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Cocktail Holiday Gift Guide: The Booze Edition

Five spirited options for spreading a little extra holiday cheer


Absolut Elyx with Felix the gnome.

Whether you’re looking for a host/hostess gift, a present for your boss, or something special for your favorite cocktail-loving someone, here are my five picks for spirited gifts:

Elyx Vodka

Earlier this year, I wrote about Elyx, Absolut’s “luxury” vodka that’s won over craft cocktail bartenders—like the folks at Noble Experiment, who previously had a “no vodka” rule. For the vodka fan on your list—and there’s no shame in admitting to being one—you can’t go wrong with Elyx. Pick up a limited-edition gift pack featuring Felix, the Elyx gnome, who doubles as a copper drinking vessel. He’s a tomte—a type of gnome in Scandinavian folklore who guards the homestead. (And who couldn’t use a little extra protection from evil these days?) If you’d like to test-drive Felix, through the end of December, three places are offering specialty cocktails served in a Felix container: Miss B’s Coconut Club, Noble Experiment, and Cowboy Star (whose “Gnome on the Range” sounds especially tasty: Elyx vodka, spiced mulled wine, fresh-pressed apple juice, apple cider syrup, and bitters).

Amaro Nonino

This is perhaps my favorite liqueur. It’s a grappa, aged five years in oak barrels, resulting in a smooth, spicy sipper with lots of caramel flavors. It’s lovely chilled and served as an after-dinner drink and pairs well with most desserts. It’s also the star of modern-day classics like the Paper Plane. After searching for it locally for a good year or so, I finally found it at BevMo.

Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky

Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky

Japanese whiskeys are hot right now. This one’s reasonably priced, easy to find (Costco, y’all!) and even easier to drink. Bring this to a party and it’ll be gone before the party’s half over. (And that’s not a misspelling in the name: it’s made using a type of still called a Coffey still.)

WhistlePig Old World Cask Finish

A couple years ago, a friend turned me on to Whistle Pig rye whiskey. I’m not a huge fan of rye, which tends to have more of a bite to it—it’s fine in cocktails, but not really something to drink on its own. WhistlePig is different (its background is quite interesting) and has become one of my favorites. Pick up a bottle of their 12-year rye, aged in European oak casks, for the whiskey aficionado on your list.

Spirit Works Sloe Gin

Spirit Works distillery is producing some really fine products, including a sloe gin that I first tried at Bankers Hill (bar manager Zack Gray is a fan). Made from English blackthorn berries, sloe gin has been described as being kind of like a boozy mulled wine. Traditionally, it’s served as an after-dinner drink, but it’s also great in cocktails (like the Sloe Gin Fizz) or served with some sparkling wine. Find it at the downtown Krisp (on Seventh Avenue), The Wine Bank, and Keg N Bottle on El Cajon Boulevard.

Got suggestions for a future post? Write to 2kellydavis@gmail.com.

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