. It tastes like a late summer night, or a warm fall afternoon, with smooth notes of vanilla, and even harvest fruit like crisp peach, with a finish of sugared spices.

On the nose, this bright gold Scotch smells of bourbon, and citrus zest, which is a hint to its maturation in American bourbon casks after its been triple distilled, but there’s also no missing a hint of coconut in the whisky, which makes it taste fresh, but beautifully seasoned.

Auchentoshan American Oak is a great gift, or keep it around to crack open during a social evening at home. It also pairs delightfully next to beer, including IPAs or even a coffee porter.

Bowmore 12 Year Old
Bowmore 12 Year Old | $59.95

For the seasoned Scotch drinker, Bowmore 12 Year Old is a classic whisky that’s made for savouring on a relaxing night, or toasting the successes of the year with friends and family. It’s a smoky whisky with a hint of peat that opens up its sweetness with a little ice or a drop of water, but dare to sample it straight to get the real impact of this gem of a Scotch.

The balance of the whisky comes from the perfect blend of the heavier peaty smokiness with lighter notes of lemon, alongside honey, caramel, and with a finish that is sweet and demands long, languid sampling.

Grand Marnier Louis-Alexandre
Grand Marnier Louis-Alexandre | $69.95

If you love Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, or know someone who does, Grand Marnier Louis-Alexandre is a delectable gift that takes that love to the next level with a finish that is long and nicely spicy.

This Canadian exclusive liquor is gold and bright with that tell-tale sweet, dried orange rind aroma that tastes of citrus and Earl Grey tea. Featuring 82% Cognac, which has been aged up to 10 years, Grand Marnier Louis-Alexandre is delicious served straight, on the rocks, or in a truly premium cocktail.

Chic Choc Spiced Rum
Chic Choc Spiced Rum | $33.75

Chic Choc Spiced Rum is a special, Canadian-made spiced rum that comes from the Chic Choc Mountains in Quebec, where the distillers use six indigenous spices to create this spicy, subtly peppery liquor.

Tasting of sugar cane, ginger, and cinnamon, the spiced rum compliments a range of cocktails, but this time of year it’s especially well suited to a spiked apple cider, or try it in a Dark and Stormy, or maybe an extra-spicy eggnog.

Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey | $51.95

If you’re looking for a great mixing bourbon, or a bourbon to entice a novice into the fold, Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a spicy treat for the senses that mixes honey and burnt sugar with a clean finish.

The peppery notes can liven up any cocktail, and Basil Hayden’s Bourbon Whiskey work with a range of cocktails that you might not expect. Try it in a Manhattan, or twist on the classic Old Fashioned, but there are also some classic recipes made just for Basil Hayden’s, including My Old Missouri Mistress, and the Basil Hayden’s Louisville Cocktail.

Hennessy Holiday Box
Hennessy Holiday Box | $65.75

Want to give the cognac lover in your life a treat and the glasses to enjoy them? The Hennessy Holiday Box includes Hennessy Very Special with two tumbler glasses, which makes it perfect for the friend who may just want to open up the box and enjoy this classic cognac with you right after they open it.Veuve Clicquot Suitcase
Clicquot Suitcase | $69.20

Clicquot Champagne knows how to travel in style, which makes it a very fashionable gift to give this holiday season. Packed in a special Clicquot Suitcase, this premium bottle of Champagne is sure to leave that friend, colleague, or loved one smiling when they see what you’ve wrapped up for them.Grey Goose VX
Grey Goose VX | $100

Grey Goose VX is a special, premium new vodka blended with a hint of cognac, making it an exceptional sipping liquor that also brings unique flavours to premium cocktails. It’s a vodka that will surely wow anyone on your list.

Added to the richness of Grey Goose vodka, VX has subtle aromatic notes courtesy of the cognac, which brings the scent of fruit and wild honey to the blend.

Personalized Bacardi Maestro
Personalized Bacardi Maestro | $29.95

If you have ever wanted to give a truly personal gift for the person who has everything in their bar, the Personalized Bacardi Maestro just might be the solution.

During the holidays, Bacardi is offering the option at premium liquor stores across Canada to get your giftee’s name on their own bottle of Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron, which is a double-adged white rum, or Bacardi Gran Reserva Ocho Años.

Please note that all prices are based on Ontario. Prices vary by state and province.

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