We're here to shed light on the dark spirit aisle. 

By Betty Gold
December 18, 2019
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Whether you’re hoping to find the just-right gift for a husband, holiday hostess, or parent, it’s no surprise that whiskey is one of the most popular presents. But for those without a base knowledge of brands or varieties (or even for those who do), shopping for scotch, rye, or bourbon can be a struggle.

We tapped Rachel Fontana, the whiskey tasting expert from Sagamore Spirit for her tips on how to pick the perfect whiskey gift this season. The best part? You don’t even need to know a thing about whiskey: all you need to have in mind is what that special someone on your lists likes to eat, read, or how they like to entertain.

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Food first.

The foods they love most tells you half of what you need to know. If they like sweets, consider bourbon, which tends to also be on the sweeter side. If they prefer spice, look for a rye. Scotch has a distinct smoky flavor and can be great for cheese and meat lovers.

Age matters.

Look to see if there’s language on the bottle that says “aged for XX years.” Time often translates to more robust flavor. These bottles also have badge value.

Consider how they entertain.

If they like to host dinners or cocktail parties, you’ll want to gift something versatile that can serve as the base for a range of cocktails. Start by looking at lower-proof spirits—anything under 90-proof usually means people can enjoy a few cocktails without having to worry about it hitting them too hard.

Appeal to their inner history buff.

If they love historical biographies, look for whiskies from Pennsylvania, New York, or Maryland, where American whiskey-making originated. Many people know Kentucky has a whiskey making history, but if you pick a bottle of rye from one of these other famous whiskey regions, you’ll be giving them a good story to read up on, too.

Think about bottle envy.

If they stock their bar cart for looks rather than drinks, buy a bold-shaped bottle that looks impressive on-shelf.

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