Every year one of the most important decisions we have to make is which alcohol to buy for the impending festive season and this year is no different. Or is it…? Well yes it is actually because this year you have Cut The Cap’s Ultimate Guide to Christmas Spirits!
Its our pick of what has impressed us over the last 12 months and what we think will work with those all important Christmas cigars (full guide for those here).
El Dorado’s 12 Year Old is aged in small oak casks – rich, ripe and balanced with hints of honey, banana, toffee, raisins and sultanas. This is rum to be sipped and savoured. A blend of specially selected aged rums, the youngest being no less than 12 years old, it is blended to perfection and aged in old bourbon oak casks. El Dorado 12 year old has received numerous awards including Gold medals at the Beverage Tasting Institute of Chicago and ‘Best in Class’ at the International Wine & Spirit Competition (2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011). In 2013 it won ‘Gold Medal Outstanding’ in the International Wine & Spirit Competition, London.
The world famous El Dorado Rums are produced in Guyana by Demerara Distillers Ltd, who have over 300 years heritage of sugar and rum production. Guyana derives its name from an Amerindian word meaning ‘Land of many waters’. Nestled on the north-eastern shoulder of South America, Guyana was discovered in 1498, and was a British Colony until 1966.
Cigar of Choice: H.Upmann Connoisseur No.1 (available at humibros.com here). A light to medium favoured cigar that compliments the sweet notes of the El Dorado 12 year perfectly. Measuring 127mm and 48 ring gauge there’s enough there for some quality ‘you time’ without the family thinking you’ve skipped the county.
Christmas Cocktail suggestion: Hot Toddy. Add 2 tea spoons of honey, 15mls of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 50mls of El Dorado 12 year old to a tempered glass and stir. Top up with a hot water and add a lemon slice and cinnamon stick to garnish. Enjoy.
Gosling Old Rum
This rum is a real treat – super-premium Gosling’s Family Reserve Rum is rested in oak barrels for up to 20 years, aging until it has acquired an extra luscious, nuanced complexity. In short its a remarkable rum that easily rivals a quality Scotch or Cognac as a superb sipping experience, without the hefty price tag. For seven generations, the Gosling family took their best Bermuda rum barrels and aged them year after year only bringing them out to drink for special family occasions. That was until, 155 years later, Malcolm Gosling decided to let the old family secret out of the barrel and share it with rum aficionados such as yourselves!
Gosling’s Family Reserve Old Rum is crafted from the same incomparable Bermuda blend that they use for their renowned Black Seal Rum. For generations the Gosling’s referred to their Black Seal blend as ‘Old Rum’, selling straight from the barrel. When tourism hit the island they found people wanted bottles of their rum to take home. However, there was no glass bottling facility on the island, so they looked for the strongest local bottles and found recycled champagne bottles from the Naval Officers Mess. They filled them with rum, corked the tops and dipped them in black sealing wax and put them on their shelves with no labels. Soon they found people were asking for ‘the bottle with the black seal’ and the name stuck. To commemorate this story, each bottle of Family Reserve Old Rum is hand filled and hand labelled, sealed with a cork, dipped in wax and individually numbered.
Cigar of Choice: El Rey del Mundo Choix Supreme (available at humibros.com here). This light to medium flavoured cigar complements the chocolate notes of the rum brilliantly whilst complementing the the oaky finish with gentle spicy finish.
Christmas Cocktail suggestion: This is best for sipping experience but you could make a Bermuda Coffee if you were feeling extremely decadent. Add 20ml of Irish cream liqueur to a heat proof glass, or coffee mug, and then add 50ml of Gosling’s Old Rum (or Gosling’s Black Seal Rum). Pour some good quality coffee over the spirits and top with whipped cream then dust with cinnamon sugar to garnish.
Ah yes our old friend Havana Club the epitome of a classic Cuban rum and is recognised as one of the best in the world. On offer is a selection of blended white, golden and darker rums from Añejo to the ultra exclusive Maximo blend giving you a perfect staple alternative to traditional alcoholic beverages this Christmas and beyond. Thanks to the unique know-how of its Maestros Roneros, Havana Club has kept alive the art of distilling, ageing and blending premium rums.
