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Top 10 Christmas drinks gifts

With the festive season now officially underway, the drinks business has rounded up some of the best limited edition drinks gifts on offer.

With today marking 1 December, the festive season is truly upon us with those choosing to put off their Christmas shopping becoming increasingly more daring by the day.

Not only does today mark the first day of December, but also Cyber Monday – reportedly the biggest online shopping day of the year. Experian predicts consumers will spend a staggering £649.6 million (US$1 billion) on 1 December alone, or £451,000 ($709k) a minute – a 26% increase on last year’s Cyber Monday last year.

If you are one of the millions scrambling online today for the perfect gift, this collection of ‘launched in time for Christmas’ limited edition gifts could prove to be the perfect inspiration – from budget-friendly gift packs to pricey Courvoisier Cognacs.

Scroll through to see what drink-relation gifts could be waiting under your tree this Christmas…

Limited Edition Southern Comfort Louisiana jam cocktail set

Southern Comfort has released a limited edition gift set for Christmas capitalising on a current trend for serving cocktails in jam jars, and using jam and an ingredient. Containing a 35cl bottle of Southern Comfort Original, a jar of apricot jam, a jam jar glass and a stirrer, the recipient will have all they need to whip up a Louisiana Jam cocktail. The set costs £25.00 and will be available from selected Tesco stores from 15 December.

Iron Maiden Trooper gift tube

Robinsons Brewery has teamed up with UK supermarket Morrisons to release a limited edition gift tube of Iron Maiden’s Trooper ale. Since its launch 18 months ago, Trooper has broken into the top 50 branded bottled ales in the UK off-trade enjoying a 49% year-on-year increase, growing at more than four times the average rate of the top 100 brands.

John Morris, Morrison’s beer buyer said: “Just under 700,000 bottles of Trooper beer have been sold since we started stocking the product; which equates to almost 40,000 bottles per month or 1,300 bottles per day. The bottle’s label, together with the push our stores have given it, was initially the main factor in its success however we are finding customers increasingly making repeat purchases of the product which is a great credit to the beer’s taste and drinkability. We are very excited to now offer our customers the new Trooper gift pack exclusively.”

Containing a 500ml bottle of Trooper ale along with a branded Trooper pint glass, the set will be available in selected Morrisons stores across the UK and online priced at £5.

Ballantine’s Christmas Reserve

Ballantine’s has once again launched its 2014 Christmas Reserve Limited Edition – a “delicious and seasonal whisky blend” with notes of “ginger, moist raisin fruitcake, ripe pears, sweet candy apples, caramel toffee, tangy orange and liquorish root.” First launched in 2010, the fifth edition of Ballantine’s Christmas Reserve is today available in 20 countries worldwide, including Korea, Turkey, Kenya, Estonia and Japan, who are stocking the whisky for the first time this year. Peter Moore, global brand director for Ballantine’s, said: “Our esteemed Master Blender, Sandy Hyslop, created this blend to naturally exude the spirit and taste of Christmas, resulting in a delicious drink for our fans around the world to enjoy – or gift for someone else to enjoy – during the 2014 festive season, and which stays true to both our Scottish heritage and quality values.” The 2014 Ballantine’s Christmas Reserve Limited Edition is available globally at an RRP of US$26 to 29 (£18) at duty free stores.

Courvoisier Limited Edition luxury Cognacs

Esprit de Joséphine, one of the four luxury Cognacs released by Courvoisier

Courvoisier has released a series of four high-end, limited edition Cognacs into the UK just in time to tap into the Christmas shopping season. For those with more modest budgets, the house has released 10 bottles of Courvoisier Réserve 1978, housed in a “vintage” bottle dating from the early 20thcentury, which carries an RRP of £1,100. A rather larger scale release at 50 bottles is the Courvoisier Heritage De Louis Renard, which represents a blend of Cognacs laid down between 1869 and 1914. Packaged in Baccarat crystal decanters, the expression carries an RRP of £7,500. The smallest release of all is the L’Esprit de Joséphine, of which just eight Lalique decanters have been released with an RRP of £9,715 each. Inspired by French empress Joséphine de Beauharnais and her rose garden, the expression has been created from a selection of 19th and 20th century Cognac from Borderies, a region which traditionally offers a particularly floral style. The fourth release Cognac offered by the house is the Courvoisier Tribute Borderies, which has been made available in five hand-blown Dame-Jeanne, or demi-john, flagons priced at £51,500 each. Featuring eaux-de-vie from a single estate in Borderies, the Cognac has been matured for 60 years before being removed from cask in 2009 at 46.5% abv. Each of the expressions will be made available through selected UK luxury drinks retailers.

