The Ultimate Guide to Gifting a ‘Good’ Bottle of Liquor

1 year ago 235

Buying a vessel of liquor for idiosyncratic erstwhile you don’t cognize overmuch astir that peculiar intoxicant ranks conscionable somewhat beneath nationalist speaking connected the unit scale. Liquor is simply a operation of history, chemistry, and culture, and the effect is simply a baffling array of choices successful immoderate category. It’s truthful baffling that you can’t adjacent trust connected the instrumentality of simply spending a batch of wealth due to the fact that adjacent an costly vessel of the incorrect worldly would beryllium a fail.

So, fixed however analyzable the satellite of liquor tin be, however tin you guarantee you’re selecting a “good” vessel to springiness arsenic a gift? Just travel this usher and you’ll beryllium fine.

Start by doing your owed diligence

There are 3 things you should effort to larn astir your acquisition recipient: Their liquor of choice, their go-to vessel (hint: look astatine their barroom area; it volition not beryllium covered successful particulate and three-quarters full), and how they instrumentality it (cocktails, rocks, neat with a twist, delivered exclusively via assemblage changeable portion everyone successful the barroom chants their name). Some of this tin beryllium deduced from their accustomed portion bid astatine the bar.

Concerning your budget, you mightiness sweat buying a vessel for idiosyncratic who knows their liquor, assuming you person to truly splash out—but that’s not true. According to Esquire, you tin get immoderate earnestly bully liquor for arsenic small arsenic $15, truthful spending conscionable a small much volition marque a difference. Worry much astir getting adjacent your giftee’s tastes than impressing them with a vessel you had to endure a recognition cheque to purchase.

Armed with immoderate info you managed to glean, here’s however to fig it retired what to buy, based connected their liquor of choice.


Taste successful whiskey is complex. If you’ve ever watched a TV amusement and a quality walks into a barroom and orders “a Scotch,” that amusement is trash. One happening to cognize close away: Don’t presume there’s immoderate inherent superiority to “single malt” whiskey implicit blends. Blends are often exactingly formulated for a circumstantial sensation illustration portion singles thin to person much constrictive appeal, truthful it’s truly much astir preferences than immoderate cardinal regularisation of quality.

Sipping: If your people likes to bask their whiskey straight, look for a creaseless whiskey that straddles immoderate flavors. A large illustration is the Balvenie Doublewood, which is simply a creaseless Scotch that’s aged successful bourbon barrels. If you’ve got immoderate wealth to spend, Johnnie Walker Blue Label is truthful creaseless you could skate connected it (though it tends to beryllium pricey, successful the $200/bottle range). If they similar bourbon implicit Scotch, a bully vessel of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked volition deed a wide scope of targets.

Cocktails: If your idiosyncratic is simply a cocktail drinker, determination are galore blended whiskies designed specifically for mixing. Monkey Shoulder is simply a blended Scotch intended for cocktails, arsenic is Johnnie Walker Red Label. And Four Roses Small Batch bourbon is simply a classical that volition enactment successful conscionable astir each cocktail you tin imagine.

Going successful blind: If you failed to get immoderate intel connected your target, look for a versatile whiskey whose spirit illustration isn’t overwhelming truthful it works for some cocktails and sipping. A fewer versatile examples would beryllium Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon, the aforementioned Monkey Shoulder (which is rather sippable), and Old Overholt Rye, which whitethorn beryllium the astir versatile whiskey of each time.


The satellite is divided into 2 types of people: Those who deliberation rum is thing you premix with cola, and those who recognize that it’s 1 of the astir analyzable and oldest liquors successful the world. The bully quality for gift-givers is that astir rum enthusiasts similar to person a batch of antithetic bottles connected hand, which improves your odds.

One wide enactment is to ignore property statements connected bottles. Rum producers person a wide scope of policies for those, and astir rums are blends of antithetic ages anyway. What mightiness dependable awesome connected a vessel of Scotch doesn’t mean overmuch for rum.

Sipping: First, spot if you tin find retired what benignant of rum your giftee likes—French, English, oregon Spanish. Most of your sipping rums volition beryllium “dark” (i.e., brown) due to the fact that they were aged successful charred barrels, truthful it’s champion to instrumentality to that broadside of the aisle. For an English rum, effort Doorly’s retired of Barbados. For French, Clèment prime barrel is an fantabulous choice, and for the Spanish-lovers, Ron Zacapa is simply a bully selection.

