Ten bottles that should be on every shopping list this Christmas
Nothing gets festivities going like opening a great bottle, but if you want to keep spirits high, it needs to be something of quality. We believe that buying booze shouldn’t be a stressful affair, so we’ve put together a list of some of the best labels around, with a particular focus on flavour and sustainability. Whether you’re partial to a whisky on the rocks, a shot of tequila or the sound of a popping cork, these options have you covered – whatever you are on a tight budget or you’ve set aside a hefty drinks fund.
Procera – Gin
If you’re even considering getting off the craft gin wagon, convinced that you’ve tried every label under the sun, rest assured you’re simply looking on the wrong continent. Kenyan brand Procera breaks new ground: not only is it the first high-end African spirit to be featured in the bars of some of London’s top hotels and restaurants, but it’s also the first gin to be made using the Juniperis Procera, a berry native to Kenya’s sun-drenched plateaus. This incredibly unique mouth-blown glass bottle is the perfect addition to the collection of any discerning gin aficionado, sealed with a striking palm-wood hand-carved stopper. Adorned with its own leather-bound bag of salt ground with botanicals, it looks the part in any bar and will be the perfect way to upgrade your g&t or martini this festive season. What’s more, it’s made with sustainability in mind: every bottle is crafted from recycled glass, and an African Juniper is planted with every bottle sold. Procera are committed to supporting local agriculture and artisans, and by ordering a bottle you can spice up your cocktails while saving the planet. Purchase a bottle on Master of Malt for £69.95.
Vermò – Vermouth
Best known as the “Prince of the Italian Aperitif,” Vermouth is experiencing a return to glory in the UK with the launch of Vermò, a modern take on the classic Vermouth di Torino Rosso. Handcrafted in Piedmont, Italy, the home of Italian vermouth, Vermò is made with a blend of trebianno and chardonnay grapes alongside 31 high-quality botanicals, resulting in a light, crisp and fruity taste, perfect for sipping on the rocks or as a versatile base for many cocktails. Originally launched in Italy in 2017, Vermò is now available in the UK via Ocado for only £24.99. The brand is the brainchild of friends Jorge Ferrer, a Spaniard and Ettore Velutto, an Italian, who have brought this historic fortified wine into the present day with a fresh, unexpected twist. Having sampled several vermouths from their home countries, they discovered a clear pattern that differentiates Spanish and Italian vermouths. The fruits of their labour, the award-winning Vermò, is making waves around the world as a new generation of vermouth. What better way to celebrate Christmas and welcome in a new (and hopefully better) year?
Cazcabel Blanco – Tequila
Cazcabel Tequila offers a range of authentic, high quality, natural tequilas at an affordable price. Innovative and unique, the brand create flavours that can be sipped and savoured, with an exciting range of labels to suit all tastes and satisfy sweet tooths including Cazcabel Coffee, Cazcabel Honey, Cazcabel Coconut and Cazcabel Reposado. If you like it traditional, we suggest you stick with the equally delicious Cazcabel Blanco, available to purchase for under £30 from sellers including Amazon, Proof Drinks and Master of Malt.
Lanson – Champagne
Nothing brings Christmas cheer more than a toast, and a year like this deserves not just any bubbly, but a glass of the best champagne. The iconic Lanson are a great choice for those who want to bring a touch of sparkle to the festivities, with a range of price tags dependent on your bank balance. We recommend the Lanson Black Label Brut as a worthy investment, available from Master of Malt for just £34.95. Lanson Black Label Brut is aged for four years and made from a selection of the finest Crus of Champagne. Both light and fresh, the bottle is a delicate blend with ripe fruit and citrus notes, perfect for connaisseurs and converts alike. Whether you want to splash out or gift something special, Lanson has a wide variety of bottles available for all budgets and all palates.
