Dinky-sized drinks for boozy stockings
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Still got room in the stocking? Then why not give your loved one something from the world of dinky drinks? A three-grand decanter of Louis XIII cognac might be a bit of a stretch, but if they love cognac you’ve now got The Drop, a 10ml miniature that costs a fraction of the price and can also be worn as a pendant (£160).
Looking for a whisky with a difference? Then how about the 50cl Superblend from Scottish new-wavers Woven, which marries whiskies from Scotland, England, Germany, the US and Ireland? The design may be cool and minimal, but the liquid is fruity, luscious and rich – good sipped neat or with ice and soda in a crisp highball (£45).
There’s hardly anyone who doesn’t go a bit squiffy at the sight of a miniature bottle of fizz. And The Little Fine Wine Company has a great selection of half-sized champagnes. Louis Roederer’s Rosé 2015 (£35.95) is a wonderfully expressive, yet structured, rosé. I also love the electric blanc de blancs from fifth-generation growers Veuve Fourny & Fils (£22.95).
Highlights on the still front include the Cuvée Frédéric Emile 2013 Riesling from Trimbach (£27.95 for 37.5cl) and the luxurious Gaja Brunello di Montalcino 2015 (£36.95 for 37.5cl). If you can’t lay your hands on Hirsch Vineyards’ uplifting 2019 San Andreas Fault Pinot Noir – recently released by the half-bottle ($35 for 37.5cl) – The Little Fine Wine Company has also got some of the 2018 (£33.95 for 37.5cl, thelittlefinewinecompany.co.uk).
A great new addition to the canned wine scene is the Swedish company Djuce, which does cool-looking collabs with leading lights from Europe’s low-intervention scene. Austria is a particular focus: try Kontext, a zesty orange wine from Meinklang, or Heinrich’s juicy and perfumed Zweigelt red (€36 for six 250ml cans). And instead of Sauternes, how about a half-bottle of honeyed Straw Wine (£41 for 37.5cl, bbr.com) from South Africa’s acclaimed winemakers Mullineux?
London’s Tayēr + Elementary bar does a fine line in sophisticated bottled cocktails. For Christmas it’s created a three-pack of minis – a Gingerbread Old Fashioned, a Mince Pie Negroni and a remarkably good Xmas Pudding Sour made with rum, PX sherry, citrus and house-made spiced cordial (£30 for three 100ml bottles).
If the stocking’s recipient is an aspiring mixologist, throw in a Difford’s Easy Jigger – this spirits measure is a great piece of design that has become an essential part of my cocktail kit (£9.96). A bottle of Bitter Queens bitters would also go down a treat: flavours include chocolate walnut, tobacco and orange (£21.75 for 10cl, thewhiskyexchange.com).