It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year. As is the tradition at Luxurious Magazine, we’ve put together a guide to alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to inspire those who want to make this time of year more memorable. This year’s picks are perfect for gifting, making a toast or simply enjoying with friends and family.
Havana Club Selección de Maestros
This Christmas, why not ‘spice’ things up with a bottle of Havana Club Selección de Maestros, the ultimate spirit for rum connoisseurs? The Selección de Maestros is an exceptional rum that takes the spirit game up a notch or two. It was crafted by the renowned Maestros del Ron Cubano and offers an initial burst of spicy toasted pecans on the nose, rounded off with a full-bodied palate of cocoa, coffee and brown spices.
Those fortunate to taste it can expect lingering flavours of smoky oak and candied fruits, delivering a remarkably luxurious finish. It is the ultimate festive favourite to cosy up with and is available in Waitrose, Master of Malt, or The Whisky Exchange, with an RRP of £49-51.
Bottles from The GlenDronach Distillery
I need far more than two hands to count the number of friends I have who appreciate a good glass of whisky, and whittling down the mind-blowing number of brands and blends to just a couple has been a challenging task. However, I have been able to do it, and the first of the whisky entries in this year’s guide come from The GlenDronach, one of the oldest licenced distilleries in Scotland.
The distillery is known for its full-bodied spirits, matured in Spanish Sherry Oak casks. My two suggestions are The GlenDronach Aged 12 Years is a single malt that was matured in a combination of the finest Spanish Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks. The other is the Glendronach Revival Aged 15 Years, which offers sumptuous notes of dark fruits, decadent chocolate and manuka honey, making it ideal for fireside sitting and sipping at Christmas. For more information on both of my suggestions, please visit www.glendronachdistillery.com.
The Lost Explorer Mezcal Personalised Bottles
The Lost Explorer Mezcal is a sustainable, handcrafted spirit made using 100% agave in Valles Centrales, Oaxaca, Mexico. Try to imagine the look on someone’s face when you give them a bottle with their name on it or with a short meaningful message; it’s odd-on no one else would have thought of doing that. If there is a minor downside, you only have 18 characters to play with, so outside of someone’s name, you’ll need to be creative! The bottle personalisation option is available from The Lost Explorer Website and getitinkd.
Black Lion Luxury British Vodka – The conversation starter
Vodka is not a drink that automatically springs to mind when thinking about Christmas; however, what makes this an ideal festive drink is it will guarantee to start the conversation flowing. If you have friends and family around this Christmas, it is almost certain that your guests will never have sampled a luxury vodka made from sheep’s milk! Black Lion is the brainchild of the husband and wife team, Tim and Tanya Spittle, who produce it from their rare breed flock on their Cotswolds farm. You can read all about it and where to buy it in our dedicated feature here.
LIND & LIME Gin
Gin is one of the most popular festive tipples, and over recent years, their been an enormous number of excellent gins hitting the market. Choosing one or two for the guide has proven difficult due to the choice. We decided to include a bottle of LIND & LIME Gin; a London Dry Gin distilled in Leith, Scotland. Regular readers will know that I am somewhat partial to great bottle design; fortunately, this gin has one. The bottle sports an attractive art deco-type pattern, which makes it ideal for gifting or adding some extra wow factor this Christmas. The bottle’s RRP is £35.00, and you can learn more at lindandlime.com.
The Glasgow Distillery Co.’s Glasgow 1770 Crackers
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without some crackers. However, these crackers are meant to be enjoyed by people of a certain age, not the young ones! The Glasgow Distillery Co. is an independent distillery. This year, they’ve introduced Glasgow 1770 Single Malt Crackers, which make for great stocking fillers or add some extra wow for whisky enthusiasts at the table.
In addition to the crackers, the distillers are also offering personalised labels on bottles of Original and Peated Glasgow 1770 Single Malt Scotch Whisky at their popup shop in Princes Square, Glasgow. You can read more about them and see their full range at www.glasgowdistillery.com.
