A gift guide to the best cheap (yet premium) alcohol gifts for the budget-minded stocking stuffer
It’s holiday time and you know you’re going to be visiting friends and family, attending social events, and trying to get thoughtful gifts for your family, friends, and favorite (ahem) drinkers. You know that these friends have their booze preferences and you want to get them a gift they’ll enjoy, preferably one that they won’t re-gift and one that they’ll LIKE! First, I’m going to stay away from recommending a vodka as vodka is supposed to be tasteless, but people have aversions to specific brands and price points. While any triple-distilled vodka will usually do the trick in terms of clear, clean flavorlessness, I recommend not gifting anything but someone’s specific favorite brand of vodka, if that’s the way you want to go… That just feels rather thoughtless. Be that as it may, let’s move on.
TEQUILA!!! Tequila has become quite fashionable, and it’s not just for college students anymore. Sampling copious amounts of cheap tequila in my early adult years led me to loathe tequila, in general, for nearly three decades and it was difficult to overcome the hatred and try tequila again. However, sampling some premium brands of tequila in recent years has proved to me that agave can be turned into something quite delightful…even elegant! Some of these liquors can cost over $100 and ultra-aged versions can in fact hit five figures! Try Celaya Tequila Blanco (under $40). With its elegant herbal flavors and notes of lemon and vanilla, any connoisseur will be happy to receive this…plus, it’s SO incredibly smooth, even my wife took more than one sip from my glass, and she HATES most dry liquors. Check out www.drinkcelaya.com and go stuff someone’s stocking.
GIN: I rarely embrace gin, but the herbaceous spirit has come a long way from its roots as a medicinal drink. Traditionally made with juniper, there are many modern and traditional gins on the market and some can cost hundreds of dollars. Gift your next gin lover a bottle or two of Whitley Neill. For about $30 a bottle, they offer different styles of classic, contemporary, and flavored gins that won’t break the bank. Check out https://whitleyneill.com and you’ll still have cash for tonic.
WHISKEY: We men have our whiskey preferences… I prefer single malts, bourbons, and some Japanese whiskeys to sip straight or on the rocks, and love a good Manhattan cocktail made with rye or bourbon. Try Balcones Texas Single Malt or any of their other whiskies for that matter. Based on my sample of the single malt, with its “boubonesque” power and complexity of flavor, I’d say any whiskey drinker will be happy with a bottle from them. As single-malt whiskey from anywhere tends to be quite expensive, this is my priciest recommendation and will likely make some lucky guy very dru…happy. Check out https://shop.balconesdistilling.com and tell your buddy to freeze some big rocks, close his eyes and hold out his stocking.
LIQUEUR: For the friend who likes to sip their dessert, try giving this award-winning, caramel-y, creamy, exotic-sweet Irish cream: Five Farms Single-Batch Irish Cream Liqueur is balanced and delightful with flavors of butterscotch/caramel, coffee, coconut, cream, and classic Irish whiskey. Don’t want to sip? Pour a bit over a sponge cake or ice cream. Check out FivefarmsIrishcream.com and sweetly stuff your sweetheart’s stocking this holiday season.
For the BEER guy: Okay, I know beer guys have their preferences, but I think you can get away with this one. I often choose Sapporo for its crisp clean taste…I didn’t know they had a light and a dark beer. Sapporo Black is a smooth, bold, roasted malt lager with a nicely balanced hoppiness. Sapporo Pure is a lighter-bodied beer with a clean, smooth, and balanced flavor and only 90 calories and 2.4 carbs per 12-ounce serving. Check out sapporo.com and if you only have “beer pockets,” you’re in luck! Wrap up a case and leave it under the tree, or just ice it and bring it to the next holiday party.