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The Best Holiday Spirits to Enjoy this Season and Beyond

Best holiday spirits

Photo by Christin-Slavkov / Shutterstock

Raise a glass with these fine spirits.

It’s been asked, can you bottle up the Christmas spirit to enjoy year ‘round? While you can’t do that, the spirits that you receive in a bottle as holiday gifts can be enjoyed all year. Just in time for the holidays, here are our recommendations for spirited gifts that will get you remembered.

Wild Turkey Whiskey Masters Keep Revival - Bottle and Box

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Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Revival
The connoisseur will enjoy Revival, the third U.S. expression in Master Distiller Eddie Russell’s Master’s Keep series of exceptional bourbons. Launched this past May, Revival features 12- to 15-year-old Wild Turkey Bourbon finished in handpicked 30-year-old Oloroso Sherry casks from Jerez, Spain. This technique gives the bourbon a nose of cherry pie, raisins, citrus, nuts and a touch of oak. It delivers soft and creamy hints of spice and sweet tropical fruits, balanced with long and lingering notes of honey, spice and dried apricots. Only 1,600 cases are available in the U.S. market.

Russell's Reserve 15 year old bourbon - Bottle and Box

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Russell’s Reserve 2002
Collectors will savor Russell’s Reserve 2002, a sublime vintage of ultra-rare, 15-year-old bourbon and the first non-chill-filtered, barrel-proof offering in the Russell’s Reserve collection. This ultra-rare liquid has a nose of stone fruits, pear, citrus, oak and a hint of white pepper. It features notes of grapefruit, white chocolate and gentle spice, with a finish that’s long and malty with notes of cream, banana and coconut. Only 3,000 bottles are available for purchase.

Wild Turkey Longbranch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey - Bottle and Glass

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Wild Turkey Longbranch
This is a more approachable whiskey in both taste profile and cost. Wild Turkey Master Distiller Eddie Russell, and Wild Turkey Creative Director Matthew McConaughey, worked together to create Wild Turkey Longbranch, a small-batch Kentucky Bourbon which debuted in April. Eight-year-old Wild Turkey Bourbon is refined in Texas mesquite and oak charcoal to create a balanced blend of vanilla and spices with flavors of caramel and pear, and hints of citrus. The subtle, smoky finish is buttery smooth, with notes of gentle pepper and a toasted oak finish.

Rabbit Hole Straight Bourbon Whiskey Sherry - Bottle

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Rabbit Hole Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in PX Sherry Casks
Rabbit Hole Straight Bourbon Whiskey is aged in alligator char and then in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks for a refined whiskey balanced with a long, cascading finish. The company’s bourbons and rye whiskeys are crafted with a mix of carefully selected grains at their new distillery in Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail in a custom-built 24-inch copper column. Then they’re aged in barrels from Scottish-born, Louisville-based Kelvin Cooperage. Founder Kaveh Zamanian, a clinical psychologist, and his wife started Rabbit Hole with the goal of putting bourbon at the forefront of the American spirits industry.

Grand Marnier Cuvee 1880 cognac - Bottle

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Grand Marnier Cuvée 1880
Grand Marnier is a premium blend of French, orange-flavored cognac founded in 1880 by founder Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle. Paying homage to seven generations of craftsmanship, Cuvée 1880 is a distinctive blend of premium Grande Champagne XO Cognac and wild tropical orange parfum. The blend of cognacs used in Cuvée 1880 are aged up to 60 years, which results in a cognac-forward experience with a complex, yet balanced nose, with the essence of orange.

Grand Marnier Quintessence cognac - Bottle

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Grand Marnier Quintessence
As the most premium offering in the Grande Cuvée Collection, Quintessence proudly holds its place as the pinnacle of excellence in French culture. It is made with the most rare cognacs that are sourced from the private reserves of the Marnier Lapostolle family. The luxurious blend that was handcrafted in 2011 will be sure to put previous years’ gifts for the Francophile-obsessed friend to shame.

Appleton Estate Joy Jamaican Rum - Bottle

Photo by Max Flatow

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Appleton Estate 30-Year-Old Rum
Earlier this month, Appleton Estate launched the incredibly rare, limited-edition 30-Year-Old rum to celebrate the legacy of rum-producing excellence in Jamaica . It was handcrafted by Master Blender Joy Spence, a luminary in the spirits world and the first woman to hold this title. The premium expression features notes of vibrant vanilla, toasted oak, ginger and warm cinnamon, with a smooth, spiced honey finish. There are only 4,000 bottles available globally and 900 available in the U.S.

Tasting Tips for Fine Spirits
  • Smell spirits from above the glass; don’t put your nose into the glass like you would with wine. The higher volume of alcohol is likely to overpower your olfactory senses.
  • Don’t swirl spirits like you do with wine. Swirling agitates the drink, changing the alcohol molecules to create a slight vapor that is too intense for your nose.
  • Sip your spirits and hold that sip on your palate for about five to 10 seconds before swallowing to fully experience the heat of the beverage and allow the subtle flavors to come out. Then breathe it in to experience the rest of the flavors all the way up to your nose.
  • Purists drink spirits served neat, which means room temperature and with no ice. Straight up means it’s been shaken or stirred with ice that is removed, and on the rocks is, of course, on ice.
  • Enjoy spirits in short crystal glassware called a tumbler.

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