The 12 bottles of Christmas

JP Wiser's Old Fashioned

Credit: Contributed

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JP Wiser's Old Fashioned

Credit: Contributed

There’s less than a week to prepare for those celebrating Christmas this year.

To-do lists and obligations are stacking up taller than a pile of gifts at Santa’s workshop. Meal planning, holiday preparations and getting the wrap on shopping lists are all tall orders.

At this point any last minute gifts on the list that have eluded you must be procured in quick fashion.

If you can find the right bottle to gift it’s as easy as it gets and almost always a gift that’s appreciated. Here are a dozen bottles, in honor of the 12 days of Christmas, that are sure to bring some added warmth and spirit to the holidays.

These bottles can be found in most local liquor stores alongside all of the usual suspects that are also viable options depending on the giftee. The Ohio Liquor website (OHLQ.com) has a handy dandy product tool to search out what bottles are in stock and where if you are interested in tracking any of these down. This year’s boozy dozen has been chosen because they are either new to the Ohio market, can make quick and easy tasty holiday cocktails, are great conversation pieces or all of the above.

Bonus: More than half of the bottles ring up for under $25.

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12 Bottles of Christmas

Credit: Alexis Larsen

12 Bottles of Christmas

Credit: Alexis Larsen

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12 Bottles of Christmas

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

1) Saltwater Woody American Grapefruit Flavored Rum, $17.98

Take the Saltwater Woody rum distilled in the coastal south, blended in small batches and cut to proof with diluted saltwater then add real grapefruit juice and you have yourself a cocktail that’s ready to pour on ice or add a mixer for a bright, citrus packed treat. This is a wonderfully mixable bottle that’s pink, pretty and a great addition to any holiday celebration.

2) Blackened American Whiskey, $49.73

Here’s a bottle for the rock n’ roller in your life. This American whiskey is “finished in black brandy casks to the low hertz frequencies of Metallica’s music through the BLACK NOISE™ sonic-enhancement process.” In other words, this is whiskey that’s been softly drummed, rocked and vibrated to heightened flavor. According to the company this process, “disrupts the whiskey inside the barrel, causing increased wood interaction that kicks up the wood-flavor characteristics in the whiskey.” Is it gimmicky? Yes. Is it a conversation piece for the bar? Definitely. Is it sippable, interesting and different and a good buy for the bourbon or whiskey aficionado that’s seen it all? Absolutely.

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12 Bottles of Christmas, Blackened Whiskey

Credit: Contributed

12 Bottles of Christmas, Blackened Whiskey

Credit: Contributed

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12 Bottles of Christmas, Blackened Whiskey

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

3) Green Hat Gin, $24.99

This bottle is another conversation starter. When Green Hat Gin first hit the shelves in Washington D.C. in 2011 it was the first alcohol to have been legally distilled in the District since Prohibition. The name comes from the “Man in the Green Hat,” a gentleman named George Cassiday, who was a bootlegger known to make his way to Congress delivering illegal alcohol to thirsty politicians. This gin is sharp with juniper and pine, but with a soft floral and citrus finish. This is a nice gin to pour with cranberry and a lemon soda water or with a nice tonic like Fever Tree.

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12 Bottles of Christmas, Green Hat

Credit: Contributed

12 Bottles of Christmas, Green Hat

Credit: Contributed

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12 Bottles of Christmas, Green Hat

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

4) Bird Dog Salted Caramel Flavored Whiskey, $16.99

The flavored whiskey category has been pioneered and dominated by Bird Dog since 2010. The newest flavor that just launched is a salted caramel flavored whiskey. It makes a savory mule with ginger ale and a fantastic salted caramel White Russian that the Dude from the Big Lebowski would approve of. It’s a great fun flavor for the holidays and priced just right for a gift.

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12 Bottles of Christmas, Bird Dog Salted Carmel Whiskey

Credit: Contributed

12 Bottles of Christmas, Bird Dog Salted Carmel Whiskey

Credit: Contributed

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12 Bottles of Christmas, Bird Dog Salted Carmel Whiskey

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

5) Misunderstood Ginger Spiced Whiskey, $29.99

This is the yin to the caramel whiskey’s yang. While the Bird Dog whiskey is deep, rich and savory, this whiskey is a bright, spicy complex option with a ginger finish. It makes a great old fashioned, or spiced Egg Nog cocktail. The website, https://misunderstoodwhiskey.com has no shortage of great cocktail recipes and allows the option of customizing a bottle label for yourself or someone else.

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12 Bottles of Christmas

Credit: Contributed

12 Bottles of Christmas

Credit: Contributed

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12 Bottles of Christmas

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

6) Tanteo Jalapeno Tequila, $36.50

This is a feel good, taste good bottle. It’s a tequila owned and operated by a co-operative of agave farmers that minimizes environmental impact using composting, byproducts and solar with an eye for sourcing local. It’s the perfect foil for a margarita with a spicy edge to balance the sweet. It’s also a great mixer in holiday cocktails featuring sweet juices and bubbles. There’s a habanero bottle and a smoky chipotle, but the classic jalapeno offers the perfect heat and flavor for the holidays. A simple Paloma with grapefruit and lime with a splash of cranberry is quite the treat when you add the layer of heat. It’s amazing how the right spirits can bring out the best in your ingredients and this bottle is the perfect example of that.

