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Hosts Guide Holiday 2013: Gifts of the Spirit

Richard Carleton Hacker

THE PUREST OF PLEASURES

Elit Pristine Water Series: The New Zealand Edition
Last year, elit by Stolichnaya demonstrated the importance of the water used in vodka with its limited-edition pristine water series—the Himalayan Edition. This year brings the second offering, this time from New Zealand—the Blue Spring. Revered for its clarity, Blue Spring water is naturally filtered through the pumice of the towering Mamaku Ranges, a process that renders it one of the purest waters in the world. The New Zealand Edition is bottled in crystal and handsomely boxed in the island nation’s native kauri wood. Just 300 bottles have been produced, and a portion of sales will be donated to the Oceana charity, which is dedicated to conserving our oceans. ($3,000)

Midleton Barry Crockett Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
This well-respected whiskey, named in honor of Barry Crockett, Midleton’s longtime master distiller, was introduced in Ireland two years ago, but it has only recently become available in the United States. Light and peppery with hints of citrus, cinnamon, and oak, it is equally refreshing served straight or with a single ice cube—ideally, one made with filtered water. ($249)

Johnnie Walker Platinum Label Blended Scotch Whisky
Recently introduced in the UK, this 18-year-old blended scotch has just arrived in the U.S. Inspired by the Walker family’s tradition of creating private blends for favored customers and company directors, this blend—a small-batch whisky positioned just below Blue Label—is a welcome addition to the Johnnie Walker family. Rich spices and a hint of smoke make this an ideal winter’s dram. ($110)

Nolet’s Reserve Dry Gin
Carolus H. J. Nolet, chairman of Nolet Spirits Worldwide, is the patriarch of the world’s oldest distilling family, whose enterprise began in 1691 in Holland with the production of Dutch genever. A few years ago, to celebrate his tenure, Nolet decided to create the world’s most expensive gin. A three-year search for rare and unusual botanicals resulted in Nolet’s Reserve Dry Gin, which contains verbena and saffron, as well as a number of “secret” ingredients, though, on the palate, flavors of rose petals, apples, and Chinese spices can be detected. At 104.6 proof, this clear spirit makes a festive martini. ($700)

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