The Best Mini Liquor Bottle Stocking Stuffers, Ranked
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) are a great gift idea and even better 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 150 top-selling 50-milliliter "miniature" liquor bottle products throughout all 67 of its state-run NY Liquor & Wine Outlet locations which stock over 370 miniatures and serve nearly 12 million customers every year. 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!
(Not: The below is an update to our ranking originally published in 2017.)
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 nine different varieties on the list: Kissed Caramel (which has rocketed to the top of this list since we first covered it in 2017), Raspberry, Strawberry, Blueberry, Green Apple, Watermelon, Vanilla, Orange, and Citrus. 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. From $1 at totalwine.com
23. Vodka (All Brands)
Plenty of unflavored vodkas made the list of the best-selling miniatures as well — with Smirnoff (#4) and Tito's (#6) landing in the top ten. But 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. Otherwise, it's not quite a Christmas morning tradition in most households. From $1.79 each at totalwine.com
22. Bacardi Superior Rum
"Offering a product in a 50-millilter size gives our customers a chance to try some of the new products we're bringing into New Hampshire," Joseph Mollica, chairman of the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, told me via email. That may explain why Bacardi topped out at #68 on the list — everyone is familiar with it and it's quite as exciting in small doses. 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. So pulling out only a shot's worth of rum is likely to induce a feeling of "well, what am I supposed to do with this right now?" $2 each at totalwine.com
21. Jose Cuervo Especial
If you happen to be celebrating Christmas in a tropical paradise, then send tequila up towards the top of this list. But if like most Americans you're spending December battling the bitter cold, then Jose Cuervo is just going to leave you yearning — not a good way to start the holiday. $2.29 each at drizly.com
In a change from 2017, now, all three Casamigos tequilas can be found on New Hampshire's list — Blanco (#26), Reposado (#93), and Anejo (#98). Sure, the above stuff about tequila holds true, but, hey, for mom's stocking, you can't go wrong with whispers of George Clooney.
With Jäger, 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. $2 each at drizly.com
19. Yukon Jack
At #10, Yukon Jack is the best-selling non-cinnamon-flavored whisky on New Hampshire's 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. $2 each at totalwine.com
Gin was surprisingly underrepresented on our best-sellers list. Tanqueray was the top performer and still ranked 82nd. Admittedly, gin doesn't do so well on the Christmas morning instant gratification scale, but those botanical flavors will fit the holiday spirit perfectly later in the day. $4 each at drizly.com
17. Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey
Introduced in 2018, Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey wasn't even around when we first compiled this list. But in 2021, it's New Hampshire's 11th most popular miniature. Do you love peanut butter? Do you love whiskey? Is it right for Christmas? These are questions only you can answer.
16. Jack Daniel's
Jack Daniel's might be the ultimate utilitarian choice — and it lands at 23rd on the best seller list. Consider it the socks of stocking stuffers: A Christmas gift standard that gets the job done. $3 each at totalwine.com
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. $1.79 at totalwine.com
14. Dr. McGillicuddy's Butterscotch Schnapps
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 butterschotch schnapps. At #13, Dr. McGillicuddy's is the most popular brand on the list.
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. $3 at totalwine.com
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 Smoky puts its flavored moonshines into cute little mason jars that are guaranteed to get a smile. $3 at garyswine.com
11. Jameson Irish Whiskey
Unsurprisingly, at #16, Jameson is the best-selling Irish whiskey on 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. $3.79 each at totalwine.com
10. Sambuca Romana
Sambuca is one of those liquors that can elicit strong reactions on both sides, but remains popular as New Hampshire's 24th best seller. And 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. $3 at drizly.com
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. $4.49 at totalwine.com
8. Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
Love it or hate it, Fireball continues to be a perennial crowd-pleaser.
Not only is it New Hampshire's top-selling miniature, but its 10-packs are the state's second best-selling 50-milliliter product and Fireball Party Buckets rank 5th. It doesn't stop there. Other novelty packaging also made the list: the candy cane (#22), Valentine 10-pack (#90), and trick or treat bag (#112). So though Fireball may not be the first drink you want to see on Christmas morning, it'll probably make somebody in the house happy. And if it doesn't get downed at some point throughout the day, your holiday probably wasn't as festive as it could have been. $1 each at totalwine.com
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. $3.49 at drizly.com
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. Plus, minty miniatures are extremely popular: At #3, Dr. McGillicuddy's Mentolmint was the first product without "Fireball" in the name while Rumpleminze landed at 8th on the list. $1.29 at drizly.com
Even if you avoid 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.
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, a bit of sweetness, a bit of seasonal spice. $1.79 at totalwine.com
For most of us, coffee is the first beverage you'll seek on December 25. Therefore, this most-popular coffee-flavored liquor (at #29) 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 Dark 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. $4 each at totalwine.com