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What 50 milliliter liquor bottles make the best stocking stuffers? We ranked some of the best-known brands on the market.

Mike Pomranz
November 28, 2017

As we grow older, the childhood enthusiasm surrounding Christmas morning inherently begins to wane. We know that under the tree we’re more likely to find sweaters and underwear than the season’s hottest talking animal toys and video game consoles. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add some fun to your Christmas morning by spiking your stockings with a bit of Christmas spirit… or spirits.

At just 50 milliliters a pop, liquor miniatures or mini-bottles (or whatever you like to call them) make for great stocking stuffers – regardless of whether you’re choosing something family members can indulge in later or want to surprise them with something perfect for tossing in their morning coffee right then and there. (Come on! It’s the holidays!)

We reached out to the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, which provided us with a list of its 100 top-selling 50 milliliter “miniature” liquor bottles throughout all 80 of its state-run Liquor & Wine Outlet locations. From there, we selected a variety of popular products (and a couple not on their list) to create this ranking – from least appropriate to most. Happy stocking stuffing!

25. Everclear

Everyone, it’s Christmas. Chill out. No.

24. Flavored Vodka (All Brands)

Flavored vodkas are extremely popular. New Hampshire’s best-selling miniatures list is overrun with them. Smirnoff alone has 11 different varieties on the list: Raspberry, Green Apple, Blueberry, Kissed Caramel, Watermelon, Vanilla, Orange, Strawberry, Citrus, Sorbet Raspberry/Pomegranate and Grape. But Christmas morning is about feeling warm and cozy opening presents by the fireplace. Keep the flavored vodkas in your liquor cabinet until New Year’s Eve.

23. Vodka (All Brands)

Eight different brands of unflavored vodka made the best-selling miniatures list – Smirnoff, Skyy, Finlandia, Tito’s, Absolut, Pinnacle, Ketel One and Grey Goose (in that order). But let’s be honest, though they may be fine vodkas, they’re not exactly exciting stocking stuffers. Vodka is rarely the first drink you want to see in the a.m. – unless you’re making Bloody Marys…. not quite a Christmas morning tradition in most households.

22. Southern Comfort

Some people like to put Southern Comfort in their eggnog. Do you happen to have any eggnog around??

21. Bacardi Superior Rum

Ideally, stocking stuffers in general, not just with booze, provide a quick hit of instant gratification. That’s kind of the point: They’re like an appetizer for opening presents. Pulling out a shot’s worth of rum is likely to induce a feeling of “well, what am I supposed to do with this right now?”

20. Jose Cuervo Especial

If you happen to be celebrating Christmas in a tropical paradise, than send tequila up towards the top of this list. But if like most Americans you’re spending December battling the bitter cold, than Jose Cuervo is just going to leave you yearning – not a good way to start the holiday.

19. Jagermeister

With Jager, you really have to consider the recipient. Will some people wonder why you’re trying to turn Christmas morning into a rowdy house party? Yes. Will others be glad you did? Maybe.

18. Jim Beam

Beam is the best-selling non-cinnamon-flavored whisky from our list. Is pulling 50 milliliters of it out of your stocking going to give you the child-like joy of when you unwrapped your Nintendo 64? No. But will it eventually get put to good use? You betcha.

17. Tanqueray

Gin was surprisingly underrepresented on our best-sellers list. Tanqueray was the top performer and still ranked 62nd. Admittedly, gin doesn’t do so great on the Christmas morning instant gratification scale, but those botanical flavors will fit the holiday spirit perfectly later in the day.

16. Jack Daniel’s

Jack Daniel’s might be the ultimate a utilitarian choice. Consider it the socks of stocking stuffers: A Christmas gift standard that gets the job done.

15. Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

A solid spirit for people who find whiskey too rough around the edges but who also find the sweetness of schnapps grating, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum is a familiar way to split the difference between flavor and booziness, and it can work in eggnog, hot chocolate or coffee.

14. DeKuyper Buttershots

No one is saying you should start Christmas morning by doing a shot, but if you decide that’s your plan, you could definitely find worse ways to get in the holiday spirit than with a bit of sweet butterscotch schnapps.

13. Johnnie Walker Red Label (or Any Decent Scotch)

Yes, this will sound a bit counterintuitive, but complaining about receiving Scotch for Christmas is un-American – even if it’s only 50 milliliters worth.

12. Ole Smoky Apple Pie Moonshine

Typically, packaging plays second fiddle to the liquid inside, but on Christmas morning you just want to pull something fun out of your stocking. Ole Smokey puts its flavored moonshines into cute little mason jars that are guaranteed to get a smile.

11. Jameson Irish Whiskey   

Unsurprisingly, Jameson is the best-selling Irish whiskey from our list. Admittedly, some might find it as an aggressive start to the holiday, but hey, if you’re going to “Irish up” your coffee, you might as well do it the right way.

10. Sambuca Romana

Sambuca is one of those liquors that can elicit strong reactions on both sides. But the spirit has a long tradition of being mixed with coffee. Granted, that’s usually at the end of the night, but hey, it is a holiday.

9. Grand Marnier

For those who consider an Irish coffee a bit much in the morning, maybe “Frenching up” your coffee is more your style. Grand Marnier is another one of those mini-bottles that scores bonus points for its recognizable packaging.

8. Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

Love it or hate it, Fireball continues to be a perennial crowd-pleaser. Joseph Mollica, Chairman of the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, explained that the top-selling mini-bottle throughout NH Liquor & Wine Outlet locations “is by far is Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey which does more than twice the sales volume of Smirnoff 80 proof vodka which comes in second.” So though Fireball may not be the first drink you want to see on Christmas morning, if it doesn’t get downed at some point throughout the day, your holiday probably wasn’t as festive as it could have been.

7. Amaretto Disaronno

As an easy drinking liqueur in an iconic bottle, Disaronno feels solid coming out of the stocking and can work either in coffee or as a straight morning sipper.

6. Peppermint Schnapps (All Brands)

What flavor better encapsulates Christmas than peppermint? Yes, on its own, peppermint schnapps can be a bit much, but coordinate this stocking stuffer with some hot chocolate in the kitchen and you have a guaranteed winner.

5. Frangelico

Even if you hate flavored coffees, hazelnut and coffee is one of those combinations that just works. Frangelico brings that hazelnut taste in a sleek looking bottle that’ll slip right into any stocking with ease.

4. RumChata

Though RumChata might not be the first liquor to come to mind when mixing drinks, it passes all of the Christmas morning tests: goes in coffee, goes in hot chocolate, bit of sweetness, bit of seasonal spice.

3. Kahlua

For most of us, coffee is the first beverage you’ll seek on December 25. Therefore, this most-popular coffee-flavored liquor has you covered straight out of the stocking whether you need something to add to your cup of joe or just want to get that coffee taste on your tongue.

2. Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

What’s the most common stocking stuffer? Candy, of course – especially chocolate. Even if you wouldn’t pine for chocolate liqueur any other time of year, the Godiva miniature is adult candy personified.

1. Baileys Irish Cream

No miniature is better prepared to immediately go into action on Christmas morning than Baileys. Open, dump into coffee, done. Merry Christmas.

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