The Best Bottles Of Booze To Gift This Year, According To Bartenders

12.19.18 8 months ago

Plantation Rum/Knob Creek/Old Forester/Unsplash/Uproxx

If you have friends, family, or even co-workers who enjoy a high-quality bottle of booze, you can’t do better than a gift of whiskey, tequila, gin, or rum. But if you take a stroll down the aisles of your neighborhood liquor store, you might find yourself overwhelmed and anxious. It seems like everybody and their mom is in the liquor game these days and there are almost too many options (Wait, did you just pass a bottle with your own mom’s picture on it?? When did she open a distillery?).

You don’t want to choose the wrong bottle. Too cheap and you’ll look like you don’t care. Too expensive and it will look like you’re trying too hard. So, we went to the experts to help us out. Nobody knows more about spirits than bartenders. That’s why we asked 12 of our favorite bartenders to tell us what bottles of booze they’d give as gift this holiday season.

Fortaleza Blanco Tequila

Juan Arboleda, lead bartender at Da Capo in New York City

“I’d definitely give a bottle of Tequila Fortaleza Blanco—it’s from the town of Tequila. I’ve been to the Tequila Fortaleza distillery a few times and I love the people there just as much as I love their product. It’s carefully crafted and delicious, and the hand-blown bottle is beautiful. It’s such an awesome product and truly perfect for the holidays.”

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon

Sean Moody, bartender at South Branch in Chicago

“If I could find it, I’d go with Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. The bottle was released the first weekend of September and only 14,000 were made. Twelve cases made it to Chicago and I can’t find it anywhere. It’s the best bourbon I’ve ever tasted and the suggested price is $100.”

Ginga Shizuku Sake

Nahm Kim, mixologist at Sunda in Nashville

“I’m a big sake drinker and love our sake list at Sunda, so I’ll go with Ginga Shizuku, also known as ‘Divine Droplets’. It’s a sake brewed and bottled by collecting the drippings from inside an ice igloo. It’s got a special story to it and, more importantly, it tastes like it rained down from heaven.”

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