This Holiday, Give the Gift of Intoxication

 width=As the holidays hurl towards us at breakneck speed, deciding what to get for that special someone (or your parents, your siblings, your boss, your co-worker, your doorman, your super, your postman, and so on, and so on) becomes a challenge. I’m here to help, though mainly just by way of taking advantage of other people’s hard work.

First – let me talk briefly about scotch. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how scotch became the quintessential non-threatening, no meaning implied gift, but there it is. For some reason, Johnnie Walker Blue has taken hold as the guaranteed-to-impress brand. I actually do like Johnnie Blue, but let’s be honest – it’s a bit pricey, no? (At $150 per bottle, I’d say yes.) The folks at Chivas sent me a sample of Chivas Regal 18 to taste, as well as a sample of Johnnie Walker Blue for the sake of comparison. From my vantage point, they’re actually tough to compare, as they have very different flavor profiles. I find Chivas to be generally sweeter (in a caramel sort of way), with a nice smoky finish. With Johnnie Blue, the smokiness is more up front, and the sweetness that follows tastes more like bittersweet chocolate to me.

Don’t get me wrong – both Chivas Regal 18 and Johnnie Walker Blue are fine blended scotches. But with Chivas 18 averaging $55 per bottle vs. Johnnie Blue at $150, I think Chivas 18 might give you a bit more bang for the buck. Just my two cents though.

As for other holiday gifts, for those not particularly inclined towards scotch (who are you, anyway?), there are many other options. I’d thought about pulling together a boozer’s gift guide, but so many of my friends have beat me to it, I thought I’d just go ahead and share some of my favorites:

  • Hal Wolin of A Muddled Thought has been publishing an ongoing series on good gift ideas for the spirited individual in your life.
  • Selena Ricks of The Dizzy Fizz has a two part gift guide: Part 1 with excellent DIY ideas, and Part 2 with a selected list of educational materials (you can never know too much about booze).
  • Our friend James over at NY Barfly has a great list of places to drink over the holidays (we’re working our way through the list one by one!)
  • Paul Clarke at Serious Eats has a very comprehensive list for the budding mixologist.

If you’re looking for something to buy the overworked and underpaid Spirited Cocktails staff (you know, me), I wouldn’t turn down my very own Meehan Bar Bag from Moore & Giles. Just sayin.

Happy holidays!

Cheers,
Josh

Tags: holidays, scotch

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