The Lost Explorer – Mezcal
If you’re looking to expand your horizons beyond the beloved tequila, there’s a whole world of mezcal to enjoy. Just launched in the UK, The Lost Explorer Mezcal is a handcrafted spirit made from 100% agave and co-founded by David de Rothschild and Thor Björgólfsson in partnership with expert Maestro Mezcalero Don Fortino Ramos. The Lost Explorer Mezcal has been crafted to form three unique and different varietals; Espadin (£62.50), the core expression and two rarer varietals Tobalá (£109.99) and Salmiana (£140), all of which showcase the diversity and wonder of the sacred agave plant. Espadín is harvested after eight years growth in the arid valleys of Oaxaca, subtly sweet, herbaceous and well-balanced with hints of apple, ripe fruits and a mild smoky layer to finish. The elusive Tobalá, also known as the “Explorer Agave”, is harvested after ten years of growth and carries hints of tobacco, cocoa, vanilla and leather. Finally, Salmiana, which produces a much lower yield, is harvested after 12 years and is the most herbaceous expression, offering an unexpected yet gentle sweet and spicy profile with hints of green chilli, grapefruit and fresh agave after rainfall. The company are deeply committed to sustainability and each bottle is made in Mexico from recycled crystal scraps, hand-labelled, sealed with natural cork and finished with biodegradable natural beeswax.
Hawksbill – Rum
A new Caribbean spiced rum has launched with more than impeccable taste on its agenda. Hawksbill Caribbean Spiced Rum brings together the very best Caribbean rums from Trinidad and Guyana, along with its own distinctive blend of spices, and combines its delectable liquid with a truly worthy cause: helping to save the endangered turtles for which the brand is named. Populations of the beautiful Hawksbill turtle have been in rapid decline, and Hawksbill has committed to helping reverse that deterioration and boosting populations of these incredible creatures. Hawksbill is partnering with the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, based at the University of the West Indies, whose mission is to recover marine turtle populations. 10% of the profits from Hawksbill sales will go directly towards turtle conservation projects in the Caribbean, helping to protect the environment of the Hawksbill Turtle and preserve its future. Grab a bottle on Master of Malt for just £26.95.
Rampur – Whisky
Indian whisky brand Rampur are known for producing signature spirits of exceptional quality. If you want to step away from Scotch and bourbon, a great alternative is the newest jewel in their collection, the Rampur Double Cask Indian Single Malt Whisky. This beautiful expression is crafted by maturation in handpicked American bourbon barrels and European oak sherry casks. Delicate balsamic vanilla notes from the American white oak complement the full-bodied aroma; Rich caramel, dried dark fruits and spicy tonality from European oak add to the depth. Produced in India’s oldest distillery in the foothills of the Himalayas, this super-premium whisky combines tradition and innovation. Pick up a bottle on The Whisky Exchange for £60.
Casamigos – Tequila
Casamigos Tequila, founded by none other than Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney – along with Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman – was designed with friends and family in mind, making it the perfect choice for a festive (three-household) gathering. These ultra-premium small-batch tequilas are the ideal accompaniment for an evening with loved ones, meaning they can be enjoyed round the tree with your nearest and dearest. We particularly recommend getting your hands on Casamigos Blanco Tequila: rested for two months, this variety is crisp and clean with subtle hints of citrus, vanilla and sweet agave with a smooth finish. You can purchase a bottle on The Whisky Exchange for £49.95.
Old Hopking Seadog Black Spiced – Rum
Whether you’re stocking up your drinks cabinet ready for the Christmas celebrations, looking to simply indulge or eyeing up the perfect gift, Aldi has Christmas cheer by the bottle this year. From award-winning whiskies, rich rums, beautiful brandies, classic cognacs, scrumptious sherries and passionate ports; after dinner digestif drinks for the big day are sorted with a range of new festive tipples at Aldi. And best of all, they are all affordable. We recommend Old Hopking Seadog Black Spiced Rum, a premium spirit drink, with notes of sweet vanilla, warming spices, coffee, and a citrus lime kick, finished with a deep rum aftertaste. Pick up a bottle on Aldi’s website or in-store for just £14.99.
Highland Black – Scotch
Highland Black is an award-winning blend having secured Gold Medals at both the IWSC and ISC industry awards in the past two years, coming in at a fraction of the cost of some of their more famous rivals. The tipple is created using a range of the finest Speyside and Highland Malt whiskies, blended expertly together with the Grain whisky from Girvan in the Lowlands of Scotland. Each oak cask used in creating Highland Black is matured for the very minimum of 8 years before being selected by our master blender to create the final award-winning blend. Get yourself a bottle from Aldi for only £12.99.
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