When it comes to gift-giving, there are few easier to delight than whiskey lovers. Whether a gift for a whiskey lover is bourbon, rye, or Scotch, the surest way to bring a smile to his mouth is through the brown liquor that goes in it. Sure, some may like “whiskey”; others a peated or peppery “whisky.” But whether their dream vacation is in Islay or Bardstown, Kentucky, the best gifts for whiskey drinkers are somewhere between the neck and the bottom of these bottles — and in using the best whiskey accessories and gifts, from the right Star Wars ice molds to an encyclopedia of whiskey cocktails.
The Best Scotch Whiskys for Guys
We'll be the first to admit that whiskey drinkers can easily become siloed in their preferred spirit (and spelling). If you've always been a bourbon fan but are curious about the Scottish rite, then this five-bottle pack is for you. You'll taste your way through more and more expensive blends in 50-milliliter sizes, including Johnnie's Black, Double Black, Gold Reserve, 18-Year-Old, and Blue Labels, emerging both more knowledgable and likely a little drunk.
Accessible, approachable and classic, The Macallan 12-Year is a sumptuous whisky at a reasonable price. With notes of oak, fruit, and spice, it's delicious enough to enjoy on occasions common and special alike.
Not only is Glenmorangie Signet one of our go-to special occasion whiskies, but it’s also simply one of our perennial favorites. This deep amber whisky is beautifully complex thanks in part to the roasted chocolate barley used in the distilling process. After a lengthy time maturing in virgin American oak, the result is flawless — and like all great whisky there is something new to discover in every bottle.
The Best Bourbon Whiskeys for Guys
Even Joe Rogan is a fan of Bulleit, a family-owned Kentucky distillery that has been making whiskey since before the Civil War. Of a quality to enjoy neat or with a globe of ice, it's not too expensive to mix and elevate your favorite holiday drinks. Every home should have a bottle.
If you're looking for a step above well-grade whiskey, we love this premium product from Woodford Reserve. Personal Selection bottles are hand-mixed by its master distillers and are limited to 180 bottles, ensuring that any pour is one-of-a-kind.
Granted, the only thing that will make your eyes water more than a sip of this without water is the price itself. But Elijah Craig is a holy grail for many bourbon aficionados, and for good reason: Each bottle's contents have been aged a minimum of 18 years, making it the oldest commercially available product on the market. It's a special bottle for special occasions shared among special men.
Finding a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle, of any age, is like capturing a unicorn or a leprechaun. Few bottles are released every year, and they're snapped up by collectors and resellers. Regardless of whether they're flipped or savored, they're always cherished. You'll pay for this, granted. And are there other whiskeys out there that are more affordable for a reduced price? Certainly. But like Rolex, Ferrari, and Harley-Davidson, Pappy Van Winkle is a name that echos.
The Best Rye, Tennessee, and Miscellaneous Whiskeys for Guys
Shopping for that whiskey lover who has everything? Odds are he or she doesn't have that often-overlooked variety called Tennessee whiskey. While both it and bourbon are made from a minimum 51 percent corn mash and are aged in charred new oak barrels, expressions like Dickel's are then charcoal-filtered prior to the barrel. Select is a top-shelf option that's perfect for sipping neat or over a thick block of ice for subtle, complex flavor including nectarine and honeyed cornbread.
Often overlooked when compared to its corn-fed bourbon brethren, rye whiskey lacks the trademark punch of the latter, making it an easy-drinking contrast in any man's liquor cabinet. Sweet on the front and finishing with a mild peppery kick, Sagamore's is complex and yet affordable for the everyman.
A blend of Kentucky rye and Canadian rye, plus a touch of black strap Caribbean rum, Basil Hayden Caribbean Reserve Rye is one of our favorite new whiskies of 2019, perfect for sipping or creating slightly new twists on old fashioned cocktails. That small portion of rum goes a long way, giving the juice strong notes of burnt sugar and rum spice, that plays nicely with the rye’s vanilla and oak.
The Best Whiskey Accessories for Guys
A bit of black humor goes a long way in 2020, and these uniquely shaped ice molds offer plenty to mull over. Here's to something better in the new year.
Whiskey on the rocks, anyone? This set of four handblown glasses feature an oh-so-clever nod to some of our country’s most famous peaks. The bottom of each is raised in a topographical homage to Half Dome, Denali, Mount Rainer, and Mount Whitney. It’s a subtle yet striking design element that takes these glasses from meh to majestic.
Know someone that wants to take their whiskey love to the next level, who wishes to speak of each glass as though they are a master distiller? In this 304-page, illustrated guide, whiskey educator Robin Robinson presents a course over 10 “classes” that covers everything from the subtle — and not so subtle — differences between whiskey varieties to how to create a home collection worthy of the most discerning critics. Consider it a starting course for the budding whiskey snob.
The smell of whiskey is one of its most inviting aspects. This candle from Northern Lights, part of their craft cocktail collection, captures the aroma well and mingles it with the sharp notes of tobacco. It’s a very particular scent. But any whiskey lover should appreciate it.
Forget those bright red cherries found floating in the bottom of Shirley temples or on top of Mister Softee sundaes. These syrupy, sweet, deep-red orbs — rich and savory with hints of amaretto — are the ideal cocktail cherry. Plunked into an old fashioned, Manhattan or other such whiskey cocktail, maraschinos provide the perfect complement to a strong, bracing drink.
Featuring more than 40 cocktails expertly assembled by Kara Newman, the spirits editor at Wine Enthusiast magazine, and beautifully photographed Antonis Achilleos, Nightcap makes for great inspiration whether you’re whipping up the final cocktail of the evening or just getting the party started. Try the Storm King, a fun play on the classic Rob Roy.
This illustrated guide to cocktails, written top mixologist Sother Teague, is an excellent gift for stiff drink lovers of any stripe. Part recipe collection, part history of spirits, part explainer of cocktail components, the unstuffy guide demystifies cocktail making and while offering a number of old and new drinks that will quickly become favorites.