Vapor Distillery Boulder Bourbon
Utilizing a copper still shipped from Scotland, this Boulder distillery has been churning out good spirits for a few years now. Boulder Bourbon is the company's signature bottle, and it's trademarked so you'll know that there's only one bourbon that bears the Boulder name. And it's not just a gimmick: The stuff tastes great, so when you give it as a gift, you're sharing a well-crafted bourbon straight from the foot of the Flatirons. Boulder Bourbon has a touch of fruitiness that makes it a little bit sweet, a hint of rye that makes it a little bit spicy, and an overall flavor that makes it totally delicious.
Longtucky Spirits Lusca Spiced Rum
There aren't too many Colorado rums out there, and this tipple is one of the newest you can find. Given that the distillery opened this past summer, you can bet most people on your "nice" list haven't heard of Lusca spiced rum, a spirit infused with black cardamom, vanilla, orange, mace, allspice and clove. The label is pretty cool, too. And, as with all Longtucky's spirits, it's made with local grains and snowmelt from Longs Peak. This will be a hard bottle to part with, but maybe you can talk your loved one into making you a scrumptious hot buttered rum — you know, just to take off the chill of winter.
Upslope Brewing Company Wild Christmas Ale
As part of its Lee Hill Series, Boulder-based Upslope Brewing is churning out an extra-special Christmas beer in 19.2-ounce cans (that's an imperial pint, in case you're not familiar with British measurements). Dubbed Wild Christmas Ale, the brew features black raspberries, Belgian candi syrup and an array of warming spices. And if that isn't enough, it's aged for ten months in a Leopold Bros. Maryland-style rye whiskey barrel and soured with the brewery's own house-mixed culture. In the glass, the beverage is deep, dark red, like mulled wine. The flavor proves bright and tart, with just enough funk to impress that beer nerd you bought it for.
Stranahan's Sherry Cask Single Malt Whiskey
At this point, anyone local knows Stranahan's American whiskey well enough (it's made with Rocky Mountain snowmelt and Colorado grain!), but you probably haven't had the latest bottle in the company's profile, the sherry cask whiskey. This spirit debuted in November and consists of good ol' Stranahan's finished in a barrel that once held Spanish sherry. The result is a dark, rich drink with a juicy fruitiness and smooth finish. Right now you can only get the sherry-cask whiskey at the distillery, which just makes it even more special.
Pickett's American Craft Ginger Beer
Add some spice to your cocktail game this holiday season by picking up a bottle of Jim, Bob and Matt Pickett's spicy ginger syrup. Better yet, get two bottles and give one to that heat-seeking friend or relative of yours who also likes to throw back a few quality beverages. Bottled in Brooklyn (though the company is partially operated from Denver since Matt Pickett lives and works here), the concentrate is all-natural, which means it's good for you (right?) as well as tasty. Mix it into a spicy soda or add a bar spoon of the stuff to a hot toddy for an added kick. Tell the object of your ginger affection to visit the company's website for recipes for both drinks and food.