Top 10 drinks, spirits & kits for the holiday season | Whisky, vodka, gin, rum, and more

by W. Andrew Powell
Drinks and spirits holiday gift guide

From drink ideas for holiday celebrations, to gift giving ideas for the friend or family member who enjoys a good cocktail or spirit, here are 10 suggestions for drinks and spirits for anyone on your list.

Plus, check out three extra gift ideas that are totally unique, including a smoked Old Fashioned kit, mini bar, and a kit to make your own gin.

This holiday season, and always, please drink responsibly.

The Singleton of Glendullan 12 Year Old

Singleton of Glendullan 12 Year Old | $57

Whisky is one of my favourite drinks any time of year, but during the holidays it’s an extra special treat as a gift, and for cocktails. In particular, The Singleton of Glendullan 12 Year Old single malt Scotch is a treat that’s aged in American oak casks, and it’s so delicious.

The whisky is an enjoyable, creamy, and lightly sweet spirit with flavours of nuts, vanilla, toffee, and brown sugar. It’s a perfect whisky for sipping, and it’s also excellent in cocktails. I especially loved mixing it for a wonderful Old Fashioned, but it’s great in all kinds of cocktails.

Grey Goose for the holidays

Grey Goose | $51

Grey Goose is the perfect vodka for making elevated vodka cocktails this holiday season, and it makes a perfect gift in the new seasonal holiday gift box.

The vodka is so perfectly smooth, silky, and a little sweet, that it’s excellent neat or on ice, but of course it also makes excellent cocktails like a classic martini, a Moscow mule, or a spritz.

For a twist on your usual vodka cocktails, try mixing and garnishing your drinks this time of year with cranberries, cinnamon, lemon, oranges, and even peppermint or, if you want to have a really fun twist, candy canes.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Johnnie Walker Blue Label | $309

For a little luxury in your life, it doesn’t get much better than Johnnie Walker Blue Label. The premium Scotch is made from only one in every 10,000 barrels, to get the perfect, exceptional flavour, and it has a profile like no other whisky.

With flavours of vanilla, honey, rose petals, and orange, it’s a completely unique and exceptional whisky that lingers beautifully with just a hint of smoke. I love Johnnie Walker overall, but it’s hard to top this one.

For the cold winter nights ahead, it’s a gift says you really care for the whisky lover in your life.

Patrón Tequila Reposado

Patrón Tequila Reposado | $91

Patrón makes exceptional tequilas, and their lightly amber Patrón Tequila Reposado is a smooth, sweet, and balanced gift made from 100% blue weber agave.

The elegant tequila is made for sipping, especially chilled or strained over ice, but it’s also incredible in elevated cocktails. Flavours of agave, oak, citrus, and honey lend themselves to a range of cocktails, including the Perfect Patrón Margarita.

As a holiday treat, it’s the “perfect” margarita to try, savour, and enjoy.

Limited Edition Bombay Sapphire Gin Spray Can Gift Tin

Limited Edition Bombay Sapphire Gin Spray Can Gift Tin | $30

Bombay Sapphire is a delicious gin, and it always makes me think of the holidays, especially with something as classic as a Bombay Sapphire Negroni.

The tasty botanical-infused gin has wonderful balance in cocktails, and it’s a treat in simple cocktails, like a gin and tonic, or something as complex as a Cover Club.

This holiday season, I also love the fun, fresh design of the Spray Can gift tin that was created by Ottawa Artist, Fiona McBean. The faux spray can fits a regular bottle of Bombay Sapphire inside, and it’s a fun piece to show off this holiday season.

Canadian Club 44 Year Old

Canadian Club 44 Year Old | $329

Canadian Club is one of Canada’s oldest whisky brands, so it only makes sense that they also make the oldest, most delicious, aged Canadian whiskies.

Canadian Club 44 Year Old is the distiller’s fourth edition of their premium age-stated whisky, and it’s a rich, beautiful, and complex spirit.

