Four Roses Single Barrel (bourbon)
PROVENANCE: Lawrenceburg, Kentucky (50% abv)
AVAILABLE AT: Lukas Liquor, 15921 Manchester Road, Ellisville; lukasliquorstl.com; $35.99
TRY IT: Neat or with a few ice cubes or drops of water
Master distiller Jim Rutledge handpicks the barrels that get bottled for Four Roses' Single Barrel bourbon. Bottlings vary by barrel. All of the bottlings I've tasted are spicy yet smooth, with just enough vanilla. I recommend a few ice cubes or a touch of water to settle down the alcohol and help the flavors from this delicious spirit come through.
The BalvenieMadeira Cask (17-year-aged Scotch Whisky)
PROVENANCE: Scotland (43% abv)
AVAILABLE AT: The Wine & Cheese Place, multiple locations, wineandcheeseplace.com; $107.99
TRY IT: Neat or with a few drops of water
From time to time, The Balvenie releases a bottling that's particularly special because of the vessel the Scotch was aged in. This bottling started in traditional, American oak Scotch whisky casks; then it was transferred to barrels that had been previously used for Madeira wine production. The end product is a Scotch whisky with an extra hit of dried fruits and great spicy notes of cinnamon and ginger.
Camus XO Borderies Cognac
PROVENANCE: Cognac, France (40% abv)
AVAILABLE AT: Randall's, multiple locations, shoprandalls.com; $169.99
TRY IT: Neat or with a few ice cubes
This holiday season, you'd be lucky to get any bottle of cognac - but extra lucky to be greeted with this gem. The fifth-largest producer of cognac, Camus is the only producer to distill an XO bottling of 100 percent Borderies fruit. Borderies is a sub-appellation within Cognac, France, and its soils host the most-prized fruit of the region. On the palate, you'll notice a floral intensity, along with soft hazelnut and buttery notes.
Award-winning sommelier and mixologist Chad Michael George is founder of Proof Academy, which covers everything from wine and cocktail list consulting to spirits and mixology education.