I’m trying to figure out how I can get on Dave Newman’s gift list. The talented mixologist and co-owner of Pint & Jigger in Honolulu knows how to hook his friends up for the holidays. He shared some advice with us to take the stress out of buying bottles.
There is one simple question to ask to simplify Scotch buying. Does the recipient like peated Scotch or not? With this one piece of information you can really tailor your gift to what they’ll appreciate. For your friends who enjoy less smokiness (which comes primarily from peat), I would recommend either the 12-year-old Glen Ord from the Signatory collection (around $100) or a Japanese whiskey like Suntory Yamazaki or Hibiki ($65). Now, for your peated Scotch drinkers I would recommend either Ardbeg or Bruichladdich. The Bruichladdich Port Charlotte (which starts at around $100) is a good bet and should be something they most likely have not tried before.
A really remarkable gift that isn’t too expensive is Carpano Antica (about $35), an Italian sweet vermouth. If you add Carpano Antica to whiskey, people will think you are a good bartender. You would never take a nice bottle of Cabernet, open it and leave it on your kitchen counter for a month, then come back expecting it to taste good. You need to think about this the same way. It’s so good that you can pour it neat and just sip and enjoy the great dried-fig, plum and chocolate undertones.