Food & Culture

Cocktail Lover’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guide: Local Edition

By AJ Rathbun December 8, 2016


We’re already waist deep into the winter holiday shopping season, but I’m guessing you haven’t picked out spectacular items for every single person on your list yet–I sure haven’t! If one of those folks who you’re shopping for happens to be a cocktail-making or spirit lover, I’m here to help with six wonderful ideas, all of which are made by Washington state distillers.

Woodinville Whiskey Co. Flagship Rye: Released on October 15, Woodinville’s new rye is a rare breed: it’s 100% made from rye, as opposed to rye and other grain (and the rye is all grown in Quincy, WA, on the Omlin family farm). Aged from 5-1/2 to 6 years in charred American oak barrels, in the distillery’s own barrel houses that are also in Quincy, it has a nice spicy rye character accompanied by caramel and toasty wood, all introduced by cinnamon, clove and fruit aromas. Currently only offered here, it’s an ideal pick for an out-of-state whiskey lover.

Sun Liquor Aged Eggnog: In what’s become a beloved tradition, Sun Liquor is unleashing its bourbon- and brandy-based ‘nog in take-home style, on this Saturday, the 10th. If you know someone who’s a fan of the seasonal treat, here’s a present they are sure to remember. It’ll be at Total Wine & More spots in Bellevue, Tukwila, Lynnwood, Northgate and Interbay, and will go quickly. Also, if all the festivities leave you needing a merry drink, they’ll be serving it on Christmas Eve and Day in both Sun Liquor bars.

Westland Winter Single Malt American Whiskey: The first “Winter” release from the distillery, and designed for our current long nights, there are only 2,400 bottles of this available so snag one for connoisseurs before they’re gone. It uses a combination of pale malt, the distillery’s five malt blend, and peated malt, and marries whiskey aged in multiple casks: ex-bourbon, ex-Oloroso sherry, ex-Westland and Cooper’s Reserve. All that care leads to a taste mingling smoke, gingerbread, baked apples and other fruit, and a hint of chocolate. 

Scratch Ginology: We’ve mentioned a few presents particular to whiskey devotees, but if that favorite drinker on your list leans more towards gin, set them up at Scratch. Ginology classes let attendees pick from a wide number of different flavors to find which combination creates their perfect gin, along with learning fun history, distillery stories and more. Everyone goes home with a bottle of their gin, and Scratch keeps the individual recipes on hand for when more is needed. Reserve a class for you and the gift-ee for twice the fun.

Old Ballard Liquor Co. Tomten Aquavit: A winter holiday gnome, the Tomten is a famous creature in Scandinavian folklore, and also now a famous festive aquavit made in Ballard this time of year. The layers of caraway alongside baking spices ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cardamom make this wonderful with wine in the classic Glögg, but it’s also sippable solo, and a bottle will fit in any large stocking. If your recipient likes smaller samples, check out the Viking Ship six-pack aquavit assortment.

Heritage Distilling Spirits Advent Calendar: I realize that traditional advent calendars are already eight days in, but if you know someone who loved opening those little doors, you’ll still want to get them this, provided they’re over 21. Operating on the same logic, there are 24 “days” here, but when you open one, you’ll find a different mini-bottle of Heritage Spirits behind each, from Blood Orange vodka to Brown Sugar Bourbon and many more. Not only a jolly experience, it’s also a great way to taste a wide range of their products.

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