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Best alcoholic gifts for Christmas

Leave it to Esquire to come up with a list of the top booze-related Christmas gifts. David Wondrich, Esquire’s drinks correspondent, presents his picks to “surprise even the most jaded liquor enthusiast”:

1. Krogstad Aquavit

House Spirits Distillery, a micro-distillery in Portland, Oregon, may be known for its gin, but this Scandinavian-inspired spirit, flavored with star anise and caraway seed, makes a more exciting alternative — the closest thing I’ve seen to an aquavit from Norway or Denmark. Drink it with savory foods, or down it as a (delicious) chilled shot. ($24.45, housespirits.com)

2. Hayman’s Old Tom Gin

But if it’s gin you want, it’s gin you’ll get. Just make sure you choose carefully: This classic London bottle is based on a style of making gin that dates back to the 19th century and was only recently revived. It’ll work for all your Martinez needs — and believe me, you have Martinez needs. ($31.99, oldtomgin.co.uk)

3. Château de Fontpinot XO

Not all cognacs are created equal. The French estate for which this bottle is named makes one of the smoothest, mellowest cognacs around. I’m almost tempted to not recommend it at all just so it doesn’t sell out. ($100, cognac-frapin.com)

4. Trinidad 2000 Plantation Rum

While a nice bottle of cognac is a classic holiday gift, have you also considered rum? Not just any rum, but a vintage, cask-aged one, like this Caribbean bottle, which has layers of tropical fruit flavor — a rum worth serious consideration. ($39.99, plantationrum.com)

5. Crème Yvette

Originally produced in 1890, this berry-and-violet liqueur was once used to get Gibson Girls out of their shirtwaists. Now it’s being resurrected as an upgrade from Chambord and other berry liqueurs, perfect for the amateur mixologist who wants to step up his game. ($40.99, cremeyvette.com)

6. Parker’s Heritage Collection 27-Year-Old Small Batch Bourbon

Parker Beam, the sixth-generation distiller at Heaven Hill Distilleries (Evan Williams, Elijah Craig), is one of the last of the old-time American bourbon men. He’s been at it for more than forty years, so needless to say he knows what he’s doing. This small-batch bottle, hand-picked by Beam from Heaven Hill’s selection of more than 700,000 barrels, is a chance to get something classically American that’s also completely unique. ($200, bardstownwhiskeysociety.com)

7. Maker’s 46

The first new product from Maker’s Mark in five decades is different enough without being too different: Based on the original recipe, this offshoot whiskey is bolder, slightly spicier, and a little more interesting. It sounds blasphemous, but it might even be better than the real thing. ($36.99, makersmark.com)

8. Ardbeg Corryvreckan Islay Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

For some men, drinking is an adventure, an experiment, and even a challenge. Ardbeg is the single-malt for them: a huge, powerful scotch that takes no prisoners and shows no mercy. The only adequate alternative is hand-to-hand combat. ($84.99, ardbeg.com)

9. Del Maguey Mezcal Vida

This is not just another tequila. Del Maguey, based in New Mexico, has been bringing authentic, village-distilled Oaxacan mezcal to the consciousness of American drinkers for twenty years now. Vida, their newest and most affordable version to date, might just be their breakthrough. ($36, mezcal.com)

From The Nine Other Bottles to Give