Dinky-sized drinks for boozy stockings
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
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).