Getting into the Holiday Spirit: Six Gift Ideas for the Spirits Lover in Your Life
A good bottle can inspire deep solitary contemplation as much as it can spur on a lively evening celebration with friends. Here are the essential ingredients to help the spirits lover in your life indulge (responsibly) in their appreciation of whisky during the holidays and beyond.
A Dram to Savor: The Glen Grant 18 Year Old
Matured in hand-selected American oak barrels (formerly used for bourbon) and re-assembled hogshead casks, this award-winning 18 year old single malt Scotch whisky from The Glen Grant is bottled at 43% ABV. And, pleasantly, it evidences the abundant flavor subtleties and nuances one would expect from such a prolonged barrel-aging. And then some.
The Glen Grant 18 year old features a vibrant golden color with rich, floral, and malty aromas. It is first nosed and tasted neat (before adding a few drops of room-temperature water) to open the spirit and reveal the glorious layers of barley, sugar, and butterscotch that linger long on the palette.
The bright gold whisky is presented in an elegant bottle with pale blue labelling and capping. Like all exceptional offerings from Speyside-located The Glen Grant, the bottle art features a graphical sunburst pattern, almost like a guillouche watch dial.
Slip on Your Drinkin’ Shoes: Stubbs & Wootton Scotch Slippers
Palm Beach footwear designer Stubbs & Wootton is not only noted for its whimsical slipper and loafer odes to the good life but also for its creations’ unparalleled comfort.
Now, imagine resting your tired dogs in these black Spanish cotton-velvet kicks and taking a deep breath after a busy day. Your instructions for what’s next are colorful and expertly embroidered on the uppers: A nice glass of scotch on the rocks and a fine cigar. Ah, bliss!
Decant? You Can: Scully & Scully Crystal Decanter
While some whisky aficionados might prefer to leave the scotch in the dusty bottle for label-flashing and gravitas, there is nothing more elegant that decanting a pour in heavy rotation into an elegant and refined chalice for serving.
Handmade, hand-cut, and mouth-blown in England, this stunning decanter by Scully & Scully features an efficient seal and heavy stopper to ensure an air-tight fit as you work your way to the bottom. Plus, shimmering sterling silver details catch the light as much as the hand-cut facets.
Ice, Ice Baby: Cirrus Ice Ball Press
During one of my visits to Los Angeles, I was offered a fine single malt with a single large ice cube made of water from the same river in Scotland that served the spirit’s distillery. While that might have been a little over-the-top (even for L.A.), there is no doubt that a large spherical ice ball provides the least amount of surface area needed to chill a drink to perfection without sloughing off enough water to overly dilute the flavor.
Your giftee can try it for themselves with this ice ball kit from pro-quality maker Cirrus. This model produces a 6-ounce ball of crystal-clear ice that can last through multiple rounds.
Clearly Superior: Riedel Rocks Glasses
As you might be coming to understand, there can be more than a few overly fussy rituals often associated with whisky drinking. But one thing is a lock: Riedel is the king of wine and cocktail glassware, bar none.
While there are some who lean more towards vessels like a snifter or even a shot-glass for the delivery of single malt, a good, solid rocks glass provides the most flexible bang for the buck and a home bar. A finger or two straight? No problem. A touch of ice? Why not? These hand-cut, bottom-textured crystal glasses sport just the right amount of weight and heft to make anyone’s bend of the brown stuff an exercise in elegance.
Keep It Clean: Swiss Bartender’s Apron
Because some of Watchonista’s team is based in Switzerland, our team in the U.S. frequently travels there for business. Ergo: We’ve done a fair amount of drinking in the Cantons and can say with a fair bit of certainty that if you walk into a bar in Switzerland and the tender is wearing one of these full leather aprons from Boska, you know you are in the hands of a pro.
Luckily, that air of professionalism (not to mention style) can also be extended to your favorite at-home bartender by giving them their very own Boska full leather apron. Replete with the same kind of ingenious, down-to-the-last-details accoutrement that made Swiss watches famous, this leather apron in either blue or brown is the perfect gift.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)