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Host's Guide Holiday 2012: Spirits of Giving

Richard Carleton Hacker

Great King Street—Artist’s Blend
From the talents of Compass Box boutique whisky maker John Glaser comes his latest innovation, Great King Street whiskies, whose name is inspired by the firm’s Edinburgh address. The initial offering in this series devoted to blended scotch is Artist’s Blend, a unique melding of delicate Lowland grain whiskies and robust, complex Highland and Speyside single malts. Clynelish furnishes the core Highland flavor, while Dailuaine is responsible for much of the Speyside influence. The aging process took place in a combination of American and French oak barrels, as well as in a smaller percentage of sherry butts, and yielded gentle notes of baked apples, honey, cherries, and toasted oak. ($45/750 mL)

Grand Marnier Cherry 
Few fruits are as festive as oranges and cherries, and both are intoxicatingly combined in this rich and rewarding liqueur, which is available from the House of Marnier-Lapostolle for a limited time during this year’s holiday season. Here, Grand Marnier’s premium Cognacs are laced with their signature maceration of bitter orange peel and the natural sweet flavor of European griotte cherries. The result is a slightly charred citrus essence with a blanket of wild cherries and a touch of appropriately seasonal sloe berries. Tailor-made for a snifter, it also works well with a splash of soda—or as an enticing enhancement to a vodka martini. ($42)

Russian Standard Gold Vodka
This vodka maker continues the tradition of honoring Dmitri Mendeleev’s classic 1894 recipe, which has made it a best-seller in Russia. Its name references the carefully selected Siberian golden root (extracts of ginseng) used in its production; the result is a soft, slightly herbal pour with a hint of spice in the finish. Keep a bottle in the freezer to serve superior impromptu cocktails to guests who unexpectedly drop in. ($45)

This article was originally published in the November 2012 issue of Robb Report. Click here to read more articles from this issue.

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