With flavours of dried fruit, plum, spices, chocolate, and a deeply satisfying finish, it’s a wonderful spirit that makes an excellent gift that they can really savour. And once they’re finally done, the bottle is a striking collectible.

Bacardi Reserva Ocho Sherry Cask Finish

Bacardi Reserva Ocho Sherry Cask Finish | $36

The first in a 5-part limited edition collection, Bacardi Reserva Ocho Sherry Cask Finish is a perfectly aged rum with a lot of character and a flavour that will pair with a lot of treats this holiday season.

Aged in American oak barrels for eight to 12 years, and then finished in Oloroso sherry casks for two months, this gorgeous rum is like few others out there.

The colour is rich, and deep, and it’s smooth, with nice notes of sherry, especially in the finish. It’s a wonderful rum neat, or try it in a hot toddy, or perfect for this time of year, and Old Cuban.

Cada Dia

cada día | $89

Traditional Mexican reposado tequila meets a distinctly Canadian influence in cada día, an artisanal spirit that’s a delicious treat any time of year.

The medium-bodied tequila has notes of fruit, agave, caramel, oak, and citrus, and it pairs well with steak or chicken sliders.

I love the aroma of this small batch tequila, and the smooth way it goes down. I also love mixing with it, and in particular, I recommend trying a Jalisco Hot Chocolate. The special holiday cocktail includes vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, and cayenne.

Martini Asti

Martini Asti | $14

For a sweet toast over the holidays, Martini Asti is a classic sparkling wine at the right price, and it’s made from 100% Moscato Bianco grapes grown in the Asti vineyards of Piemonte.

The award winning sparkling wine pairs well with a range of appetizers or desserts, it’s light and delectable, and it’s a great gift for anyone craving an indulgent glass of taste of Northern Italy.

I’d also recommend it if you have a cocktail that calls for sparkling wine.

G & Tonik

G & Tonik

For holiday entertaining, take a little of the work out of your next get together with these light and refreshing gin and tonics, made with juniper, tonic, and lime that’s perfect poured over ice or chilled.

G & Tonik is wonderful, and the pre-made cocktails from Laval, QC feature 7% alcohol, and they’re available in select stores.

Smoked Old Fashioned kit

Smoked Old Fashioned kit | $179

Aside from drinks, this kit is one of my favourite things that I’ve found all year. The Smoked Old Fashioned kit is the perfect gift for the whisky and cocktail lovers who want to try a delicious twist on classic drinks.

The kit comes with five aromatic wood blocks that you lightly burn using a small butane torch to smoke your cocktail glasses. It also includes Canadian bitters and boutique Quebec Maple Syrup, two ice ball molds, a muddler, bar spoon, and recipe cards.

While it’s especially made to use for making Old Fashioneds, I also love smoking a glass to add flavour to my favourite whiskies. Each wood type also offers different flavours, with suggestions on what you can use them with.

Ginius GinKit

Ginius GinKit | $67

What does it take to make your own gin? It’s as easy as 1 – 2 -3. The Ginius GinKit includes everything to make your own gin, including juniper berries, herbs, two bottles, labels, and a funnel and strainer. To get started, the only other thing you need is a neutral alcohol–like a simple vodka–and in two days you have an original gin.

The kit is incredibly easy to use, and I love how much care and attention has been put into all of the details, from the bottles of herbs to the labels and directions.

Plus, my gin turned out wonderfully. They even include a chart so you can tell when the gin is perfectly ready.

Mini bar by Boîtes de la paix

Mini bar by Boîtes de la paix | $595

Finally, for the collector who has it all, except for a great way to store their drinks and spirits, the Mini bar by Boîtes de la paix is a beautifully restored military ammunition box that comes in red, sienna, antique, orange, and natural colours to match any space.

Designed and made in Montreal, the vintage-styled boxes can be wall mounted and hold up to 7 bottles, with holes in the top for extra room.

It makes a beautiful addition to a rec-room, home bar, or office or living room.

Visit The GATE’s 2022 Holiday Gift Guides for more giveaways & holiday features.

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