Looking for a great gift bottle this holiday season? Something as lovely to look at as it is to drink? Maybe a bottle with a handcrafted touch? Or something a little retro? Or eye-catchingly new?
Here are 6 of my own suggestions for giftable booze with great packaging. (P.S.: I don't want you to think I'm just being superficial. Rest assured, the spirits inside the bottles are all pretty special too.)
1. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Bottle Beauty Quotient: A faceted crystalline bottle filled with pale, golden liquid, and topped with an embossed metal cap. Art Nouveau romance.
Price Range: $28-32/750 ml
Flavor/Uses: This delicately floral liqueur is all the rage with mixologists right now, and has found its way into many modern recipes. It's especially nice mixed with Champagne.
2. Hendrick's Gin
Bottle Beauty Quotient: A dark, squat, apothecary-influenced bottle bearing the warning: "It is not for everyone. Please enjoy the unusual responsibly." Quirky Scottish charm at its best.
Price Range: $25-30/750 ml
Flavor/Uses: Another modern mixologist darling, this soft rose- and cucumber-infused gin is particularly good mixed in a Martini garnished with a cucumber slice.
3. Delord Bas-Armagnac, 25-year-old (pictured right)
Bottle Beauty Quotient: This Armagnac comes in a tall, clear-glass bottle known as the "Ariane." The handwritten label and wax seal lend a simple, artisanal appeal.
Price Range: $68-75/750 ml
Flavor/Uses: Sipped neat, it makes a lovely after-dinner drink. Especially good with a square of dark chocolate.
4. Oronoco Rum
Bottle Beauty Quotient: With its embossed recycled leather label, and individual batch-numbering, the bottle has an elegant, handcrafted look.
Price Range: $40-45/750 ml
Flavor/Uses: A barrel-aged blend of Brazilian rums made from fresh cane juice and South American rums made from molasses. Sweet and light and vanilla-y without being at all cloying. A nice after-dinner drink: very sippable on its own.
5. Espolòn Tequila Blanco (pictured left)
Bottle Beauty Quotient: With its simple, clear glass bottle, wooden stopper, and Day of the Dead black and white label graphics, Espolòn manages to be tasteful and edgy all at once.
Price Range: $20-25
Flavor/Uses: New to the market in 2010, this value-priced tequila is great in Margaritas. Crisp, clean, and with a slightly peppery finish, it's also surprisingly good sipped straight.
6. Zu Bison Grass Vodka
Bottle Beauty Quotient: The tall bottle contains a clear spirit with the faintest tint of pale, herbal green. Inside is a single thin strand of bison grass. Subtly intriguing.
Price Range: $25-30
Flavor/Uses: This Polish bison grass flavored vodka has a mild, herbal, chamomile-like flavor when sipped straight. Especially good in cocktails mixed with apple, honey, and lemon. A recent release to the U.S. market.
Are you giving any liquor as gifts this year?
Related: Spirited Gifts for Cocktail Lovers
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, some of the manufacturers did give us product for testing and review purposes.
Nora Maynard is a longtime home mixologist and an occasional instructor at NYC's Astor Center. She is a contributor to The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries and is the recipient of the American Egg Board Fellowship in culinary writing at the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow. She previously covered food and drink in film at The Kitchn in her weekly column, The Celluloid Pantry.
(Images: Spirits producers)