Your friend is getting married/having a birthday/got a new job/is having a sucky month and you want to give a gift that keeps on giving. A bottle of whiskey is perfect! Yes, technically a hangover also keeps on giving, so hopefully they don’t chug it like the Chinese lady trying to avoid surrendering her bottle.

Now, you might already know exactly the bottle your friend would love. Congrats! You don’t need to read this article and can instead check out how cats and whiskey get along over here at The Oatmeal.  But for the rest of you, keep going, I’m here to help. I recently had the opportunity to hang out in Manhattan, as the whiskey expert in a sizzle reel for a new reality show being pitched and this is the advice I gave. Happy shopping!



Your first stop should be your bank account. If you can afford a $50 bottle, looking at this bottle of Balvenie Fifty that goes for a mere $38,000 isn’t helping.  Be realistic – it’s possible that an extra $10 gets a slightly better bottle, so know your spending limits before shopping. I’d say $50-$75 is a reasonable budget that will get you a bottle that’s not just your average Tuesday sipper.


What does your friend normally drink?

If you  know your friend is a huge bourbon fan and always drinks a particular bottle, everyone loves to get more whiskey that they like. If you can’t find that bottle, can’t afford it or don’t want to give the same old thing, there’s no harm in asking the fine folks at the liquor store for suggestions. If you’re an online shopper, try asking your favorite bartender for ideas.


What if I really don’t know what kind of whiskey they like?!?

Honestly, if you think there’s a chance they won’t like whiskey – get something else. If you’re pretty confident that a good bottle of hooch will be given a good home, then think about what kinds of beer or wine they normally drink. An IPA fan might like a rye whiskey for its spiciness, a red wine drinker might appreciate whiskey finished in a wine cask. This is really the hardest way to go about it and requires a good knowledge of spirits. When in doubt, get them a gift card!


What if they like Scotch and I have no idea how to decide?!

That’s a tough one. If they like a particular style (say, no peat) and you choose something peaty like Bruichladdich Port Charlotte, that’s not exactly going to be the best gift ever. If you really don’t know which Scotch they like, try asking their SO/mom/accountant/boss – someone that might have a better idea. You can’t (generally) go wrong with a bottle of Glenfiddich 15 or Macallan 12 – neither are peated, and fit into that $50-$75 budget.


Here are some of my favorites that make a great gift:

Angel’s Envy – the bourbon is around $50, the rye (which is actually much sweeter) is around $75, plus the bottles look nice on the bar

George Dickel Barrel Select – a sweet, easy to drink whisky that’s around $45

If you’re looking for something a little different,  try a great craft whiskey like Corsair (how can you go wrong with a whiskey that has the tagline, Booze for Badasses?!?), Journeyman or FEW Spirits.


Article: Jeanne Runkle


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