Christmas drinks gift guide: Best gin, best whisky, beer and more for the festive season

Whether you're keen to pour your own draft beer, drink Cotswolds whisky or enjoy a raft of different gins, we've got you covered.

Eden Mill’s 12 gins of Christmas

There are a lot of gin taster packs out there, but this is quite the most beautiful and delightful we’ve seen. Yes, it’s expensive — there’s less than a bottle’s worth of actual gin if you figure it out by volume — but it’s the sort of thing that makes a real occasion of having a drink.

£75 from Eden Mill

Cranberry Jaffa Cake Vodka

Jaffa Cake Gin has been a huge hit since it was launched a couple of years ago, and just as Jaffa Cakes themselves seem to come in all sorts of different flavours, so the makers have branched out. This one — a vodka with cranberry — is perfect for a Christmassy cocktail: try the Santa Clausmopolitan, with 50ml of the vodka, 25ml triple sec, 30ml cranberry juice and 15ml lime juice.

£27.95 from Master of Malt

PerfectDraft Pro Beer Machine

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These pull-a-pint-at-home machines became hugely popular during lockdown, but the fact that they’ve stayed around speaks volumes. So much better than popping open a tin.

£265, down from £385, until the end of the year from Beer Hawk

Shanky’s Whip

This tipple — an Irish whiskey liqueur that’s bursting with smooth butterscotch without ever becoming too sweet, and without any hard liquor harshness — is my single favourite boozy discovery of 2021. Enough said.

£22 from Amazon

X by Glenmorangie single malt for mixing

We’ll not beat around the bush: a lot of serious whisky drinkers would consider the very existence of this a war crime. Yet Glenmorangie have clearly thought that there’s no use denying that some people simply prefer single malt with a mixer, and have therefore produced this edition — highly drinkable, and yes, highly mixable — to cater to their needs. Particularly good with a swish orange-flavoured mixer, that balances a drink that’s a touch sweeter than a normal single malt, with its notes of vanilla, pear, orange and honeysuckle.

X by Glenmorangie, £30.95 from The Whisky Exchange

Tidal Rum

This is an intriguing one: a British rum, made on the island of Jersey, and one that’s quickly been earning a reputation as a delicately flavoured and delicious tipple. In case you were wondering, no, there aren’t actually hidden sugar plantations on the Channel Islands — this rum is a blend of four cask-aged rums from Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados and the Dominican Republic, which are then infused with more flavours, finished and bottled on Jersey.

There are notes of orange and salted caramel, though the latter is actually thanks to a type of seaweed, Pepper Dulse, which the makers claim — in an unashamedly romantic flourish — is harvested on full moon tides. Like all good rums it’s happy to be drunk neat, but the makers also suggest that it works beautifully with lime and soda, with a touch of Angostura bitters.

Tidal Rum, £34.45 from Master of Malt

Bathtub Gin with a tin cup

For our money one of the nicest gins on the market, and this gift set with an old-school metal mug works particularly well given the brown-paper-bag chic of the bottle itself.

£27.95 from Master of Malt

Warner’s Christmas Cake Gin

It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas

There’s a fine line to be trodden when blending a flavoured gin. Too gin-like and you leave people wondering why they didn’t just get a ‘normal’ gin; too sweet or flavoured and it can seem sickly or gimmicky. Warner’s are among the best at walking the tightrope — and though their Christmas cake gin packs in the grin-inducing flavour, it never crosses the line. Not cheap, but hard to imagine a more fun mid-morning starter-for-10 tipple on Christmas Day.

Warner’s Christmas Cake Gin, £40 from the distillery

Craft Gin Club membership

Why give one bottle of gin when you can give 12?

Once you’ve signed up for your Country Life subscription, you might want to consider other subscriptions too — such as this club membership, described as ‘the ultimate gift for gin lovers’. Monthly boxes (or bi-monthly, or quarterly if you prefer) are sent out, each containing a bottle of gin, mixers, garnishes, cocktail recipes plus the ingredients to make them and various other bits and pieces.

Craft Gin Club gift membership from £42 per box

Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky

The award-winning Cotswolds Signature Single Malt Whisky was launched in 2017 and is the first whisky ever distilled in the Cotswolds. Rich and fruity, Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky is sippable with notes of honey, Seville orange marmalade and dark red fruits. Available in a beautiful gift box, it is the perfect gift for a whisky lover and is very versatile.

£39 from Cotswolds Distillery

Yuletide Gin

A glass of Christmas sparkles

The curiously-named That Boutique-y Gin Company produce dozens of different types of gin — you can even get an advent calendar purely of their creations — but this must rank among the most weird and wonderful. It’s immediately striking thanks to the gold leaf flakes floating within, but they also flavour it with frankincense and myrrh, as well as anything else Christmas-related they seem to have been able to put their hands on: gingerbread, nutmeg and even Christmas tree needles. Utterly bonkers and it split opinion in testing, but one of our guinea pigs proclaimed it to be ‘like drinking a mince pie’.

Yuletide Gin from That Boutique-y Gin Company, £34.95 for 50cl