'Tis the season for a tipple. Whether you're looking to buy a thoughtful gift or just in the market for a festive beverage, our curated drinks list has something for everyone. In addition to several varieties of seasonal fizz there are also some classic spirits and an unexpected surprise or two.
Festive spirit: Presenting Sphere’s 2020 drinks gift guide
2nd December 2020
From champagne and whisky to more unconventional entries like tequila and exotic gin, discover our selection of the best tipples to indulge in this season
Glenfiddich Grand Cru 23 Year Old
Single malt whisky with a touch of something special, this new expression of Glenfiddich sees a fine Scottish spirit infused with a distinctive French flavour. After maturing in American and European oak casks, the whisky has been finished in rare French casks previously used to house exceptional cuvée wines for a period of four months. The result is a rich yet refined golden spirit that carries notes of apple blossom and candied citrus on the nose, while vanilla oak, sweet brioche and pear sorbet manifest in the taste.
Lanson Le Blanc de Blancs
2020 marks Lanson's 260th year, so to celebrate the maison has added two new cuvées to its couer de gamme (core range), Le Black Reserve and - our favourite - Le Blancs de Blancs. The latter features a blend of outstanding Chardonnay Crus and, in a nod to Lanson's heritage, was made using the terroir's original Champagne vinificaton method. The resulting fizz has fine bubbles and a fresh taste with notes of sweet citrus, nougat and saline.
£59.99, exclusively at selfridges.com
An intriguing new addition to the gin market, Procera is a high-end African-inspired take on the UK's beloved spirit. It takes its name from its key ingredient, Juniperus Procera, a juniper berry native to Kenya - it is the world's first gin to be crafted using it. The gin is also distilled in Nairobi. Though an up-and-coming name, Procera is already making its way into some of London's top hotels and restaurants, including Dukes Bar and Annabel's.
Noël Negroni & Auld Fashioned Kit
While cocktails are always a winner on festive occasions, making them en masse can be fiddly and time-consuming. Consider Cocktail Porter, a service designed to deliver hand-crafted cocktails to your door. For Christmas, the Noël Negroni & Auld Fashioned kit comes with everything you need to make seasonal twists on the two classics, including a Tanqueray Ten, Campari Bitters, Dolin Vermouth Rouge and Clementine & Winter Spiced Syrup, as well as a garnish pouch. Other Christmas kits include variations for spiced martinis and Johnnie Walker Highballs.
Perrier-Jouët Eco Gift Box
Offering a smart way to indulge whilst staying sustainable, Perrier-Jouët's new Eco Gift Box Collection sees bottles encased in fully recyclable packaging. Its three classic non-vintage champagnes - Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut, Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé and Perrier-Jouët Blanc de Blancs - can now be gifted in natural fibre boxes made using materials sourced from certified European forests. Designed in pure white as a nod to the chalky soils of Champagne, the minimal yet elegant boxes feature subtle touches of colour and branded embossing.
From £47.50, fortnumandmason.com
Maestro Dobel Diamante Tequila
Unexpectedly, tequila has proven to be one of 2020's hottest spirits, with consumption allegedly doubling over the first lockdown. As an ultra-premium tequila from Mexico, Maestro Dobel is one of the best and its Diamante tequila is the world's first multi-aged "cristalino" expression - in other words, it is an añejo variety that has been filtered to create a crisp, crystalline liquid that retains the bold complexity of an añejo tequila. For a festive cocktail, shake and strain a measure of Diamante with apricot liqueur, lemon juice, syrup and a dash of ginger tincture to produce a "Smooth Resolution".
The Dalmore 12 Year Old Sherry Cask Select Highland Single Malt
A recent addition to The Dalmore's acclaimed Principal Collection, this new spirit was crafted to celebrate The Dalmore whisky's historic connection to sherry. The process behind it was exacting, involving Master Distiller Richard Paterson selecting a trio of cask partners from Andalucia to produce the perfect oak cask, with a bespoke sherry blend to season them. Combine that with the single malt's long maturation process and you have an alluringly fragrant whisky that exudes caramelised orange, spicy ginger, dark chocolate and cinnamon, balanced with a sweet note of Pedro Ximénez.
£69, exclusive to whiskyshop.com
Mac By Brookie's
Now for something a little different. Australia's Cape Byron Distillery - the maker behind the award-winning Brookie's Byron Gin - has launched a new premium roasted macadamia nut liqueur using roasted, locally sourced nuts and toasted native Australian wattleseed (what we know as acacia). Delightfully smooth and flavoursome, it is also versatile. Non-drinkers can enjoy served over ice with a slice of lime, though we prefer ours in an Espresso Martini.
Delamain Pléiade Apogée 1965 Cognac Grande Champagne
With a rare selection of limited-edition spirits unearthed from Delamain's closely-guarded cellars, the autumn launch of the Pléiade range caused quite a stir in the cognac world. Comprised of three collections sharing specific characteristics, originating from a single harvest or vineyard and a single cask, these unblended cognacs offer a pure expression of three different ages. At the top end of the scale, the Collection Apogée is truly exceptional, containing exceptionally old, complex and fully evolved cognac that was first distilled in 1965.
Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2012 x Yayoi Kusama
A sure-fire winner for art appreciators, this limited edition magnum from Veuve Clicquot was designed with the creative talents of iconic Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Encapsulating a feel of joy and optimism - and who doesn't need more of that this year? - Kusama has decorated the packaging with bright colours and Pop Art champagne bubbles that resemble her signature polka dots. A crisp fizz with a bold minerality, La Grande Dame 2021 itself is a prestige cuvée crafted with 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay.
Ballantine's 7 Bourbon Finish
In another instance of cross-cultural cheer, Ballantine's new Scotch has been crafted with an innovative American twist. After being aged in oak casks for some seven years - ensuring a pleasingly deep, complex mouth feel - the whisky was finished in bourbon barrels for a touch of added sweetness. Ballantine's trademark tasting notes of honey and red apple remain at the heart of the spirit, while the bourbon barrel process lends touches of vanilla, caramel and a hint of smoky char.