By Eva Whalen
‘Tis the season to be merry with rounds of parties, cocktails and gift exchanges. Here are some spirits (and spirited products) to elevate yours, whether giving, receiving, tasting or sipping them.
In 2012 Laurent-Perrier will have been making exquisite champagnes for two hundred years. Their champagnes are mostly Chardonnay-driven and multi-vintage, and their grapes are sourced from Champagne’s finest vineyards. The result is a crisp, fresh and balanced glass of effervescent champagne for toasting with friends and family – and an incredibly elegant gift, too. Ring in the New Year with Laurent-Perrier, one of the most esteemed champagne brands in the world for good reason; http://www.laurentperrierus.com.
The U’Luvka Vodka Gift Set is extraordinary, because not only is this ultra-premium Polish vodka as smooth as ice, but the two accompanying “stemless” etched glasses are gorgeous. With roots dating back to the alchemists in the 17th century Polish Royal Court, U’Luvka is distilled in small batches from the best Polish rye, wheat and barley with hints of anisette and spice. Drink to your health, love and friendship, and find this superb set at http://www.uluvka.com.
Tortuga Rum Cakes are as festive as food gets for the holidays, and are remarkably delectable. Enjoy them at parties are give them as gifts. Soaked in rum but not overdone, these delectable cakes are great as stocking stuffers or for entertaining. If you order $100 worth of merchandise at http://www.TortugaRumCakes.com, you’ll receive complementary chocolate rum turtles as a bonus. You can also add your own twist to these cakes, adding nutmeg, cinnamon or whatever you please.
Another outstanding vodka for cheering the season is Iceland’s Reyka, which garnered top honors at the International Wine & Spirits Competition due to its crystal-clear purity and smooth taste. The first vodka distilled in Iceland, geothermic steam drawn from the center of the earth powers the distillery, rendering it the only eco-friendly vodka on the planet! http://www.Reyka.com.
Revel Stoke spiced whiskey will warm your cockles when the bitter cold sets in this season. Perfect for chilly days and hot drinks après-ski, you’ll savor hints of coriander, cardamom, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, ginger and ground bark of cinnamon. If it works for Canadian outdoorsmen, it could work for you too! http://www.revelstokewhiskey.com.
The Balvenie is an unique range of single malt Scottish whiskies produced in Dufftown, in Scotland’s Speyside region, and each variant in the range has its own distinctive taste – yet maintains the honeyed, rich, smooth undertones of The Balvenie. Some of the The Balvenie’s range includes a DoubleWood 12 Year Old, Single Barrel 15 Year Old, Portwood 21 Year Old and an extended range of limited releases. Read more about them at http://www.TheBalvenie.com and find them at your local liquor store.
Louis Martini wines are well-suited for holiday parties and for gifts because they’re balanced and bright, and flavorful enough to stand up to cheese platters and savory hors d’oeuvres. This Napa Valley winery offers superb wine at reasonable prices; an example is the 2007 Louis M. Martini Napa Valley Cabernet with hints of tobacco, dried fruit and herbs, which will warm your soul on a wintry day. For an outstanding present that won’t be re-gifted, consider the 2007 Lot No. 1 with personalized corkscrew. Visit http://www.louismartini.com.
Another excellent Napa Valley winery is Rutherford Hill, which offers a healthy selection of ultra-premium wines that are classic as gifts or to enjoy during the holidays, including Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Chardonnay Cabernet Sauvignon, Rose, Syrah, Zinfandel Port and Cabernet Franc. Peruse http://www.rutherfordhill.com for fantastic recipes and food-wine pairings.
Ron Abuelo Anejo Rum is produced entirely from estate-grown sugar cane in Panama. The Varela brothers are the third generation of their family to cultivate this special, dark oak-aged rum, which is medium-bodied and splendid alone, on the rocks or in a holiday drink. Its notes are sweet fruit, toasted coconut, vanilla, mocha, nuts and spices.
Create your own 2012 Cocktail for posterity – and Happy New Year!