The best boozy advent calendars

Nick Moyle and Rich Hood

Forget the low-quality chocolates of yore, these fun alcohol advent calendars will give you a very merry run-up to Christmas

Old fashioned advent calendars were never that much fun for adults. Most would come with nothing more than a tiny nativity scene printed behind each door or, if you could get a “luxury” calendar, a tiny angel-shaped chocolate that would soon lose its appeal. 

Thankfully a little more fun has been inserted behind the doors and windows of modern calendars, most notably in the shape of booze, adding a little extra festive cheer to the month of December.

 

Spirits

Spirits are arguably the best-suited booze for advent calendars. A 3cl dram is the perfectly sized package to be contained behind a cardboard door, making the boxes more compact than other boozes, and a nip of spirit is often the perfect tipple for cold December days. 

The market leaders in dram-based gifts are Drinks by the Dram, who have a vast array of calendars to choose from including gin, whisky, cognac and tequila. 

This year we’ve been peeking inside their exceptional bourbon advent calendar and have discovered that it contains several classics along with new releases, limited editions and other bourbons you might normally struggle to find. Door #24 is particularly special, containing a 3cl dram that costs the same amount as some 70cl bottles.

Whisky enthusiasts might also like to check out the advent offering from The Really Good Whisky Company which is a similar treasure trove of rare treats with each dram presented in an individual box printed with handy product information.

really good whisky

 

 

Beer and cider

 

If you’re a beer drinker and have enough room for a massive box of 24 beers then there’s plenty of choice for advent guzzling, with some door opening mechanisms more successful than others. Beer Hawk offer up a good selection of beers from around the world, with several exclusives among them, assembled in a towering box. 

For 24 bottles of British brewed beer behold the beauty of the Best of British Beer box (try saying that after drinking some of the strongest among them) with a full array of beer styles to pick through. And for craft ale drinkers who like to sample some of the newer breweries in the world, HonestBrew’s calendar is hard to beat.

honest brew

Even cider drinkers (an often overlooked bunch) can take part in advent merriment with an outstanding selection of appley goods from top quality independent cider makers, courtesy of Crafty Nectar.

 

Wine

The main advantage of wine calendars is that you feel less obliged to guzzle each offering upon opening—have an initial little sip to see what it tastes like then decide if you want the rest. 

If not, pop the lid back on and finish it (or share it with someone) a few days later. And should you get any that don’t appeal, then set them aside for Christmas gravy-making.

virgin wine

Virgin Wines have led the way in the vino market, with their box of boozy goods selling out quickly every year. Behind the cardboard doors you’ll find miniature bottles of reds, whites, rosés and fizzes to suit all tastes, but they also give you the option of all red or all white boxes. 

Other suppliers are joining them in the marketplace – Laithwaites have what looks like an impressive mixed case while John Lewis offer a mixed case or one containing nothing but festive fizz.

 

How to enjoy your calendar

It would be unwise for us to suggest anyone drinks booze every day of the month, so before we pick out some of our favourite calendars here are a few tips on how to get through your bounty without worrying your doctor.

Share it
The most obvious, and generous, way of consuming a month’s supply of booze is to share it with friends or family, taking it in turns to delve into each day’s door. But a word of advice: in our experience the best booze can be found behind door number 24, so make sure that date lands on one of your turns.

Party!
Another fun way of sharing the goods is to splurge most of it in one go as the centrepiece of a party. 

Let your guests pick numbers tombola-style every time they need a new drink and if number 24 just happens to be missing from the hat then we won’t tell anyone (see above).

Spread the load
If you’re determined to guzzle the lot yourself then try extending the enjoyment for a few months into the new year, picking out a treat every fourth day instead.

Cheat
If the daily ritual is too much, then get the excitement of discovery out of the way in one go and squirrel the goods away in your drink cabinet instead.


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