Spirit Cruises January 2023 Leaderboard

Spirit Gift Guide: 9 American Whiskeys for Everyone on Your List

by Reid Mitenbuler on Nov 26, 2012 in Liquor
Spirit Gift Guide: 9 American Whiskeys for Everyone on Your List

The best part of giving whiskey for the holidays is that you can finish all your shopping with one trip to the liquor store. But who gets what? Check these folks off your list with nine perfect brown liquor pairings. If you’re lucky, maybe they’ll even share a sip or two.

The Sweetheart: Four Roses Single Barrel (100 proof; $40/bottle*)
With a relatively high amount of corn in the mash bill, this bourbon is a little sweeter than most. The price tag is also high enough that anyone getting a bottle will know it should be savored — a nice way to send a subtle message to your beaux. Plus, Four Roses supposedly got its name when distillery founder Paul Jones, Jr. proposed to his eventual wife — she told him if the answer was “yes,” she would wear a corsage of four roses to an upcoming ball. (Spoiler: she wore the corsage.)

The Parents: Buffalo Trace
(90 proof; $23/bottle)
This bourbon is responsible for bringing a lot of new whiskey enthusiasts into the world, so it’s an appropriate gift for the people who did the same for you. Steady and reliable, this bourbon never gets a bad word from tasters. It’s reasonably priced and can be relied on for everything from drinking straight to mixing. Spiciness, sweetness and smoothness — it’s all there.

The Grandfather: Old Grand Dad 114
(114 proof; $24/bottle)
The name alone makes it an obvious choice, but it’s also a classic brand your grandfather will recognize. The 114-proof version of this old stalwart is one of the best-kept secrets in the bourbon world and is less expensive than it could be. It starts with a spicy blast that’s best cut with a little water, and could almost pass for a straight rye. The finish lingers appropriately long for those who have been around longer than the rest of us.

The Know-It-All Cousin: Bowman Brothers Pioneer Spirit Small Batch Bourbon (90 Proof; $30/bottle)
He might be a know-it-all, but he probably doesn’t know about this special bottle, from a relatively obscure distillery. He’ll love the heavy maple sugar nose with a cinnamon palate and a long, dry finish.

The Rich Uncle: George T. Stagg (~140 proof, $75/bottle)
If he’s actually wealthy, he should probably buy this one for you. It’s an appropriate match, though — big, rich, and barrel proof, so it definitely needs to be cut with a little water. Bottlings of this vary depending on the year, but usually have strong notes of molasses and leather, just like the deep club chairs your uncle sits in with his rich friends.

The Crazy Aunt: Fighting Cock (103 proof; $17/bottle)
Just make sure she doesn’t use this one to wash down her meds. At 103 proof, this bourbon has her big attitude and an equally confusing marketing strategy. Regardless of the initial blast of spicy rye notes and hot ethanol vapors, this bourbon grows on you, once you get to know it.

The Unemployed Sibling: Rittenhouse Rye (100 proof; $20/bottle)
The unemployed sibling should probably be given something he can’t otherwise afford, but alternately, you can introduce him to something that won’t break his wallet when he goes to re-up. At 100 proof, this rye will go a long way. It’s got chocolate on the nose and palate with a little licorice in the finish.

The In-Laws: Bernheim Original (90 proof; $35/bottle)
Distilled mainly from wheat, this whiskey is relatively sweet and mixes well in cocktails — two indispensable qualities when spending time around the in-laws. It has coconut aromas in the nose and a warm palate. It goes down easy and the taste is pretty clean — just how you want to appear in front of your spouse’s parents.

Your Boss: (The choice here depends on how big your bonus is.)
We recommend choosing along a sliding scale of Jim Beam White Label, Jim Beam Black Label and Knob Creek. All three offerings come from the same recipe and the only difference between them is the amount of aging and the relative price. White label comes in at four years, Black Label at eight years, and Knob Creek at nine years. All have their respective merits (even White Label) and tasting between the three offers a lesson in the effects of aging in a barrel, so you get the bonus of teaching your boss something he doesn’t know.

*All prices vary by location, but we’ve offered a ballpark number so you get an idea for the range. (Back to top)

Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Inflation Hits PA Wine & Spirits with 4% Price Increase Across 3,500 Products

Inflation Hits PA Wine & Spirits with 4% Price Increase Across 3,500 Products

The PLCB, announced that a 4% price increase would go into effect on 3,554 of its most popular wine and spirit...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Jan 9, 2023
Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2019

Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2019

Whether it's to enjoy the first warm breezes of spring or the unexpected sunshine of a crisp day in fall, Philadelphia is full of great places to drin...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 11, 2019
The Philly Distiller Who Got Laid Off and Moved to Hawaii to Make Gin

The Philly Distiller Who Got Laid Off and Moved to Hawaii to Make Gin

In this segment we speak to Olivia Babiec, the former Philadelphia Distiller who moved to Hawaii to make gin...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Jan 5, 2023
SPONSORED
The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

Here it is - the definitive list of Philadelphia's best cocktail bars....read more ›

by Drink Philly Dec 13, 2017
Bars & Restaurants that Host Private Events in Philadelphia

Bars & Restaurants that Host Private Events in Philadelphia

Holidays, birthdays, weddings, or any private event - Philadelphia has you covered...read more ›

by Drink Philly Dec 5, 2022
Where to Celebrate Philly Cider Week 2022, October 23-30

Where to Celebrate Philly Cider Week 2022, October 23-30

The fourth annual Philadelphia Cider Week is being celebrated from Sunday, October 23 through Sunday, October 30...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Oct 21, 2022
Enjoy Fall Weather & PA Ciders in a Historic Setting at CiderFest, October 15 & 16

Enjoy Fall Weather & PA Ciders in a Historic Setting at CiderFest, October 15 & 16

Fall is here and what better way to celebrate than at CiderFest at the historic Woodford Mansion in Fairmount ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Oct 13, 2022
WitchCraft: Halloween Themed Beer Fest in the Middle of the NJ Woods Returns October 14 & 15

WitchCraft: Halloween Themed Beer Fest in the Middle of the NJ Woods Returns October 14 & 15

The team behind the Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival have conjured up a spellbinding event - WitchCraft - a...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Oct 12, 2022
LMNO: An Inside Look at Their 'Choose Your Own Adventure' Cocktail Menu

LMNO: An Inside Look at Their 'Choose Your Own Adventure' Cocktail Menu

Fishtown has a new Baja Mexican destination for tequila and mezcal fans...read more ›

by Drink Philly Feb 14, 2022
Behind the Bar: Bartender Barry (Johnson)

Behind the Bar: Bartender Barry (Johnson)

In this installment of Behind the Bar, we sit down with Barry Johnson, better known as "Bartender Barry" of Instagram and as cocktail catering special...read more ›

by Drink Philly Feb 9, 2022
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close