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Beverages

Top 10 Best Holiday Booze Gifts

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Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge S. BONAR
  • S. Bonar

A little booze always makes those awkward family gatherings go smoother. (Note: A little booze.) If you are looking for a last-minute holiday gift, look no further. These liquors and liqueurs are delicious, straight-up or a part of a festive cocktail. Happy Boozemas!

10. TY KU liqueur: This is a low-sugar, low-carb alcohol made from a soju base that's infused with allegedly health-boosting "superfruits" and trendy antioxidants including yuzu, mangosteen, goji berry, honeydew, green tea, ginseng, potassium, cholesterol reducers, vitamins B, C and E and energy enhancers. What's really cool: Push a button on the bottom and the bright green liqueur is infused with light. (Tree-topper?) Perfect for: The gym rat who likes a little buzz while he or she works out. $32.99

9. Domaine de Canton liqueur: This ginger-infused French Cognac makes a delightful aperitif. Crafted from baby Vietnamese ginger, VSOP and XO Champagne Cognacs by distiller Jean Francois Bardou, Domaine was inspired by a 19th-century recipe for ginger-infused white Cognac. Also in the mix: Provencal honey, Tunisian ginseng and fresh vanilla beans. We like to mix it with lemon juice and apple cider for a yummy cocktail. Perfect for: Your fave Nobu fan. $32

8. Voyant chai liqueur: Like a chai tea latte with a kick, Voyant features tea and spices steeped for hours then blended with sugar, oak-aged rum, fresh cream, premium spirits and vanilla. Delicious when added to coffee or tea or even to French toast batter. Perfect for: That hippie boozer in yoga class. $19.99

7. Le Diciotto Lune (18 Moons) Stravechhia Grappa: Some think of grappa (an Italian brandy made from the discarded mass of skins, pits and stalks left in the wine press after the juice of the grapes has been extracted) as crappa. The young stuff can be rather bracing, but aged grappa can taste more like a fine Cognac or Scotch. Le Diciotto Lune (18 Moons), produced for more than 60 years by the Marzadro family in Italy, is a proprietary blend of four red and four white varietals that are distilled separately then combined and aged in wood barrels for 18 months. (18 Moons, get it?) Le Diciotto Lune earned a 94-point rating from the Beverage Testing Institute for its slightly sweet, earthy taste. Perfect for: Your favorite Fellini fan. $24.99

6. The Lash spiced rum: Yo ho, yo ho. The Lash is a blend of premium West Indies rum, aged four years in 100% American oak Bourbon barrels and infused with spices including Bourbon vanilla extract. Put a nice dollop in your eggnog. Perfect for: Jack Sparrow, Davy Jones and any other would-be pirates. $21.99

5. Don Julio 1942 Tequila: This is not the stuff you throw in a margarita. Aged in white oak barrels for a minimum of two and a half years, this is a sipping tequila for the aficionado, produced from the best estate-grown blue agave. It's a rich tequila with caramel, chocolate and almond tones and a touch of vanilla, for that kick-off-your-shoes-and-run-around-the-room buzz. Perfect for: Your favorite gourmet guacamole addict. $125

4. Godiva Chocolate Liqueur (or Mocha or Caramel): Instead of bringing your party hostess a box of See's, bring her some chocolate liqueur. (Hopefully, she'll crack it open immediately). Godiva's version has a velvety dark taste, good over ice or as part of a chocolate martini. The Caramel version, inspired by the Godiva Caramel Milk Embrace candy, is a blend of caramel and milk chocolate. The Mocha liqueur combines Belgian milk chocolate with roasted Arabica coffee beans and cream. We recommend adding it to a cup of coffee topped with some whipped cream. Perfect for: Mrs. See's potluck. $29.99

3. Johnnie Walker Blue Label: Crafted from rare, exclusive whiskies (many of which come from distilleries that no longer exist), Johnnie Walker Blue Label has the flavor of a traditional 19th-century blend (peaty with dark chocolate, sherry, honey and vanilla notes) and a smoky scent. Each bottle is individually numbered and can be engraved. Perfect for: Don Draper wannabes. $220

2. Veuve Clicquot Rose Champagne: This French Champagne looks so pretty in a fluted glass, pink and bubbly. Made using 50 to 60 different crus, the cuvee is based on Brut Yellow Label's traditional blend: 50 to 55% Pinot Noir, 15 to 20% Pinot Meunier and 28 to 33% Chardonnay. The blend includes a high percentage (25-35%, sometimes 40%) of reserve wines originating from several harvests (usually five or six). "This seems drier than its stablemate, the famous Yellow Label, and is the better for it. There is an urgent freshness here, driven by red currants and tight plum skin flavors," says Wine Enthusiast, which rated it 91 out of 100. Perfect for: That special pretty lady. $61.99

1. Siku vodka: Siku, which means ice in Greenlandic, is made from pristine glacier ice from the 60,000-year-old Qalerallit Sermia glacier in Greenland. It's the only vodka in the world that transforms glacier ice directly into vodka without ever becoming water. The glacier ice is shipped to the Netherlands, where it is combined with a five-times-distilled grain alcohol. The taste is deliciously icy and pure, and the bottle design, with an illustration of chilly white ice chards, is super cool. Perfect for: Your favorite Christmas Ice Queen, such as Lucy Van Pelt. $39.99

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