The festive season is upon us and there are plenty of different gift ideas available, other than buying a bottle of something special for a friend or family member, such as the award-winning Glen Scotia 14yo Tawny Port Campbeltown Festival Edition Single Malt pictured above and released to coincide with the Campbeltown Malts Festival 2020. This bottle is still available at selected retailers, such as Robbie’s Whisky Merchants online.

Note: the main bottle shot was provided courtesy of Christophe from the blog More Drams Less Drama and known as @Coldorak on twitter.

Here are some ideas for boozy gifts for your friends or loved ones!

Getting into the Christmas spirit!

1. Send a Whisky Christmas Card with a Dram!

The Really Good Whisky Company has launched an innovative Christmas Card for you to send to those whisky lovers out there – the Whisky Christmas Card with a Dram!

2. Invite a friend to a Virtual Tasting or Show

For available online whisky tastings, the Virtual Whisky website is a great resource for what is available, at least in the UK. An excellent example of an available whisky tasting is the one offered by the Isle of Raasay Distillery.

Aside from whisky, Eden Mill offers a number of virtual Gin experiences and tastings. As part of the experience, you can sample 7 x gins from the set and will be coached through a variety of flavours and how to pair each gin perfectly with the suggested mixers and garnishes. On top of that, there is also a quiz and this time around the prizes include Eden Mill’s new Christmas gifts. One set can be enjoyed by 2 people (or if 1, just pour sensible measures). 

Picture: Rosalind Erskine, The Scotsman

If you are looking to make the most of your time ‘staying in’ the house, then Cocktails is another option – either by ordering pre-made cocktails from local bars online to support your local community or by ordering DIY kits from companies such as The Glasgow Distillery Company. Enjoy your favourite cocktails from the comfort of your own home with their special cocktail kits.

Finally, why not join a Whisky Show instead, such as the Southport Winter Whisky Festival 2020. I took part in their original launch event earlier in 2020 and it was great fun!

3. The Gift of Education

Education can take the shape of a virtual and/or a physical gift, such as a book or magazine. Personally, I’d strongly recommend the Malt Whisky Yearbook which I purchase every year. If you want to know more about the drinks industry, distilleries and so on, there is no match for this annual release.

For those people interested in whisky, I would also recommend a Whisky Magazine subscription which could be a very nice present to someone.

Alternatively, many courses are available online for those interested in self-development (gift to self) or to give as a present to others, and this list highlights only some of them…

The EWA (Edinburgh Whisky Academy) provides an award-winning approach to whisky education, meaning candidates learn directly from experts, distilling years of insight and experience into concise SQA-certified courses that are intensive, industry relevant but above all fun and engaging. They even offer the opportunity to give the gift of online whisky education with the added bonus of a beautiful gift for under the tree, such as their Introduction to Whisky Certificate in a unique 4×6 photo frame made from a retired Scotch Whisky barrel (pictured below).

The Mixing Class offers online industry-recognised courses from the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust). They are the leading independent WSET spirits school and founded by former bartender Hannah Lanfear. Clocking in at 20 years of service to the cocktail & spirits industry, her journey took her from a teenager pulling pints and pouring rum in a harbour-side tavern in Cornwall, to making fancy drinks for the cognoscenti in some of the world’s elite bars. They offer WSET Spirits course at Level 1, 2 and the more advanced level 3.

Hannah Lanfear

The Islay Whisky Academy is an Independent educational whisky school offering Certificated online courses, residential Diplomas and specialised whisky lectures for all, founded over ten years ago by Rachel MacNeill. They have released the WHISKY AFFINITY online course, with Volume 1 Courting the Dram available to purchase online and also to be sent out as a Christmas gift. It is an affordable course with new volumes available every 3 months.

Finally, another option of a gift of education could be a physical gift, such as the posters from Once Upon a Whisky including for example the one I have for ‘Whisky Tasting Steps’ (pictured below and held by the company’s founder Camilo).

Another gift option involves a drinks tray with descriptors by the leading whisky expert Charles ‘Charlie’ MacLean. 

Charlie´s Whisky Tray is based on the collaborative work by Charles and Sheila MacLean. The text on the tray is derived from common descriptors used by Charles over the past 30 years with more than 150 descriptors (158 to be precise).

Lidefuld also sells the Beer Flavour Terminology Tray, a serving tray based on the work of brewing scientist Dr. Morten C. Meilgaard.

Charlie MacLean

4. Gift a genuinely Crafted Whisky Product

MiaWoodCrafts on Etsy creates beautiful pens crafted from genuine scotch whisky casks, such as the one below (which I purchased). They also produce other craft products from the cask such as pins, clocks and keyrings.

Another potential Christmas idea could be a bespoke and handcrafted bottle lamp made to your specifications such as those created by DramLamps. I ordered my own Glen Scotia Victoriana dram lamp a while back…

5. Keep them warm with a drink and a Christmas Jumper

The novelty of a Christmas Jumper branded with a favourite drink brand remains, but these offers tend to be limited in number. The newest offering comes courtesy of Chase GB Gin presented in their own matching Christmas jumper. Click here to be taken to their website.

Maker’s Mark Bourbon whiskey also has a similar offering, available on sites such as Amazon.

    For reference – the Inside the Cask Christmas Past present ideas:

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