Christmas is the olympics of heavy drinking. Here’s a bunch of spirits to make it all worthwhile.
The world’s finest nose, Roja Dove, was never a fan of whisky. His first experience with the liquor happened when he was 15, and it wasn’t pretty. But since he was approached by The Macallan to become their Master Perfumer, he decided that it deserved a second chance. With the help of Bob Dalgarno, the Master of Whisky, The Macallan Edition No. 3 was born. Aged in European and American oak casks, the aroma-focused tipple takes on mostly floral, vanilla and apple notes. It is sweet and fruity as well, and real easy to drink.
Yamazaki Mizunara 2017
Japanese whisky, once a novelty, has long challenged the Scotch for whisky dominance, and in 2013, whiskies like the Yamazaki Sherry Cask Single Malt was singled out as a winner. Most recently, The House of Suntory unveiled another gem – the Yamazaki Mizunara Cask 2017, a limited edition release aimed solely to please aficionados and break banks. Over 100 variations were sampled to achieve the perfect balance, and the liquid was aged in Mizunara oak, a highly challenging wood to deal with. Get it only if you like your whisky rich in dried fruit, cinnamon and an incense-like fragrance.
Las Vino’s Pirate Blend NV
Nic Peterkin, the winemaker and founder of Las Vino, describes this wine as “a bearded ruffian with excellent European manners (and dress sense)”. In other words, rough around the edges, but sublime inside. Peterkin’s serious about his wines, and this particular one’s got personality. It runs smooth with blue and red fruit, and every mouthful is punctuated with Turkish spice and silky tannins. Bet it’s perfect with your mother’s famous braised pork chops.
Mount Gay XO Cask Strength
After most of your guests are stuffed and done with the Christmas pudding, make this your final bottle of the night. It’s full of vanilla, rich in banana, spice and charred oak. Well, it’s rum, and it’s pretty damn good with a few puffs of cigar.
Rémy Martin XO
Need to impress a prospective father-in-law? You can’t possibly go wrong with a good bottle of cognac. Favoured by most older men, the amber-coloured spirit is often smoother than whisky and way more interesting than vodka. It’s also got a lot more popular among the young. Rémy Martin’s XO is rich and spicy, and almost as smooth as a baby’s bottom. You’ll enjoy it, and so will the soon-to-be father-in-law.
You may not be too optimistic the first time you encounter Chita, but the good news is that this single grain whisky is smooth, sweet and easy to drink. In fact, it’s a great summer drink, and perfect in a highball or over ice. Bring it to your next Christmas BBQ, the crowd will love you.
$115 at 1855 Bottle Shop
Rather than drinking eggnog and beer laced with pumpkin spice and the usual festive BS, Brewlander is seriously good craft beer to stock up for the season. Among the founding partners are former DJ Daniel Ong and actor Allan Wu, but the main star behind the beer is John Wei, a home-brewer since 2008. He also goes by the nickname, Brewlander, and the beers are made out of a rented brewery in Phnom Penh. Every beer type is named after an emotion, such as Love, an IPA that comes unfiltered, unpasteurised and tropical on the palate.
Starts from $7.50
Get a little taste of windswept Islay. People who think they hate gin will at least like The Botanist, made by the same folks of Bruichladdich. Distilled off the western coast of Scotland, this gin is the country’s best kept secret. Each bottle contains 22 botanicals foraged from the island, but doesn’t go too crazy with juniper. If your gin and tonics or martinis taste like Christmas trees, it’s probably not The Botanist.
$113. If you’d like something a little more fancy, here are a couple ideas: The Botanist Gift Tin is available at Asher BWS at $98++ and The Botanist Mixing Glass Gift Set is available at TANGS Orchard at $120
Playing bartender for Christmas or New Year’s? Start with an uncomplicated drink like a scotch fizz or sour, and toughen it with a Bruichladdich, a label bartenders won’t shut up about. If you like something easy, The Classic Laddie offers a touch of sweetness without the harshness of peat. Otherwise, inject some oomph with the highly peated Port Charlotte, which should dial up the complexity even more.