Your go-to gift, whether you’re heading to a holiday house party or exchanging with a lifelong friend, is one they can drink. Ensure it's opened enthusiastically, enjoyed immediately, and far too good to regift with these eight picks.
For the whiskey lover:
Whiskey Gift Set, KOVAL ($50). Binny's, 213 W. Grand Ave., 312-332-0012
The KOVAL Gift Pack contains three 200ml bottles of made-in-Chicago rye, bourbon, and four-grain whiskey. The grains come from a Midwest farm, and each variety is aged in new American oak from Minnesota—so the organic spirits boast a Midwestern story that any whiskey enthusiast will get behind.
For the chardonnay fiend:
No. 19 Chardonnay, Fabio Viviani ($15). Mariano’s Ravenswood, 1800 W. Lawrence Ave., 773-334-3549
Top Chef fan favorite Fabio Viviani just launched his. No. 19 chardonnay, which features fruit flavors like apple, pear, and peach. Ready to raise the stakes at this year’s white elephant party? Bring this bottle of oak-aged wine and watch everyone scramble to get their hands on it.
For those who prefer red, choose a bottle that’ll complement rich holiday feasts. Our pick? The French oak barrel-aged merlot from Terlato family-owned Napa winery Rutherford Hill. The gift set includes a bottle of the 2005 and 2011 vintages, each of which is equal parts silky smooth and flavorfully complex.
Way back in 1880, Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge was born; now, share it with someone who’ll appreciate the 134-year history. The newest rendition features XO Cognac (aged up to 60 years) blended with citrusy Grand Marnier for a breakthrough sipping experience. Since each bottle takes six hours to complete, the lucky recipient also has something worth saving after the dreaded last sip.
After 34 distillations, this Sweden-made bottle gets to the heart of what vodka’s all about. The result isn’t the tasteless liquor you’re used to; it’s full-bodied and sophisticated, with hints of white chocolate, vanilla, and licorice in the backdrop.
With Illinois-grown wheat and rye, Chicago’s only grain-to-bottle vodka was born. The triple-distilled spirit is smooth, clean, and ready for easy drinking. Go for the holiday box, which includes a CH-stamped flask and a month-dried salami. Or, opt to take a trip to CH’s West Loop digs to see it all in action.
Gin lovers, rejoice! The pros at local artisan distillery Letherbee packaged a can't-miss gift: a trio of bottles, including one malört that goes down easier thanks to a hint of grapefruit. The hometown pride-rich variety pack is perfect for the juniper berry connoisseur.
For the one who tops your nice list, scout out Goose Island’s Proprietor's Bourbon County Brand Stout, available this year for only the second time. Aged in bourbon barrels, one sip of this rich, dark stout delivers hints of coconut water and cinnamon. Best of all, the coveted 22 oz. bottles are only available here in Chicago.