Meantime Brewing Company Brewers’ Limited Edition Cinnamon Porter

Meantime Brewing Company, the Greenwich-based London craft brewer, has launched a limited edition Cinnamon Porter as part of its “Brewers’ Collection”. Packaged in 750ml Champagne-style bottles, the festive brew has been described as having notes of “black treacle, dark raisin, mocca, bitter chocolate and coffee” while the maltiness of the brew is enhanced by “subtle spicy notes, exemplifying the skills of Meantime’s brewers – lifting the beer to something that is both unexpected and a true one off.” Meantime’s Cinnamon Porter, a 6.5% ABV beer, will be available to purchase direct from the Meantime Brewery, its online shop and a handful of retail outlets.

Edinburgh Gin’s Taste of Christmas

Edinburgh Gin has released its “Taste of Christmas” gin infused with traditional festive spices of frankincense, myrrh and nutmeg. Developed at the Edinburgh Gin distillery in partnership with Heriot-Watt University School of Distilling, only 200 cases of the gin have been produced.

Alex Nicol, managing director of Spencerfield Spirit who own Edinburgh Gin, said: “This is a bold move for us but we think it perfectly represents our innovative distilling and unique ideas for flavouring. We use award winning original Edinburgh Gin and infuse it with the tastes of frankincense, myrrh and nutmeg which really bring the Christmas spirit to life. As it is the season of good will, we will also be making a donation to St Columba’s Hospice using the proceeds raised by our Christmas Gin. This is a fantastic cause and we always like to give something back where possible”.

Bottled at 43% abv, the limited edition gin will be available from the Edinburgh Gin Distillery, Vino and Royal Mile Whiskies with an RRP of £30.00 for a 70cl bottle.

Drinks by the dram Christmas cracker

Who wants cheap plastic novelties on Christmas Day when you could snap open a cracker to win an “award-winning” spirit or liqueur? Drinks by the Dram has released a gift set of spirit and liqueur-filled Christmas Crackers this Christmas, each one containing a 3cl sample, obligatory paper hat and joke. Featured “drams” include  Bathtub Gin, Arran single malt Scotch whisky, Rumbullion! spiced rum, Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 Year Old Bourbon, as well as Professor Cornelius Ampleforth’s festive Sloe Gin and Cherry Brandy. Its release follows Drinks by the Dram’s advent calendar series which introduces whisky enthusiasts to 24 different whisky expressions each day until Christmas. Drinks by the Dram Christmas Crackers carry an RRP of £37.95 and are available to buy at Master of Malt and Amazon.

Perrier-Jouët presents the “Enchanted Nature Case”

Perrier-Jouët House of Champagne has released two “elegant and creative” limited edition presentation cases for its Grand Brut and Blason Rosé cuvées this festive season. The Enchanted Nature cooling case is available in two designs, created by Tord Boontje, and is intended to inspire an appreciation of nature, art nouveau and craftsmanship. Charles-Armand de Belenet, international marketing director for Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët, said: “These limited editions inspired by the unique work of Tord Boontje celebrate the distinctive identity of Perrier-Jouët through the combination of a highly creative spirit and a proven sense elegance”. The limited edition Enchanted Nature Cases, along with a 75cl bottle of Perrier-Jouët, will be available from December in all Perrier-Jouët main international distribution markets and Harvey Nichols in the UK with an RRP of £68.

Sailor Jerry Can’t Resist Ginger

For those who prefer something a bit stronger, Sailor Jerry has launched a gift pack which contains two 5cl bottles of spirit, a rocks glass, stirrer and Angostura bitters enabling its owner to whip up the brand’s iconic serve; the Jerry & Ginger.

Featuring the brand’s iconic vintage-style pin-up girl imagery, the pack will be available exclusively at Sainsbury’s for £15, before being rolled out across other stores in January.

Hendrick’s Cucumber Hot House

Finally Hendrick’s, the king of quirky gifts, has this year released its Hendrick’s Cucumber Hot House giving gin lovers the tools to grow their own cucumbers, ensuring that their Hendrick’s cocktails always have the perfect garnish.

The pack contains two 5cl bottles of Hendrick’s and a book of cocktails designed by UK Brand Ambassador, Duncan McRae, making it an ideal introduction to the curious world of Hendrick’s gin. The gift pack is available at selected stores with an RRP of £15.

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