Last week, we picked 6 Boozy Gifts from Washington Distillers to Give. And while I’m always for our local distillers, there are also some lovely bottled items made outside our state lines that you might want to think about as a gift for that special cocktail-and-liquor-loving someone on your list. Check out the below selections, and start checking both lists twice for those folks who have been extra nice.
Sandeman Founders Reserve Port: For some reason, the idea of sipping a fine port after dinner has never taken off here in the states like it should. Help me fix this issue by picking up a present of port this year. I suggest Sandeman Founders Reserve, a ruby port aged for five years, with a beautiful red color, and layered deep with fruit flavors, cherry, and woodsy notes that pair particularly well with cheese and chocolate. Sipping it solo, you can taste the company’s 200 years of historic port-making in every drop. If you can get it in the collectible tin, well, it’s even more special.
Château du Tariquet VS Classique Bas-Armagnac: Another underutilized sipper here in the U.S., Armagnac should be better known – and will induce loads of smiles as a gift. Distilled once, but aged in oak barrels, Armagnac is known for its full, warm flavors. Château du Tariquet VS Classique from the Bas-Armagnac region is a great example, aged in oak for three years, and with luxurious toffee, bread, and nutty aromas, which are magnified by hints of vanilla, dried fruits, and cocoa on the tongue. It’s well worth sipping by itself, but also makes a fairly magnificent base for cocktails in place of regular brandy.
Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey: If you’re buying for a bourbon lover who’s already stocked on our locals, Blade and Bow is a good way to go. Inside each bottle is some of the oldest whiskey stocks from the renowned Stitzel-Weller Distillery (closed in 1992) – its Blade and Bow’s way of showing respect. It also uses a solera aging system (rare in whiskey, but basically when a cask is never emptied, always containing past batches, so increasing the average age each time). It brings a slightly fruity aroma, followed by apricot, pear, and toasty grain on the palate, with oak and spice on the finish.
The London No. 1 Gin: This also falls into the “buying for someone who is stocked with local bottles already” category, as we have lots of great local gins. But if wanting to go outside Washington, this small batch gin is unique. Crafted right in the heart of London, it uses 12 botanicals to make the gin, including standards (juniper, citrus) and singulars (almond, angelica, bergamot, cassia, iris, and others). It’s also macerated with gardenia flowers, which give this gin a singular turquoise hue, while those botanicals unleash a resonating flavor that’s bright, spice-filled, floral, and noteworthy.
Townsend Tea Spirit #50 Bitter Tea: Made by Thomas & Sons Distillery, the distillery arm of Portland’s Townsend Tea Company, this is one of its line of spirits distilled from tea (some of the only spirits distilled from tea anywhere). It has a variety (Sweet Tea, Spice Tea, Smoke Tea, and more), but if you’re picking out gifts for a courageous drinker, one who tends to like Fernet Branca and other forceful herbal-and-bitter brews, this is the pick! Made with a combination of cardamom, mint, black pepper, nutmeg, and strong black tea from the Assam region of India, Bitter Tea is mighty digestif, and can play in cocktails, too.