Christmas Tipple Gift Guide 2012

Warm the cockles this Christmas with our tipple gift guide! Here are some of our top choices for you to consider this winter:

1. Kraken Black Spiced Rum (RRP £22.99,70CL, 40%. Available from Waitrose)

Taking its name from the infamous sea monster, this bottle of dark spiced Caribbean rum was introduced to the UK about 2 years ago. Since then, the rum has acquired a reputation for being one of the finest bottles of rum around. We loved this rum and it`s certainly one of our favourites, if not our actual favourite. The rum has delicious vanilla notes and a toffee/ treacle taste to it – delicious. It is far superior to the more generic rums on the market and thanks to elements of unique flavouring. Not only does it taste good, but the bottle is stunning! The bottle takes inspiration from the Victorian flagon-style bottle, with the handles mimicking the haunting eyes of the Kraken.

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A bottle of Kraken would make a fantastic gift this Christmas and would certainly keep you busy on cold winter evenings! Perfect by itself, with a mixer or in a cocktail – release the Kraken!

2. Russian Standard Gold (RRP £20, available from Selfridges)

Let me tell you now, I love Vodka and I love Russian Standard! Well this celebratory edition of Russian Standard comes in a fantastic golden presentation box and even contains Serbian Golden Root to boot. We were told that the golden root provides “notes of light vanilla, cinnamon, five spice and ginseng to the taste. With an herbal hint and warm spice to its aroma, the finish is slightly warmer than the other vodkas.” We have to say that we got most of these flavours and the cinnamon and vanilla notes make a great vodka based choice for Christmas. The vodka has the typically smooth taste of Russian Standard, standard, so it is just an enhancement on what we know and it is also just a little more wintery!

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Take a leaf out the Russian`s book and purchase this Gold Standard for the perfect vodka lover`s Christmas gift.

3. Courvoisier this Christmas

Courvoisier VSOP Fine Champagne (70cl, RRP£31.49)

Courvoisier Cognac has history that goes all the way back to 1811, when Parisian Wine & Spirit Merchant Emmanuel Courvoisier began supplying the court of Emperor Napolean I. Apparently, the British were so impressed with the drink that it henceforth became known as the ‘Emperors Cognac’. Its fame was further reinforced in 1869 when it was named ‘Purveyor by Special Appointment to the Court of Napoleon III. To this day, the brand still embodies all of the history and heritage which has gone before it – it really is a classy act. The Cognac is double distilled in the Charente alembic pot still and it is aged in hand-crafted oak barrels.

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A perfect tipple this Christmas, Courvoisier VSOP is a fine Champagne Cognac. The drink is composed of 50% Grande Champagne cognacs blended exclusively with Petite Champagne cognacs. The grapes come from two of the most celebrated Cognac regions. The VSOP comes in a gorgeous 70 cl decanter, at 40% ABV.

With lovely hints of vanilla, the VSOP has a beautiful taste and went down a treat here at Iconic Gifts HQ. The quality of the taste and the depth of flavour really makes the 10 years it took take make it worthwhile. Available from Asda, Sainsbury`s, Tesco, Waitrose and Morrisons.

Courvoisier XO Imperial (RRP £103.82)

If you are looking for a slightly pricier, slightly more special gift from Courvoisier, then the XO Imperial may just fit the bill! Although the VSOP is stunning, the XO Imperial takes the level of class and quality to another level. Blended from a stonking 40 plus cognacs and aged for up to 35 years, this cognac really celebrates and indulges in the tradition of the drink.

During the creation of this fabulous tipple, it is stored within barrels which are apparently charred by hand; the result is hints crème brûlée and this works particularly well candied orange of the grapes from the Grande Champagne cru. Sublime.

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This is a great gift for a special occasion this Christmas, a special gift and a beloved cognac enthusiast. Courvoisier XO Imperial 70cl is available from selected Waitrose stores and www.thedrinkshop.com, RRP £103.82.

