A Toast to Excellence

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DON JULIO 1942 Named for the date Julio Gonzales began making tequila, it’s 2.5 years old and extra smooth.

Your mentor is retiring, an old friend got some great news, you just completed a huge project at the office … life is filled with occasions to lift a glass in celebration or opportunities to give someone (including yourself ) a bottle expressing your appreciation or esteem. On the other hand, a $10 six-pack might not convey quite the message you want to send. We asked local bar consultant Jeremy Vincent to share some top-shelf liquor recommendations for gifts, collecting or enjoying anytime—so here’s to your health.




For a blanco (typically unaged and sharpest in flavor), Vincent says Cincoro Blanco “is good to mix in any cocktail, but could also be enjoyed straight if you are a true tequila fan. It is surprisingly smooth for a blanco tequila.” $60

For a reposado (aged between two months and a year), try Don Julio Double Cask. It’s finished by aging in Lagavulin Scotch casks, for balanced flavor with subtle hints of cinnamon and citrus. $75

Vincent chose Don Julio 1942 as an anejo (aged between one and three years), because “It is extremely smooth and has a very rich and oaky flavor; this is my favorite anejo tequila I have tried so far.” $125




“My all-around ‘go-to’ bourbon is without a doubt Buffalo Trace,” says Vincent, praising its depth, versatility, suitability for using neat or as a mixer—and especially its low price for the quality. $25

It’s rare to come across, but if you can find a bottle of Blanton’s, grab it immediately. A bit on the sweet side, anyone who’s tried it might well agree with Vincent that “This … has been my favorite bourbon since the moment I tasted it.” $60

It’s a splurge, but if you really want to impress someone, you might never find a smoother spirit than Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year. The late Anthony Bourdain once said that “If God made bourbon, this is what he’d make.” $3,000




The 100-proof Rittenhouse Rye is very versatile, makes a great Manhattan and provides the best bang for your buck when it comes to rye whiskey, said Vincent, noting its spicy, yet fruity profile. $25

WhistlePig’s The Boss Hog rye is aged for 13 years and finished with the sweet/sour Japanese liqueur umeshu for a smooth mouthfeel and a palate filled with baking spices at a strength of around 120 proof. $600 If you’re like many Americans, the very word whiskey turns your thoughts to Lynchburg, Tennessee. Vincent says the Jack Daniels Sinatra Select “had some pleasant oaky notes with a nice smooth finish. I am not a huge Jack Daniels fan personally, but I did enjoy this whiskey.” $140




Scotch flavors cover a lot of ground—that’s a peat joke—so recommendations are tricky; a good one depends on the drinker’s palate preference. Speyside scotch is generally less peaty than others; just about anyone should appreciate the full-body, long, nutty finish and easy-drinking nature of the single-malt Glenlivet 21. $280

If you want the stronger, smoky burn of an Islay, Laphroaig 10 is a great place to start—Vincent calls it “similar to a campfire in a bottle,” which is a compliment in this case, and it won’t burn a hole in your wallet. $60




Vincent says, “Diplomatico Ambassador is my favorite spirit to drink. Hands down. This rum is aged for 10 years in bourbon barrels and then finished for two years in Pedro Ximenez (sherry) barrels. This Venezuelan rum has a rich texture with a semi smokey nose. Raisins, chocolate, banana and butter can all be picked up somewhere along the tasting profile. A must-have for anyone who appreciates high-end spirits.” $280


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