Make your gift bottles a grand gesture—

A Christmas gift should feel as iconic as a handshake from Michael Caine, or free-falling into a pool filled with hot buttered rum. The bottle should convey a grand sense of occasion.

Rum is underrated. For too long it’s been seen as a holiday sipper, but peer a little more closely and there are plenty of options for the connoisseur, such as my pick this week from The Whisky Exchange, which shows how top notch rum can be. With whisky, we all have our favourite. Aldi’s eight-year-old Highland Black is decent for just £12.99, or try my sherry-infused gem from Glenfarclas. Cognac is irresistible and if you’re willing to splash the cash it’s a slam dunk. Or how about an iconic red? The Co-Op has come up trumps with Chassagne-Montrachet from Burgundy. Or just buy British bubbly. My wine of the week is the crown jewels.


PERFECT PINOT: René Lamy Chassagne-Montrachet 2015 (13%) £25 Co-Op. One of the best Pinot Noirs I’ve tasted all year – silky and splendid. Limited availability.

ROCKING RUM: Black Tot Rum (46.2%, 70cl) £39.95 Fruity and fabulous with breezy spice, set sail for the new frontier of Rum.

WICKED WHISKY: Glenfarclas 15 Year Old (46%, 70cl) £52.90 Fruity and warming as liquid Christmas cake by the fireside.

CLASSY COGNAC: Hermitage Grande Champagne Cognac 1995 (43%, 70cl) £97.50 A magical butterscotch beauty, this Cognac is top of my Christmas list.


Hattingley Valley Reserve Classic NV (12%) £29, Tesco. Ace English fizz, a sensual riot of refreshment.

This column was originally published in EVENT Magazine, Mail on Sunday, 15th December 2019