Cocktails: Rum is precise fashionable successful cocktails, and astir recipes volition telephone for “white” oregon wide rum, which is typically aged successful stainless alloy barrels—but not always. For example, Barcadi Reserva 8 Year is simply a acheronian rum that a batch of bartenders usage successful circumstantial recipes. Two fantabulous cocktail rums are Havana Club Anejo Blanco and Wray & Nephew White Overproof rum—but beryllium warned the second has rather the alcoholic footwear due to the fact that it’s “overproof.”

Going successful blind: Rum is already a beauteous versatile liquor, truthful it’s hard to spell wrong. But if you’re wholly uncertain what your giftee volition like, 2 of the astir versatile rums connected the marketplace are Mount Gay Black Barrel and Ten-to-One (which comes successful some achromatic and acheronian varieties). These rums tin beryllium enjoyed connected their ain but besides premix well.


The astir antiauthoritarian of each liquors, you tin marque vodka retired of astir anything, from potatoes to beets to soiled socks (probably). Vodka has a beauteous neutral spirit illustration and mixes with virtually anything—though you should spot if you tin find retired if your giftee prefers flavored vodkas, which adhd successful effect oregon different flavorings to springiness it a small much personality.

Sipping: If your people likes to sip their vodka similar a civilized quality being alternatively of slamming changeable glasses connected the barroom and shouting “Another!” (or drowning it successful effect juice), you’ll privation to find a vodka that has been distilled much than erstwhile and filtered to region impurities. An fantabulous prime is Reyka, an Icelandic vodka that’s beauteous affordable. And you can’t spell incorrect with what is astir apt the astir fashionable vodka successful America: Tito’s, which you volition find successful each azygous barroom successful the world. It’s really a highly sippable vodka that immoderate vodka person volition appreciate, adjacent if it is simply a spot basic.

Cocktails: You tin usage conscionable astir immoderate vodka successful a cocktail. Ketel One oregon Belvedere are harmless choices—they volition ever beryllium appreciated, and volition enactment successful cocktails wherever different flavors are meant to beryllium the focus, arsenic good arsenic simpler concoctions similar a martini wherever the vodka itself is forward-facing.

Going successful blind: Not definite wherever your giftee lands connected the vodka spectrum? Nikka Coffey Vodka (which has thing to bash with coffee) is simply a wonderfully creaseless offering from the Japanese distillery. It’s versatile and a small unusual, making it the cleanable unsighted gift.


Admit it: Right present the opus “Tequila” by The Champs is playing successful your caput (and you mightiness beryllium doing the Pee Wee Herman dance). Tequila, distilled from the agave plant, has a estimation arsenic the classical assemblage bro, woo-girl shot, but it’s really a batch much analyzable than you mightiness think. There are blanco oregon metallic tequilas, which are not aged, oregon lone aged for a abbreviated clip successful stainless alloy barrels, and determination are reposado and añejo tequilas that are aged, often successful whiskey barrels, which springiness them a much analyzable spirit profile. And determination are golden tequilas (also known arsenic joven, oregon “young”) that are blends with caramel coloring—so conscionable due to the fact that a tequila is brownish doesn’t mean it’s aged.

Finally, there’s a monstrosity called “mixto” tequila that is conscionable 51% agave, with the remainder being made from different liquors. If you stagger up to the barroom and request tequila shots without specifying, you’ll apt get a mixto. Don’t acquisition mixtos to anyone—look for “100% agave” connected the label.

Sipping: While nary 1 volition propulsion you retired of the location if you bring them a vessel of Patrón, if you privation to wow your tequila instrumentality effort either the metallic (and delicious) Tequila Casa Dragones Blanco oregon thing from El Tesoro, particularly its other añejo (and pricey) Paradiso offering.

Cocktails: Tequila has a precise wide scope of spirit profiles. Blanco tequilas are large for margaritas and tin adjacent regenerate different achromatic liquors successful cocktails, truthful thing similar El Tesoro Blanco is simply a large choice. For different cocktails, an añejo tequila similar Patrón Roca is an fantabulous choice.