And now a little something special for Christmas or New Year…
The ‘Carne de Viaje’ Limited Edition box represents a deep dive into the soul of Havana, Cuba. It is a premium gift box that will allow the recipient (or you!) discover Havana and its most famous landmarks. You’ll follow the traces of Cuban authenticity through the travel notes, memories and pictures. The box shows how incomparable the city of Havana is and how intertwined Havana Club 7 Añejo 7 Años is with the city. Available at drinksdirect here.
Cigar of Choice: Bolivar Belicosos Finos (available at humibros.com here). This is a full flavoured cigar with leathery, woody and rich smoothness, plenty of thick, pasty smoke that coats your mouth to mix perfectly with the Havana Club 7 year.
Christmas Cocktail suggestion: Havana Club Daiquiri Mulata. Take 50ml of Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos, Two teaspoons of sugar, Juice of half a lime, 30ml Kahlua (or any coffee liqueur) and 1 glass of crushed ice. Place all the ingredients into a blender. Blend for 30 seconds then serve in a daiquiri or martini glass. Oh and ENJOY!
First a bit of a history lesson for you… Buffalo Trace takes its name from the ancient path, or trace, carved by migrating herds of buffalo through the wilderness that led America’s first pioneers and explorers westward. One such trail led to the banks of the Kentucky River where Buffalo Trace has been making bourbon the same way for over 200 years!
The climate in Kentucky means whiskey ages quicker and this 8-year-old double gold winning Bourbon really hits the sweet spot. If you’re looking for that special spirit to see in the festive season, look no further; Buffalo Trace is one really smooth “sipping” whiskey.
Award-winning Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon is the stuff of legend, acclaimed to be ‘one of the world’s great whiskeys’. This Christmas, make it easy for yourself with the limited edition Buffalo Trace gift pack complete with the legendary liquid, a traditional julep tin cup and a nifty cocktail book. Available now, grab an exclusive gift pack from your local supermarket, specialist retailer or online retailer while stocks last.
Cigar of Choice: Ramon Allones Petit Belicoso UK Regional Edition 2012 (available at humibros.com here). A full flavoured cigar that has a perfectly balanced profile. Relatively small in size, yet large enough to include a complex blend of sweet flavours which is very unique but great for Bourbon whiskeys.
Christmas Cocktail suggestion: The Mint Julep is traditionally served in a stainless steel cup and piled high with crushed ice. Hold by the bottom to allow frost to form on the outside of the cup. Remove mint leaves and lightly smack and place the mint in the bottom of your glass or julep tin. Then add crushed ice, 50ml of Buffalo Trace and 15ml sugar syrup – stir so the mint is evenly distributed. To finish garnish with an additional mint sprig for aroma.
Its an oldie but they are doing something right if its known as the world’s best tasting vodka. It has a very distinct smooth finish thanks to the single distilling process and use of only the finest ingredients. Each batch of Grey Goose Vodka has more than 550 daily quality control checks in personal tasting and approval by Grey Goose creator Francois Thibault.
This year Grey Goose is presented in a deluxe gift box and available from most major supermarkets.
Cigar of Choice: Cohiba Maduro 5 Genios (available from humibros.com here). A full bodied cigar with a flavour profile that is opened up by the crisp taste of Grey Goose. The first third is earthy, grassy and creamy like the best of the Cohibas, then in the second third you get the creamy chocolate notes. In the final third, the Cuban spice prevails with earthy quality tobacco undertones matching the smoothness and gain of the vodka.
Christmas Cocktail suggestion: The Winter Nip. Coat the outer edge of a rocks glass in blood orange juice. Gently roll in a combination of equal parts chili powder and sugar to rim. Set aside. Combine Grey Goose, 1 Part Limoncello and 1 Part, Blood Orange Juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously, and strain into prepared rocks glass filled with ice and present with blood orange zest and whole peppercorns.