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12 Bottles of Christmas, Tanteo Tequila

Credit: Contributed

12 Bottles of Christmas, Tanteo Tequila

Credit: Contributed

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12 Bottles of Christmas, Tanteo Tequila

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

7) SelvaRey Chocolate Rum, $34.99

This Panamanian dark rum flavored with chocolate comes to us courtesy of musician Bruno Mars who founded the brand. This is a bottle for the person in your life with an insatiable sweet tooth. It’s less rum, more chocolate. It’s great on ice cream and good with coffee. This is the bottle to set out at your holiday brunch with the coffee once guests are done enjoying the mimosa and bloody Mary bar. It’s a love it or hate it proposition. It’s not anything that I could ever stomach drinking on the rocks, but at the right moment, mixed with the right thing, it’s a nice rich treat for the holiday.

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12 Bottles of Christmas

Credit: Contributed

12 Bottles of Christmas

Credit: Contributed

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12 Bottles of Christmas

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

8) JP Whiser’s Old Fashioned Whisky Cocktail, $19.99

John Philip Wiser was distilling whisky in Prescott, Ontario before Canada was a country. He eventually grew into Canada’s third largest distiller by the early 1900s. This bottle is filled with a ready-to-serve batched cocktail. It’s a party in a bottle that can simply be poured over ice with an orange garnish. With enough to serve 15 drinks, it’s the perfect gift for the person who enjoys a cocktail, but doesn’t enjoy bartending. They also make a batched and bottled Manhattan Whisky cocktail, but that just seems lazy.

9) Howler Head Kentucky Banana Bourbon Whiskey, $24.99

A couple of things that I have trouble believing: 1) I actually like a banana flavored whiskey. 2) I like the official flavored whiskey of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). No one could judge me more harshly than I judge myself, and yet, here we are. There’s something weirdly delightful about blending this caramelized banana flavor with Kentucky bourbon. It plays well with tropical drinks, coffee drinks and classic cocktails. Make a holiday Howler Head Colada mixing 1.5 oz. of Howler Head with 1 oz. pineapple juice, .5 oz. coconut milk and a dash of bitters to get a fun taste of the islands with your dose of cold December weather. It’s a bottle that doesn’t take itself seriously and neither will you or your drinks when you’re mixing with it.

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12 Bottles of Christmas, Howler Head

Credit: Contributed

12 Bottles of Christmas, Howler Head

Credit: Contributed

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12 Bottles of Christmas, Howler Head

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

10) Middle West Spirits Bourbon Cream, $22.99

This year Middle West Spirits out of Columbus has blended their award-winning Michelone Reserve 4-Grain Bourbon Whiskey with sweet cream for a silky smooth small batch liqueur. This is an Ohio offering that can be enjoyed with coffee, hot cocoa, eggnog or on the rocks. The distillery announced that they plan to release this annually in the fall prior to the holidays going forward. If you want to have something made in Ohio this is a good bottle to show some love to as are any of their bourbon whiskeys.

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Middle West Spirits Bourbon Cream

Credit: Contributed

Middle West Spirits Bourbon Cream

Credit: Contributed

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Middle West Spirits Bourbon Cream

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

11) Tanqueray Sevilla Orange, $19.99

This gin has been out for a couple of years, but don’t discount it. This is the bright, vibrant citrus mixing option that the holidays longs for and calls for. It’s one of the best gin and sodas you can ask for during the holiday season with flavors that are balanced with bold orange for a sweet, light finish. It’s a wonderful refreshing option for winter and every season in between.

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Tanqueray Sevilla Orange

Credit: Contributed

Tanqueray Sevilla Orange

Credit: Contributed

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Tanqueray Sevilla Orange

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

12) Simple Times Mixers, $14.99

These wonderful mixers made with fresh ingredients, contain no alcohol. Paired with a sparkling juice or soda water they make fantastic mocktails. The bottles come in 32 oz. and makes 8-10 cocktails. The Cranberry Apple Cider Mule is a treat, but so is the Pomegranate Mule, Chai Apple Mule, Cranberry Margarita, Cherry Limeade and Blueberry Basil Lemonade. It’s a great way to enjoy season flavors without all the work of juicing and blending. For boozy options, mix it with Wheatley Vodka ($18.95) from Harlen Wheatley, the Master Distiller at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky. It’s another great bottle that makes for a great host or hostess gift or a great gift for your home bar.

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Simple Times Mixers

Credit: Contributed

Simple Times Mixers

Credit: Contributed

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Simple Times Mixers

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of exciting outdoor spaces, new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

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