"When thinking about whisky and the holiday season, my mind always flickers to thoughts of friends and family — and unwinding with a large dram." - Iain McCallum
This Christmas season we'll be counting down the days by unveiling 25 whiskey- and whisky-inspired products (one each day, and all here in the same spot) that will help you enjoy the seasonal favorite a little more — or simply kick back and relax with family and friends — brought to you by McCallum, the Master of Malts of Morrison Bowmore Distillers and a man who knows a thing or two about how to enjoy the brown booze. Cheers!
December 25, Christmas Day:
'Power's' Joseph Sikora on His Craziest Fan Encounters and the Last Season of 'Power'
Anywhere FireplaceLexington Tabletop Ethanol Fireplace - $169.99 McCallum - A whisk(e)y in front of a fire is a lovely thing but if you’re place doesn’t offer the real deal, this is a great next best thing. Nothing better than a little anywhere fireplace and a dram.
December 24, Christmas Eve:
Ball Bukanter - $135+ McCallum - For the real whisk(e)y aficionados out there, this is a great little gadget for teaching yourself how to nose spirits. It takes away the alcohol burn and lets you enjoy the true essence of your spirit.
Island Creek Oysters - $150 (100 Count Bag) McCallum - A raw oyster and a glass of single malt Scotch whisky walk into a bar… no, it’s not the start of a bad joke, it’s the start of a wonderful pairing. A nice smoky whisky (like Bowmore 12 Years Old) and a raw oyster make a perfect match. Our suggested way – eat the oyster first, add whisky to the oyster cup and then slurp back the oyster liquor mixed with the whisky liquor. Heavenly. Go.
KikkerlandJigger Aluminum Cube - $40 McCallum - Why use a regular old jigger when you can use a cube? When making whisky or whiskey cocktails, this jigger works great and looks great on the bar.
BowmoreThe Cottages - $140+/night McCallum - The Scottish island of Islay is known as the Queen of the Hebrides. Just 3,200 people inhabit this little isle but it is home to eight great distilleries. That leaves a fair share of Drams for all the visitors. Book the ultimate Scotch trip now.
IzolaDrinking Game Coasters - $15 McCallum - Great idea for those of us who will most likely over indulge on the turkey and trimmings this holiday and need a place to set down our digestif. Warning: Has been known to cause exercise.
Padrón1926 Serie Sampler - $71 McCallum - What goes better with a Single Malt after a good meal? A fine cigar. I’d highly recommend trying the pairing of a Padrón Serie 1926 No. 9 (available in sampler) with a Bowmore 18 Years Old. No other cigar has been named Cigar of the Year more times by Cigar Aficionado than the Padrón.
Illusion Pilsners - $62 (Set of 4) McCallum - Beer and whisky, a great pairing. When you use these the only question is will the beer last long enough to enjoy the look of these pilsner glasses?
Stone Drink Dispenser - $125 McCallum - Love this. A nice little addition to a man cave that is bound to have the neighbours drooling with envy. Has to be one of the coolest bottle dispensers I’ve seen.
DanesonSingle Malt No. 16: $35.99 McCallum - What better way to make sure you are clean and presentable after the festive feast? These toothpicks have been soaked in Islay whisky and then kiln-dried. I’d say a perfect way to end your meal.
Allen Brothers Steak - $OrderSpecific McCallum - A great go-to for the feasts ahead. They ship and even advise on things like thawing and cooking. Takes away some of the stress and red meat pairs so well with whisky. Try a cheery Glen Garioch with some steak as an alternative to holiday ham or turkey.
Scotch WhiskeySingle Malt Highlands Whisky Tumbler - $34.95 (Set of 2) McCallum - I love a whisky glass that captures all the aromas. The tapered neck on these glasses will only enhance your sensorial experience.
Frausto and Co.The Gentlemans Deck Playing Cards - $16 McCallum - Manners take so little time but mean so much. Shouldn’t we all brush up on our etiquette? A great way to have fun and even learn a thing or two like how to tie a Windsor know, what to give for anniversaries and even how to taste whiskey.
Wooden Martini Glasses - $100 (Set of 2) McCallum - I’ve been in many bars, but have never seen glasses like these. And think about it, you can start aging your Manhattan right in the glass, unless you drink it down too quick…
Filthy Black Cherry - $8.99 (8 ounces) McCallum - We have all witnessed the resurgence in the classic cocktail. With Filthy Cherries you can ‘pimp’ your Manhattan.
RabLabsPedra Agate Coasters - $64/4 coasters McCallum - Handcrafted from Brazilian agate, each and every one is unique — and we all need a touch of sunshine when the weather is so cold. Use these so you don’t have any worries about mucking up the furniture. Because you shouldn’t have any worries while enjoying your whisky or whiskey.
Whiskey Womenby Fred Minnick - $14.55 McCallum - With so many women now drinking whisky, it’s great to see a book that reflects on the heritage of the ladies of our industry including Bessie Williamson, who made her home on Islay, where Bowmore is the island capital.
RX Bitters - ~$20 (By location.) McCallum - Some very tasty bitters from our friends down in San Diego. Try some in your favorite whisky cocktail – like a Scotch Rob Roy or Rusty Nail or a Bourbon or Rye Manhattan
Kentucky Bourbon Festival - $NA (Tickets available starting January 2.) McCallum - I’ve been fortunate to attend many whisky festivals the world over, but this has always eluded me. Perhaps 2014 is the year. For the love of Bourbon, go straight to the source and book a trip to BourbonFest in Bardstown, KY (September 16-21, 2014).
Picnic TimeManhattan Cocktail Kit - $157.44 McCallum - Whether it’s wrapped up against the winter chill or opened up on a summer beach day, this cocktail kit is a great idea and holds two martini glasses, shaker, jigger, tongs, strainer, and an olive pick. And it holds two bottles — bonus!
Oliver and SinclairBourbon Nib Brittle - $12 McCallum - This brittle features cocoa beans that have been aged in Bourbon barrels from some of the finest distilleries in the south. Anything that has spent time in Bourbon barrels must be good, right? And these sweet things aid digestion. No excuse! No guilt!
DenadaDenadaSilicone Ice Ball Molds - $19.99 McCallum - For those of us who — despite hours of chipping away at chunks of ice — never really get the perfect ice ball. Great as it doesn’t dilute as quickly as square ice, and you can’t rush a Glen Garioch.
Vagabond HousePewter Squid Bottle Opener - $64 McCallum - A great whiskey pairing? Beer. And in a day where we rely so much on modern technology, sometimes it’s the simple things that give us the greatest pleasures. It just works — and it looks so cool.
MV's Best Virginia Cocktail Peanuts - $19.50 (22 ounces) McCallum - Who doesn’t like nuts? A great accompaniment to your bourbon or Scotch that come in Jalapeno, Toffee, Cajun, Sea Salt, Milk, or Dark Chocolate. Oh, and these were voted America's favorite bar snack. The ones covered in dark chocolate go down well with a nice sherried Bowmore while the salted tins are perfect with a pour of Glen Garioch.
Follow McCallum, @Maltmaster_IMcC. And learn more about Morrison Bowmore Distillers, purveyors — and perfectionists — of Auchentoshan, Bowmore, and Glen Garioch. For the Master of Malts, the holidays also bring to mind "true tales of whisky, friendship and mutual suffering" from late nights of fun to laughable morning-afters. Here's to yours.