Make a toast with Lanson Le Blanc de Blancs
Unfortunately, the passing of people is an inevitable fact of life, and it always seems that there are always more than the previous years. One person who affected people more than any other with their passing is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and it is this that has prompted me to include the Lanson Le Blanc de Blancs in this year’s guide.
Lanson is one of the few Champagne houses that carried her Majesty’s personal Royal Warrant, which meant it had to meet her very high standards. The Lanson Le Blanc de Blancs is a delicious drink, enhanced by a pure mineral finish and is ideal for making a toast. You can read why in our dedicated feature here.
The Berry Bros. & Rudd Selection
If I had to pick something from Berry Bros. & Rudd to go into the drinks guide, it would be a nigh-impossible task; after all, they are Britain’s original wines and spirits merchants, and they boast an enormous catalogue. Fortunately, they made the task simple as they have some bottles that will go down extremely well at Christmas.
The first is their Classic Sherry Cask Malt, which offers notes of deep fruit, nuts and citrus. In addition, they have their Classic Islay Malt, a blend of casks and finally, and most appropriately, is the Teaninich 2007 Christmas Edition (above), with its green wax seal. You can purchase all three bottles from the merchant’s website www.bbr.com.
The Artisan Perfect Pink Gin and Tonic Gift Set
The Artisan Drinks Co. was founded by Steve Cooper, Alan Walsh and Mikey Enright. All of the drinks they produce are made with 100% natural ingredients, and unlike many others on the market, they are not drowned in sugar or artificial ingredients.
The Perfect Pink Gin and Tonic Gift Set is full of flavour thanks to its pairing of pink citrus tonic waters and Masons of Yorkshire Pear and Pink Peppercorn Gin. Each set contains one The Artisan Drinks Company Pink Citrus Tonic 200ml bottle, one The Artisan Drinks Company Yuzu Tokyo Tonic 200ml bottle and two bottles of Masons of Yorkshire Pear and Pink Peppercorn Gin 5cl. The set is priced at £16 and is available from https://artisandrinks.com.
Some Low or No Alcohol Drinks
APRTF – Perfect for the Mindful Drinker
APRTF is a non-alcoholic alternative to aperitif, which should go down a treat with the health-conscious and those who practice Teetotalism. It is made with orange and wormwood, a perennial herb that has been used for an age for medicinal purposes. APRTF is an ideal alternative to drinks such as Campari and is also great for mixing in cocktails. I mentioned it is ideal for the health-conscious, and this is because it only contains ten calories in each 50ml serving. In addition to this, it is also gluten-free and ideal for vegans. It is priced at £19.95 for 50cl and for 70cl the price is £26.
Oddbird’s Low Intervention Alcohol-free Organic Red Wine
The Oddbird low Intervention Organic wines are completely free of alcohol and, in addition, contain no artificial colours, e-numbers or aromas. The organic red wine is vegan-friendly and, like the APRTF, is an ideal drink for the health-conscious as it contains just 1/10th of the calories found in traditional alcohol-based wines.
This alcohol-free red wine is a supple blend of Merlot and Pinot Noir from Breganze, which has been fermented spontaneously and aged for 12 months. It s one of those drinks that pretty much everyone can enjoy, thanks to its hints of Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry and Wood. The RRP is £12.99 for 75cl and is available from Harvey Nichols, All Things Drinks and Dry Drinker.
Iron & Fire special coffee gift pack for Christmas
Only some people want to partake in alcohol at Christmas. The speciality coffee roaster, Iron & Fire, has launched special coffee gift packs for Christmas, and they are the perfect present for the discerning coffee lover. The pack we’ve chosen to include contains all three of its festive themes coffees, Santa’s Bean, Winters Blend and On the Rocks. The gift pack is priced at £25 and contains three (whole bean or ground) 220gm bags. You can get more information at ironandfire.co.uk.
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