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6:00am Saturday 30th November 2013 in Lifestyle
Fancy a drink? Our drinks columnist Sam Wylie-Harris Harris shortlists the best gift packs for wine lovers, whisky noses and aspiring mixologists.
A merry measure
If you want to give your loved one - or your drinks cabinet - a festive treat, here's a round-up of this season's top tipples.
:: Pink persuasion
A rose champagne with personality and character, Madame Lily Bollinger would be delighted by the first new Bollinger cuvee in 30 years and the robust richness of Bollinger Rose Brut NV (£46.49, Waitrose). With a high proportion of pinot noir to give depth and structure, this seductive salmon pink rose has sweet strawberry fruits on the nose with an exuberant, fresh and minerally finish.
:: Double the pleasure
The seventh generation family winemakers and highly respected house of Billecart-Salmon have created a special gift box to impress your nearest and dearest. Nestled inside a black engraved case, the Billecart-Salmon Coffret gift set (£105, www.champagnedirect.co.uk) contains a bottle of Brut Reserve perfect to enjoy with a rich pate, and Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru (made from 100% chardonnay) to marry with grilled langoustine or pan-fried scallops.
:: Family fortunes
Royal warrant holders Berry Bros & Rudd reside over a stellar cellar, and their gift parcels are not only despatched to Royal households, but to drinks enthusiasts looking for some special Yuletide inspiration. The Berry Bros & Rudd Family Christmas (£65.50, 6 bottles or £131, 12 bottles, www.bbr.com) contains one or two bottles of Old World classics such as Berrys' Chablis 2011, Berrys' Good Ordinary Claret 2010 and New World favourites Berrys' Chilean Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and Berrys' Chilean Merlot.
:: Tools of the trade
Charming, quirly and retro, The Bramble Case (£185, www.tipplesworth.com) is the creation of Tipplesworth and London micro distillery Sipsmith. A portable cocktail case with all the bar essentials, mixologists can create gin-based cocktails using Sipsmith London Dry Gin (35cl), Merlet Creme de Mure, Tipplesworth Pure Cane Sugar Syrup and Organic Lemon Juice. Just pour the ingredients into a Boston shaker, strain into two tumblers and celebrate happy hour.
:: The Christmas spirit
Crystal Head Vodka and 2 Skull Shot Glasses (£65, 70cl, www.amazon.co.uk) may not look especially festive, but the silky smooth, premium spirit will bring tidings of joy to vodka lovers. Perfectly pure, Crystal Head is quadruple distilled in glacial water from a deep aquifier in Newfoundland, Canada, then triple filtered through polished crystals. The creation of Dan Ackroyd, Crystal Head will appeal to ghostbusters and white spirit lovers alike.
:: Highland fling
One of the best-selling blends in the world, Chivas Regal have linked up with Savile Row tailors, Norton & Sons, to design a gift pack showcasing the cut, cloth and tailoring of a bespoke suit. The Chivas 12 Year Old Made for Gentlemen (£28.99, 70cl, www.amazon.co.uk) offers whisky noses the chance to enjoy the rich, honeyed, taste and butterscotch notes of its 12 Year Old while mulling over the craftsmanship of a properly made suit.
:: Golden nugget
A glittering edition to the holiday drinks cabinet, Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve (£57.50, 70cl, www.harrods.com) has been dipped in gold lacquer for the party season. With signature Johnnie Walker smoke lingering in the background, Gold Label is smooth and fruity with honey and toffee notes and a pleasing, creamy mouthfeel.
:: A toast to ol' blue eyes
From time to time, distilleries release one-off, limited editions to catch our imagination, and Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select (£150, www.whiskyshop.com) is one such thing. America's most famous and best-selling whiskey brand, Jack Daniel's, released this last year in anticipation of legendary crooner Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday in 2015, and is now available to buy in the UK.
:: Best buy
Ice and pink... Soft drinks supremo Bottle Green have launched a limited edition Bottle Green Sparkling Morello Cherry (£2.39, 75cl, Waitrose) as an alternative to alchohol ahead of the party season.
A dazzling cerise pink, the infusion of tart morello cherry and sour grapefruit flavours are full of zing while the blend of sparkling water makes it a refreshing change to fruit juice.
:: Liquid news
Half of Brits stuck in a wine rut... According to a recent survey carried out by Asda, almost half the nation are playing it safe and buying the same wine every time they shop. Aquarter of wine drinkers have only tried two new wines in the last year, and women in their 30s are the least likely to have tried something new in the past 12 months.
To buck the trend, Asda have launched an online Wine Shop (www.asda.com/wineshop) with more than 500 wines to entice tipplers to be more adventurous. And with free delivery in the run-up to Christmas, it could be worth exploring some lesser known grape varieties and drinking off your beaten track.
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