4. Patrón Añejo (£54.00 750ml)

Patrón tequila is a hand crafted in the Hacienda del Patrón, amongst the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. According to Patrón, their tequila is “made of only the sweet heart of the agave, called the piña. The piña, the ripe heart of the agave, can weigh 200lbs. Agave must mature for 6 or 7 years before its sugar contents peak, making it ripe for harvest for tequila. Tequila is made of only the sweet heart of the agave, called the piña.” Therefore, even by taking a brief glimpse at how this tequila is made, you get a real sense of care, tradition and of fine craft. Maybe it is all of these elements which make this tequila one of the best in the world. The elegance and style of the flavour also manifests itself in the bottle`s appearance, which is a piece of art in its own right. Also, much like its contents, the bottle has a rigorous testing process to make sure it is up to Patrón standards.

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Patrón Anejo is a double distilled, minimum 12 month aged tequila, made from 100% Weber Blue Agave. The taste is smooth, with a strong oaky taste and hints of vanilla. You can really, really taste the craftsmanship and time in this drink! Each bottle is made from hand crafted recycled glass and is individually numbered, therefore making it a truly special and unique present this Christmas.

Available from Waitrose, Ocado, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges

5. Great wine gifts from Halfwines.com

Christmas is a very, very popular time for hampers and for gift packs to be sent to friends, families and relatives. However, there are occasions in which a full sized bottle of wine is not suitable or just not practical. With this in mind, I would like to introduce you to a brilliant service called Halfwines.com; a site which specialises in half bottles of wine! halfwine.com supplies half bottles of wine that contain 375ml or 37.5cl which equates to 2 to 3 glasses per half bottle of wine. We sampled some of the wines available and they were all of very high quality indeed.

Here are a couple of Christmas gift sets that caught our eye:

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These half bottles are perfect for hampers, gift bags and just to drink on an evening. Another great idea for a gift are the halfwine tasting packs (link) which offers a selection of wines in both red, white and mixed packs – a great idea for any wine love!

Some crucial information for you though, delivery costs are based on the number of half bottles that you order; the more you order the less you pay. If you order 12 or more half bottles, delivery is free. Wine Club orders have no additional delivery costs, irrespective of the number of halves ordered. Also, if you don`t like a wine for any reason or it is off (it happens, even in the best of families) they will give you a credit towards your next purchase.

To embark on your halfwine journey, please click here: http://www.halfwine.com/

6. Martin Miller`s Gin & Tonic Connoisseur Gift Box (RRP £25)

This is the perfect gift for any gin lover! The set includes a 70cl bottle of Martin Miller`s award-winning, classic dry gin, a long handled spoon and a jar of junipers to boot. All of this is set within a fab presentation box – perfect to put under the tree this Christmas.

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The sets focal point, a bottle of Martin Miller`s gin, is worthy of any Christmas stocking and would be a good enough pressie by itself! This super heavy weight bottle screams elegance and tastes fantastic too. We really enjoyed the unison of juniper, cucumber and citrus within this gin, just to name but a few flavours! In short, it`s a very refreshing and light gin – gorgeous.

A long handled spoon is also provided for the real gin connoisseurs and aspiring mixologists, and it is used to aerate the bubbles when pouring tonic water! The junipers can be added to a G&T to accentuate and really bring out the flavours of this top gin.

This cracking Martin Miller`s Gin & Tonic Connoisseur Gift Box is available from Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Wine Rack, Nicholas, Oddbins and Drinkshop.com. RRP£25.

7. Blue Nun Sparkling Gold (£9.59, 75cl)

Looking for a cheap(er) tipple to help you start (or even carry on) your celebrations this Christmas? Why not try an affordable bottle of Blue Nun`s new sparkling Gold Edition white wine. The sparkling wine comes in an elegant bottle and the wine is finished off with dainty flecks of 22 carat gold leaf! It really does look the part.

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When you think Blue Nun you may think of 70s and 80s, therefore, making it seem a little bit dated. However, this bottle of sparkling suggests that there are still some great and innovative products coming from the brand. It tastes ok and has a light fruity flavour – not bad! For under £10 you can`t really go too far wrong and this bottle is a great alternative to more pricey sparkling celebratory drinks, such as prosecco or champagne.

Blue Nun Sparkling Gold Edition is available from under £10 from www.drinksdirect.co.uk or www.thedrinkshop.com for a 75cl bottle.

Disclosure: For this blog post we were able to gain access to a sample product or service.
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