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Gifting 101: The Etiquette of Giving Spirits

Alcohol can make a thoughtful, well-received gift just as much as anything else (at least, it does for us).

But when it comes to gifting spirits – whether that means a vintage bottle of wine or a bottle of single-malt scotch whisky – you need to be smart about it and really consider all of the facts before purchasing your holiday gifts; after all it is the thought that counts!

Here are some pointers:

Don’t Be Lazy About It
Just because buying spirits is one of the more convenient gift-giving options, it doesn’t mean it needs to look like you put zero effort into it. Buy something that you know the receiver actually likes and make it personal. For example, if they have an upcoming trip to Scotland why not gift them a classic bottle of whisky like the Bowmore 12 YO. If they like specialty cocktails, pick out a beautiful bottle of cognac.

Presentation Matters
Like any gift, presentation matters when it comes to gifting alcohol – the brown LCBO bag won’t cut it. Instead, drop the few extra dollars on for festive-looking packaging. As easy as the “To/From” gift tags are, include a thoughtful holiday card instead.

Research Your Spirits and your “Special Someone”
Gifting spirits needs to be personal. You need to take the recipient into consideration prior to purchasing it. It’s about knowing your audience. If they are a scotch drinker, do they enjoy a peaty flavor? Or do they prefer the smoother, gentler flavours of the triple distilled whisky found with Auchentoshan? Do they enjoy drinking their spirits neat or as a cocktail? This knowledge will help guide your decision and make your gift thoughtful.

Keep it Classy for the Boss
If you’re going to gift your boss with alcohol, don’t be cheap or overly generic about it. Do a little research into his or her tastes and be thoughtful. If your boss has a soft spot for single malt scotch whisky, grab a quality bottle like the Auchentoshan 12-year-old single malt scotch whisky or the Bowmore 12-year-old single malt whisky. To ensure you remain top of mind, it’s best to select something that is versatile.

Consider Pairing it with Something Else
If you are unsure whether your gift is enough, pair it with something else that will last once the bottle is empty. This could mean anything from nice glassware to accompany a nice bottle of Bowmore 12 YO or some quality chocolate to pair with a quality cognac like Courvoisier VS.

Suggest Interesting Ways to Serve Your Gifted Spirit
When done right, cocktails can be a great way to incorporate high-end spirits – just remember, use quality ingredients! Why not include the following recipes in your gift card? The recipient will be sure to love the thought and inspiration.

Recipe for Courvoisier VS ®

Ginger Snap
This recipe is perfect for the holiday season as the Courvoisier VS Cognac’s flavour is enriched by the Ginger Snap’s soft vanilla and ginger flavours.

– 1oz Courvoisier VS Cognac
– 0.5oz Galliano Vanilla
– Fever Tree Ginger Beer
– Build in a rocks glass filled with ice
– Mint sprig garnish

Recipe for Bowmore 12 YO ®

Islay Blossom
1.5oz Bowmore 12 Single Malt Scotch
1.5oz Chamomile and Mint Tea (chilled)
1oz Elderflower Liqueur
2 Cardamon Seeds
Muddle cardamom seeds in a mixing glass
Add in other ingredients and shake with ice
Strain into a Rocks glass filled with fresh ice
Garnish with an edible pink flower

Recipe for Auchentoshan ®

Auchentoshan and Ale
1.5 oz Auchentoshan 12 year
1-2 dashes aromatic bitters and lemon, orange, or grapefruit peel.
Add all the ingredients to a highball glass
Drop in a few ice cubes
Top with your favourite ale

Alex Richmond

Alex Richmond is a social media and contributing writer at Notable Life.