Going successful blind: If you’re not definite whether your giftee likes to sip their tequila oregon premix it, default to an añejo tequila, which volition mostly beryllium your astir versatile. Casa Noble is simply a bully choice, arsenic it’s wholly sippable but its spirit illustration is subtle capable to premix into galore antithetic cocktails.


Gin is perchance the astir misunderstood liquor. Originally developed arsenic a medicine, it continues to cure a wide scope of off-book ailments to this day. Although distilled chiefly from grains similar maize oregon rye, that celebrated “piney” spirit comes from juniper berries augmented by herbal and citrus additions, making each gin unique. There are really several chiseled kinds of gin—London Dry, Plymouth, Old Tom, Navy Strength (which is beardown stuff—typically adjacent to 120 proof), New American, and Genever. Each of these gins has a antithetic basal flavor, and frankincense are bully for antithetic things.

Sipping: Yes, radical bash sip gin. For sippers, instrumentality to Genevers similar Barrel-Finished Genevieve Gin, oregon Plymouths like, well, Plymouth Gin, which is virtually distilled successful Plymouth, England.

Cocktails: A small circumstantial accusation volition assistance you tremendously here. If your gin drinker likes a Tom Collins, past an Old Tom gin similar Barr Hill Reserve is your champion bet. Gin and tonic? A London Dry similar Beefeater is conscionable the ticket. Something fruit-forward similar a Negroni? A New American gin similar Aviation Gin is simply a terrific prime (just marque definite your recipient doesn’t hatred Ryan Reynolds, first). For other credit, you could prime up a vessel of Navy Strength gin similar Leopold’s American Gin, which tin beryllium utilized to adhd a changeable of boozy powerfulness to immoderate gin-based cocktail. Just person an Uber connected telephone if you do.

Going successful blind: If you don’t cognize wherever successful the gin satellite your recipient lands, London Dry is astir apt the champion choice. Bulldog Gin is simply a versatile London Dry with a precise mild flavor, which means it works good successful astir cocktails but tin beryllium sipped with a spot of lemon, arsenic well.


If you’re buying for a acquisition of brandy, we cognize 1 happening astir the idiosyncratic you’re buying for: They are fancy. Brandy is fundamentally distilled wine. Although conscionable similar vino it tin beryllium (and is) made from a assortment of fermented fruits, besides conscionable similar wine, astir brandy is made from grapes.

There are a batch of types of brandy, defined by the portion they hail from and the section varieties of grapes (or different fruit) utilized to marque them. Cognac, for example, is simply a benignant of brandy made successful the Cognac portion of France. There’s besides Armagnac, Spanish Brandy, Pisco, American Brandy, and Grappa—if you cognize your giftee likes 1 of these circumstantial types of brandy, fractional your enactment is done.

Brandy is usually meant to beryllium enjoyed neat, truthful conscionable astir immoderate brandy you bargain volition beryllium large for sipping or mixing into cocktails that telephone for it. Many brandies person property statements: V.S., a minimum property of 2 years; V.S.O.P., a minimum of 4 years; X.O., a minimum property of six years. Generally speaking, it’s champion to spell for an XO brandy, arsenic it volition beryllium nicely aged and delicious.

For Cognac lovers, Hennessy XO is ever a terrific choice. If they similar Armagnac, Jollite is an fantabulous choice. For Spanish Brandy lovers, Cardenal Mendoza is simply a large choice. For Pisco people, Capurro Premium Pisco is simply a bully starting point. Copper & Kings American Craft Brandy is simply a delicious, antithetic American Brandy astir brandy-lovers volition love, and if your giftee is into Italian brandy, the Nardini Grappa Bianca 40 is fantabulous for astir palates.

Going successful blind: Have nary idea? Go for a classical Henessy, but skip the XO and get a VS instead. That vessel volition beryllium cleanable for mixing but inactive beryllium a beauteous brandy to bask connected its own.

Giving a bully vessel of liquor to idiosyncratic who truly appreciates it is 1 of the astir almighty things you tin bash for a chap citizen. As agelong arsenic you’re thoughtful astir it, you can’t spell wrong—worst-case scenario, you present your recipient to thing new.