|Twelve Spirited Days of
Twelve great spirits to get or give on Christmas
|On the First Day of Christmas...
||My true love gave to me Cruzan Estate Diamond
Cruzan is finally breaking out of the cheap rum image it had for Virgin
Island vacationers. This is delicious stuff, a blend of aged rums (five
to ten years old) that still retains youthful notes of coconut and
citrus. If youíve never had aged rum, itís a beautiful way to find
out what youíve been missing.
|On the Second Day of Christmas...
||I went out and bought a bottle of Hendrickís Gin.
Funny brown bottle, funny botanicals: a gin made in Scotland with rose
petals and cucumbers. Funny? No, youíll find that the cuke and rose
really rounds off the angular juniper for a softer, more civilized
|On the Third Day of Christmas...
||I bought for my dad Wild Turkey Russellís Reserve.
Jimmy Russell, the master distiller at Wild Turkey, finally let some
bourbon age a bit, and this Russellís Reserve Ten Year Old is fine,
fine stuff, with the classic "hot honey" character of Wild
Turkey, and of course, the 101 overproof bite.
|On the Fourth Day of Christmas...
||I savored with my priest a bottle of Highland Park 18
For the contemplative moments, Highland Park provides beautiful answers
to questions like "Why do we drink Scotch whisky?" Thereís
something for every lover of Scotch whisky here: honey, smoke, oak,
malt, and peace.
|On the Fifth Day of Christmas...
||Sean the bartender gave to me Redbreast 12 Year Old
A whiskey that changed my view of Irish whiskey completely. Redbreast is
all about the barley, malted and unmalted, and this is soft, sweet
whiskey with bounteous fruit notes. An astonishing mouthful.
|On the Sixth Day of Christmas...
||I drove down to Rehoboth for a bottle of Dogfish Head
Really. Dogfish Headís been distilling for a few years now, and his
new distiller, Mike Gerhart, has the vodka absolutely dialed in: dry,
crisp, distinctive. If you have to buy premium vodka (and if you do, sip
it, donít mix it!), try this one.
|On the Seventh Day of Christmas...
||I gave everyone I know bottles of Jim Beam Rye.
Possibly the best liquor deal on the market. Jim Beam Rye is packed with
spicy, minty, explosive rye flavor, and dirt cheap. Great neat or on the
rocks, and absolutely brilliant with ginger ale and a twist of lemon.
|On the Eighth Day of Christmas...
||My uncle got from me a bottle of Wiserís Very Old.
Sure, only geezers like Canadian whisky. Right. You might want to get a
bottle of this for your favorite geezer and steal a sip to find out what
youíre missing. Itís smooth as silk, grain-sweet, and deep. But it
really is Canadian.
|On the Ninth Day of Christmas...
||My mechanic got from me Elijah Craig 12 Year Old
A rich, even lush whiskey, full of corn sweetness, oaky vanilla and
smoke, and a hint of rye spiciness, Elijah Craig is a bargain and a
beauty, a bourbon that can blend with mixers or stand on its own with
ease. A great "table bourbon" to drink every day.
|On the Tenth Day of Christmas...
||I gave to the mailman a bottle of Ardbeg 10.
Peat in Scotch whisky is like hops in beer: the more thatís in there,
the better some folks like it. Ardbeg 10 is the Arrogant Bastard of
Scotch whisky. It smells like a fire in a peat bog, it rocks your mouth
like a sledgehammer.
|On the Eleventh Day of Christmas...
||I put on a mask and purchased Cabo Wabo Blanco Tequila.
Okay, stupid name, itís Sammy Hagarís tequila and all, but itís
the hot smoking nut of tequilas. What a shock to find out that Sammyís
tequila was actually good!
|On the Twelth Day of Christmas...
||I finally sat down and relaxed with a Clear Creek Pear
I love pears, and this eau-de-vie is the
very essence of them, in a quite literal way. Water-clear, solidly
aromatic, and knife-to-the-tongue immediate, this spirit is
pears, fresh pears caught in an icy grip of alcohol and kept for your
enjoyment at any time. Simply delicious.