Shelf Life: Tidings of Great Joy
If you’re still shopping for spirited gifts, look to New Orleans for inspiration. The 2010 Tales of the Cocktail sneak-previewed the hottest and the coolest new spirits as well as alluring gift presentations of classic spirits and seasonal favorites.
Spoil the host with U’luvka Vodka, based on a recipe from the Royal Court of 17th Century Poland. Glamorous gift sets include a cocktail recipe book and charming vintage ” legless” shot glasses that were the toast of tastings at Tales. The 750ml size set is for $50 with two glasses, and the $100 magnum set comes with six glasses. www.uluvka.com
While Sobieski’s “Truth in Vodka” campaign appeals to our love for quality cost-conscious luxury, its new Karamel and Orange flavors (sweetly priced at $10.99/750 ml) appeal to our collective love for seasonal desserts and a sense of fun. www.vodkasobieski.com
For those who want to “give American” this holiday, 4 Orange Premium Vodka ($24.99 for a 750 ml bottle), the world’s first vodka distilled exclusively with four types of Florida oranges (Parson Brown, Temple, Valencia and Hamlin), is an ideal choice and perfect foundation for cranberry and pomegranate cocktails. www.4orangevodka.com,
Chambord Vodka’s bottle will make the party’s hostess swoon. What’s inside awakens new cocktailing possibilities for the legendary black raspberry liqueur that was mainly known as a perfect partner with champagne. Chambord Vodka features notes of hibiscus flower, vanilla, white chocolate and the rich flavor of its sibling ($26.99). www.chambordonline.com
Belvedere Vodka, a long-standing favorite at Tales of the Cocktail (and practically everywhere else) ups the ante for the 2010 Holiday season with the reintroduction of its show-stopping Limited Edition Silver Bottle ($74.99, 1.75 L, $29.99 750ml). www.belvederevodka.com
OXLEY GIN ($50.00, I L) not only comes in a bar-enhancing bottle, but is also limited-edition by nature. The velvety-smooth gin (sampled in one of the most buzzed-about Tales tasting rooms) is hand-crafted in small batches–only 240 bottles produced per day. Each bottle is individually numbered. www.oxleygin.com
Rum enthusiasts would be proud to be among the first on their block to experience Dos Maderas 5+3 ($29.99) and Dos Maderas 5+5 ($35.99). These ultra-premium rums were unveiled at this year’s Tales, served neat and at a “Do It Yourself” bar where they could mix and muddle their own creations –a great conversation starting activity for your holiday party, by the way. www.bodegas-williams-humbert.com
Made from 100% Vidal grapes, the 2007 vintage of Inniskilin’s Vidal Pearl Ice Wine ($60), with its notes of nectarine, papaya, lychee, tangerine and orange blossoms is a sensual alternative to champagne on New Year’s Eve, and pairs beautifully with cheese, nuts, fruits and other light bites. www.inniskillin.com
Tempus Fugit Spirits offers a beautiful array of essentials for the savvy home bartender, including Gran Classico Bitters ($30.99, 750ml, which débuted at the 2010 Tales), Voyager Gin $32.99, 750ml) and Pacifique Absinthe www.tempusfugitspirits.com (($62.99, 750ml) used by Salvtore Calabrese, who magically transformed an 1805 Sazerac Cognac into a Sazerac).
The Courvoisier Connoisseur Collection offers the generous gift giver (or the lucky recipient) luxury at several price points. Courvoisier 12 ($49.99, 750ml) is distinguished by almond, raisin and orange marmalade notes. Courvoisier 21 www.courvoisier.com ($250.00, 750ml) aged in warehouses for over two decades to develop its richness and heady aromatic style.
Solerno Liqueur ($36.99,750 ml), infused with blood orange fruit and extraction of the essential oils from the fruit’s skin, is comprised of a special blend of small batch distillates, each crafted in old fashioned Alembic stills in Italy with an infusion.
Hum Botanical Spirit ($44.99, 750 ml) is the brainchild of mixologists Adam Seger (Chicago) and Joe McCanta (London), who infused organic rum with fair trade hibiscus, organic ginger, green cardamom and kaffir lime to create the beautifully balanced spirit.