Michter’s is one of my favorites for an Old Fashioned or Manhattan — cocktails where the quality of the liquor is crucial. This limited-edition Barrel Strength Rye is, I think, the best thing they make. It is smooth, easy-drinking with balanced notes of fruit and spice, which makes it good enough to drink neat. –Marissa Stephenson

Brooklyn Black Ops and Goose Island Bourbon County

My go-to gifts for the winter reflect what I want to drink: Imperial Stouts. Here are two great ones you can get most everywhere, released just in time for the season: Brooklyn Black Ops, and Goose Island Bourbon County. –Tyghe Trimble

Ardbeg 10

Easy to find, won’t break the bank, and deep on the smoky scale. Having grown up with super peaty Scotches in the house, this one’s an easy pick for me. –Max Plenke

Illegal Mezcal

One sip of Illegal Mezcal and I knew this was going to be my new go-to. —John Lonsdale 

Casamigos Tequila

For the friend you know would rather spend the holidays south of the border, tequila can help transport them there sans plane ticket. For the margarita fan, pick up a bottle of Casamigos Blanco, and for your mate who takes it straight, splurge on the Anejo. –Nicholas Hegel McClelland

Hudson Baby Bourbon

I’ll be gifting a bottle of Hudson Baby Bourbon to someone in my family this year who’s been interested in knowing more about whiskey but doesn’t have a clue where to go other than his usual bottle of Maker’s Mark. I’m opting for Hudson for him because I think it’s really great small batch whiskey that has a flavor profile distinct enough that it will be recognizable even to people who are new to the world of craft whiskey (plus, it won’t break my bank). It makes for an awesome gift. –Shawn McCreesh

Basil Hayden’s Bourbon

This is my go-to bourbon for holiday punch. Its a flavorful whiskey, but also mingles well with other ingredients, so you can create a great spiked eggnog or cider. A bottle of bourbon is a way better gift for the host of a holiday party than a bottle of wine and goes much further. –Nicholas Hegel McClelland

Lagavulin 16 Year Old scotch

Until my father-in-law educated me, I thought peat was just a guy who misspelled his name. Once you go Islay you never go back. This is a great bottle to get anyone into scotch. –Greg Emmanuel

Wathen’s Single Barrel

Wathen’s Single Barrel is kind of a sleeper hit, so it’s got little of the marketing fanfare of a better-known bourbon but a smooth caramel and vanilla warmth you want from a whiskey. And it’s still affordable, but whiskey-head enthusiasm is pushing the price up. –Mark Healy

Zubrowka Vodka

I rarely drink vodka, and never mix cocktails with it, but this one’s the exception. It’s a Polish vodka flavored with actual grass, which gives it a natural vanilla/cinnamon flavor. But it tastes really smooth. Mix it with a little apple cider (hot or over ice), garnish with an apple slice and a burnt cinnamon stick. A nice holiday alternative. –Justin Long

High West’s A Midwinter Night’s Dram

As the temperatures start to plunge, there’s nothing better than settling in next to the fireplace with a glass of whiskey. High West’s A Midwinter Night’s Dram is a rich and delicious rye finished in carefully curated port and French oak barrels. It’s a thick, rich whiskey with great spice. Perfect for sipping around a holiday fire. –Nicholas Hegel McClelland

The Macallan 12 Double Cask

Without fail, some generous soul gifts me a bottle of The Macallan 12 around the holidays. It’s one of my favorites. But this year, I’m hoping they mix it up and pick up a bottle of the new Double Cask. Traditional Macallan 12 spends most of its aging process in Spanish oak sherry casks and then spends a shorter time in American oak ones. The Double Cask flips that scenario and the whiskey does most of its aging in the American wood, flipping the flavors. The result is just as delicious as the original, but wildly different. –Nicholas Hegel McClelland

Booker’s Bourbon

Booker’s Bourbon is my latest fave. –Mark Hewko


A little Disaronno on the rocks is a perfect after-dinner drink. Very smooth and not overwhelmingly sweet, you could definitely sip this one at your leisure. –Adam Milt