Take it from one who knows, nothing makes Christmas quite so special as when you get to unwrap (and then drink) a bottle of beautiful liquor. Whether it’s gin, rum, whisky or something completely different, here are nine ideas for Christmas gifts for the discerning drinker!
From Australia and the world, these nine very different styles of hand-crafted spirit would make my Christmas absolutely awesome.
Single malt whiskies, bourbons and Irish whiskey, unusual gins, southern European digestifs and even a spirit that’s breaking the boundaries of how we barrel-age in Australia—they’re all here.
This is part of our 2023 Hint Magazine Christmas gift guide, which you can see here.
It’s an online flip-book style mag with all kinds of gift ideas—from booze like this list to travel ideas to home and beauty products. And you can click through and buy everything directly.
9 Spirits Of Christmas
Morris Signature Single Malt Whisky
From Rutherglen on the banks of the Victorian Riverlands, Morris has been crafting wine—and especially fortified wine—since the 1950s. With so much heritage, Morris’s move to making whisky seems obvious.
In 2016, Morris put their original still, built in the 1930s, and their wealth of barrels to good use. Morris Signature Single Malt Whisky is a delightful dram finished in barrels that once held the winery’s fortified wine.
Bright copper and amber in colour, aromas of orchard fruits and a slight biscuity nuance, and incredibly flavourful with a zesty punch that leads to richer cacao, spice and marzipan, and dark berry notes in this delightful Aussie craft whisky.
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Aussie-owned and operated online retailer Nip of Courage has been championing Aussie craft spirits since 2013. They now have over 900 different Australian craft spirits for you to explore from gin and vodka to rum and whisky to liqueurs, vermouths and brandy.
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*Offer open until 31 Dec 2023
Kentucky Owl Confiscated Straight Bourbon
With a mysterious past that goes back over 140 years, Kentucky Owl’s Confiscated Straight Bourbon is the obvious whiskey gift of choice for your bourbon fan.
C.M Dedman established he distillery in 1879, but in 1916, just before Prohibition, the distillery’s entire stock was seized by the American government. In 2014, Dixon Dedman re-established the brand and this whiskey is ode to his great great grandfather and all that beautiful confiscated spirit.
This rare and very fine straight bourbon is well-spiced and rich, packed with cooked fruit and sweetness, as well as funky savoury notes of nuttiness, cigar box and dark chocolate. And the high ABV (an impressive 48.2%) turbocharges the texture and accentuates the flavours. This sure is a mighty fine sipper.
McConnell’s 5 Year Old Irish Whisky
Perfect for those who love a taste of history, this Irish whiskey from Northern Ireland’s capital comes from a distillery that started out in 1776!
Two major fires and financial pressure from American Prohibition finally stopped the McConnell brothers from crafting their spirit, but that wasn’t the end.
McConnell’s is a blend of Irish malt and grain whiskeys that have aged in carefully selected ex-bourbon American oak casks for five years bringing beautiful overtones of vanilla sweetness, ripe fruits, butterscotch and pepper spice. This whiskey represents the come-back story of a Belfast legend.
Hendricks Flora Adora Gin
Here’s an easy one to treat your favourite gin lover to something completely different! Just in time for summer, Hendricks Distillery’s Cabinet of Curiosities has given us its latest limited release. Flora Adora is a bright, fresh iteration of the distillery’s bulletproof base gin that we all know and love.
Hendricks’ head distiller Lesley Gracie has crafted a deliciously sweet floral and citrus layer on top of the classic 11 botanicals she normally uses in the Scotland-based distillery. The exact blooms she’s used is a closely guarded secret, but the result is here for all to see.
Ideal for gin and tonics, but even better in Hendricks’ own Wildgarden Cup highball cocktail of Flora Adora Gin, lemon juice, syrup, fresh mint, raspberries and cucumber, and topped up with soda, this is the gin of the summer.
Underground Spirits’ Ad Crescendum var. Infusionem Native Gin
From the wonderful ongoing collaboration with the National Botanic Gardens in Canberra ACT, Underground Spirits has once again created a gin that speaks of Australia’s amazing native flora.
Determined to use uniquely Australian plants for their botanicals list, Underground Spirits have made this gin with infusions of Johnson’s grass tree, rose myrtle, white correa, wombat berry, goodenia, Australian crabapple, manuka myrtle, lemon aspen and native penny royal mint. It’s a concoction that stretches grassy yet floral notes over the pungent juniper, along with a woodiness and herbaceous flavour that’ll play so well with soda or tonic—and even better with a garnish of rosemary.
This is the perfect gift for your gin-drinking horticulturalist!
Reed & Co Distillery’s NEO Yuzu New World World Dry Gin
This gin is the perfect gift for those of us always on the look-out for the next new flavour sensation in their martini or G&T.
Through the floral juniper notes, a zesty zap of yuzu—everyone’s current favourite—gives this gin a bright citrus hit, while shincha green tea, strawberry and shisho, a herbaceous slightly bitter member of the mint family, create a smooth finish with a savoury depth.
From Bright VIC, Reed & Co is owned and run by ex-chefs Rachel Reed and Hamish Nugent, who have turned their renowned cooking skills and refined palates to hand-crafting some of Australia’s best gins, liqueurs and Japanese shochu-style spirits.
DNA Distillery’s Australian Rakija
Rakija (pronounced ‘rak-ee-ya’) is the traditional spirit of choice from the Balkan countries of southern Europe. The region has long enjoyed this delicious digestif and now Australia has also adopted rakija, with family-run DNA Distillery in Mitchell ACT now crafting their own.
Cousins James and Monique have crafted their rakija following a five-generation-old family recipe with the Aussie twist of using grape pomace from the Barossa Valley Shiraz, and double distilling making their spirit superbly smooth.
There’s a reason these rakija both won double gold at the World Spirits Competition in San Fran last year. They’re the perfect gifts for anyone who enjoys high-quality spirits like grappa, slivovitz or schnapps.
DNA’s Rakija Classic
Crystal clear and singing of those Barossa grapes, this rakija is the perfect after-dinner sipper or as a dash in your espresso. Slightly sweet, subtly floral and beautifully clean, it’s a spirit you can also add to many cocktails.
DNA’s Rakija Gold
As James and Monique have put it, Rakija Gold is the Classic’s richer better looking cousin. This one certainly has more colour—a delightful golden hue—and its aromas and flavours make the Gold better for enjoying neat.
Goodradigbee Distillers’ Ironbark Red Single Malt
Carving out a new style of Australian craft spirits all by themselves, Goodradigbee Distillers have created a new way to age whisky-style spirits in Australian native hardwood that takes just a few months rather than upwards of two years.
The square bottle shape of this spirit is a nod to its origins: the cuboid ‘barrels’ that it was aged in. The extra surface area of Red Ironbark timber and the energetic reaction it has with the spirit means the colour and flavour of this tipple is hugely accelerated.
Goodradigbee Distillers’ Ironbark Red Malt Spirit (it can’t be called ‘whisky’ because it hasn’t fulfilled the legislated two years in barrels) has all the hallmarks of a whisky way beyond its years. This is a perfect gift for a lover of old fashioneds or manhattans thanks to its sharpness and slight sweetness.