13 swoon-worthy spirits chosen by the pros

Sommeliers share their favourite special-edition spirits, perfect for gifting.

Swoon-Worthy Spirits


Sommeliers, restauranters and cocktail pros share their picks.

Gran Patrón Burdeos, Patrón

“If you’re a tequila fan and looking for an ultra, ultra-premium offering that is smooth like butter drizzled with honey, vanilla pods, salted caramel, this is the ultimate gift,” says Evelyn Chick, cocktail expert, educator and consultant. “Burdeos – Spanish for Bordeaux – it’s aged in American and French oak and redistilled before being rested in red wine barrels from Bordeaux.”

Dry Rosé Gin, Mirabeau

“This gorgeous, grape-based pink gin from the French Riviera is delicately perfumed with rose petals and jasmine,” says Alex Gill, journalist, food critic and Iron Chef Canada judge. “It’s soft enough to sip on its own, but the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf notes also lend a lovely bouquet-garni twist to cocktails.”

Cloud House Rum & Coffee Liqueur, Cloud House

Nestled among the soaring peaks of the Colombian mountains is a rare coffee plantation known as ‘Cloud House,’ where the beans are hand-picked and cold-brewed. Rich Colombian rum is aged by the sea in oak barrels before being infused with the coffee, creating this bold and vibrant liqueur.

Clase Azul Tequila, Clase Azul

Le Cordon Bleu Paris-trained chef and cookbook author, Camille Arcese, chooses this tequila as a decadent gift for both its smooth character and its beautiful ceramic vessel. “I love to have it on my counter, so we have it there to celebrate things that come up. It’s one of those special things that often someone isn’t likely to buy themselves.”


Saffredi 2010, Fattoria Le Pupille

Famed restauranteur Janet Zuccarini chooses a Cab-Merlot-Petit Verdot blend as a splurge-worthy wine to give or receive this holiday season. “Well-balanced, velvety, complex and just an absolutely beautiful wine and a little less known out there” is how she describes it, also adding that “it’s from a female-owned winery, which I love!”

Rémy Martin Louis XIII Cognac, Rémy Martin

“I would love a bottle of Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac,” says Jeffry Roick of McNabb Roick Events. “Why? Because I would love to see the bottle sitting on the table at the cottage with a roaring fire and be able to offer it to my guests in gorgeous Bacarrat crystal snifters!”

A Bartender’s Guide to the World, Lauren Mote and James O. Fraioli

Transport your glass around the globe with 75 cocktail recipes from one of the world’s premier bartenders. For over 20 years, Lauren Mote has tended bars and traveled the world, often as one of the only women in a male-dominated industry. She’s developed cocktail recipes, sought out new ingredients and gathered stories along the way. Lauren is inviting readers and home bartenders to pack their suitcases and come with her on an international cocktail adventure. Brought to you by Appetite by Random House.

The GlenDronach Single Malt Scotch Whisky Revival Aged 15 Years, GlenDronach Distillery

“My splurge-worthy spirit this year is The GlenDronach Revival,” says Eva Chen, executive chef of Avling Kitchen and Brewery in Toronto. “It is one of the smoothest Scotches I’ve had in a while. It’s very well-rounded with lots of sherry finish and spice as it is finished in Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks.”


Zottorinotto Etna Bianca 2019, Tornatore Wine

This Sicilian white wine is a gift of choice for Kirk Pickersgill, co-designer of the renowned Canadian fashion label, Greta Constantine. “Having lived in Milan for over a decade, Italy will forever hold a close place in my heart,” he says. “A few bottles from the winery Tornatore will turn a gathering with friends into a festa.”

Select Aperitivo

Select Aperitivo is responsible for the Venetian Spritz, which they created in 1920 with this now-classic cocktail bitter. 30 unique botanicals comprise the flavour, which can be described as the perfect balance of bright, bittersweet and bold.

The Dalmore 12 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, The Dalmore

Ian Rosen is the third-generation Rosen and sartorial man in charge at menswear retailer Harry Rosen. “A go-to gift of mine is The Dalmore Malt Scotch Whisky,” says the president and COO. “It’s both sweet and spicy, and the bottle is a handsome addition to anyone’s bar cart.”


Isole e Olena 2018 Cepparello, Isole e Olena

“This stuff is a rush of gorgeous, bright red fruit and layered, savory spice,” says Chris Nuttall-Smith, food writer, restaurant critic and Top Chef Canada judge. “But it’s got a level humility too–Cepparello’s a food wine, through and through. Just my kind of drink. For many of its fans, it might be the greatest Sangiovese ever made.”


The Woodford Reserve Bourbon Lover’s Kit, Love of Cocktails

“Although I don’t drink, I’m all about the wow in gift giving and this definitely has it,” says Stephanie Lui-Valentim, co-owner of food-and-drink talent agency Quell. “It’s a fun, interactive mixing experience at home and provides all the ingredients and bar tools your loved ones need to make 12 cocktails—plus a bottle of Woodford Reserve Bourbon!”




Share this article: