LuxeList Gift Guide 2020: Craft Whisky Club*

With under six weeks to go until Christmas, it’s fair to say that the Festive Season this year is going to be rather different from normal. Whether you normally spend it surrounded by friends and family, or perhaps you treat yourself to a few days away in a luxe hotel, it’s not going to be ‘normal’, and as a result, the way we get to treat our nearest and dearest is going to feel a little odd too. To make up for the weirdness (and the general WTF which has been 2020), I’m going hard on finding the best bits to gift, and I thought I’d share my finds with you too.

One of my favourite finds has been the Craft Whisky Club – a members club, which treats your giftee to a full-size bottle of the finest small batch and artisan whiskies the club can find, delivered to their door every two months. The whisky comes beautifully packaged, and delivered to their door in eco-friendly packaging. As if that wasn’t enough, there are extras in every box – mine came with an etched crystal whisky glass, alongside a box of delicious savoury crackers – perfect for snacking on alongside the whisky of choice.

The first box from the Craft Whisky Club features The Lakes Distillery The One Orange Wine Cask Finish. I always think orange is such a festive flavour, so this feels lovely as a Christmas gift, and I’ve heard such amazing things about the distillery, and since it’s quite small, there’s a good chance that whoever you’re sending this too, still has it on their ‘to try’ list.

I absolutely love how a subscription introduces you to new distilleries, and in addition to all the goodies in the box, there is even a voucher to enjoy a tour the distillery (obviously when life gets back to normal). In the meantime, there’s the whisky to enjoy – finished in orange wine casks from Andalucía, there are notes of fresh lychee, marmalade and hints of tobacco on the nose.

Sounds like the perfect present? You can choose your perfect level of membership here

Memberships: 1 bottle every 2 months (£29.95 / Month) or 2 bottles every two months (£55.95/ month) 

Ladurée Mince Pies*

When it comes to festive treats, the best ones are always the most unexpected. Last Friday, after a seriously busy week, which involved multiple 14 hour days and all sorts of ups and downs, I came home exhausted, only to find a parcel left on the doorstep. Inside was possibly one of my favourite care packages I think I’ve ever had – a seasonal gift from one of my favourite ever brands – Ladurée.

I’ve been obsessed with their iconic macarons for as long as I can remember – no trip to London or Paris was ever complete without a trip to one or two of their tearooms, so to find a box of their mince pies was such a treat. Packaged up in their signature packaging, the pies were just the pick-me-up I needed.

Without a doubt, Ladurée’s mince pies were some of the most delicious I’ve ever tried. Crisp, buttery pastry was filled with a boozy mix of nuts and currants. Topped with a rich crumb, we popped them in the oven for a few minutes to heat them through, and honestly I couldn’t think of a better Christmas treat!

I think the pies might be an in-store only purchase, but you can treat yourself to all sorts of treats here

Deviant Cookies Gift Box*

There’s no doubt that 2020 has been something. I’m pretty sure no-one could have predicted quite how disastrously it’s turned out, but despite the challenges, a few good things have come of it – and one of the most delicious has to be Deviant Cookies – a brand new mail order service bringing the most decadent goodies right through your letterbox.

I was very kindly treated to a selection box of six flavours (chocolate chip, chocolate walnut, funfetti, Biscoff, Red Velvet and Oreo) to try, and honestly everything from the super chic packaging, to the yummy treats inside completely made my day. After all, these aren’t your regular biscuits, instead Deviant Cookies make some of the biggest treats I’ve come across, and in a stroke of genius, they all come individually wrapped, so you can stash them in the freezer, then pop them in the oven for five minutes whenever you’re in need of a sweet treat.

The warming them back up in the oven makes them all oozy, with a soft centre and gooey fillings. A few of the flavour options (funfetti, red velvet and Biscotti) have surprise centres, so these get especially gooey when heated – a seriously guilty pleasure!

The choice of flavours available is really bang-on. It’s so hard getting fun, more American styles of cookie – especially those like the funfetti, so I feel like Deviant are really offering something super special.

I know it’s Halloween at the end of the week, but with a few weeks to go until Christmas, I think a box of Deviant’s finest would make an awesome gift. They come packaged beautifully, and they fit straight through the postbox, so you don’t need to worry about those annoying missed parcel slips.

The fact that they come individually parcelled, also means you could buy a few a slot them into people’s stockings or gift bags for an extra delicious treat!

The cookies are priced at £4 each, and a box of 6 is £24. You can find them here

Eteaket – Keep the Heid Tea*

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When it comes to talking to Scottish ex-pats, invariably the topic of ‘the water’ comes up. I’m not quite sure I realised that so many people have so many feelings about it, but it’s one of those things which always crops up as a ‘most missed’ whenever anyone talks about the benefits of home. Obviously Eteaket feel the same, and they’ve teamed up with Scottish Water for their new limited edition tea – Keep the Heid.

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If you’re not from Scotland, to ‘keep your Heid’ basically means to stay calm, and considering that the tea was created during the depths of lockdown, the name feels apt. A limited edition blend of Assam & Darjeeling teas complete with a  sprinkle of heather and delicate meadowsweet, it’s become my morning tea of choice, and I absolutely love the fact that at least 50% of the meadowsweet in the blend comes from a stunning tea garden in Scotland called Windy Hollow near Auchterarder in Perthshire.

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The tea itself was developed to encourage drinkers to be a catalyst for a conversation, and to re-ignite the energy of Scotland by bringing us all a little closer together. After all, everyone loves a good tea break! Eteaket are also donating £1 from every 100g tube sold to the charity ‘Health In Mind’ to help them to promote positive mental health & wellbeing – so you can drink good, as well as do good!

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Like all of Eteakets offerings, the teas come packaged loose in their stunning cannisters – I love seeing all the little buds and flowers, as it makes the whole experience feel so special. To make the most of the blend, I add a teaspoon of the tea into one of Eteaket’s plastic-free tea bags, and then pop it in the teapot.

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Thanks to the decently high caffeine content, Keep the Heid makes for the perfect morning brew. Eteaket recommends the tea to be enjoyed in the morning and early afternoon, and, if you’re missing your tea break buddy, why not take part in their Instagram campaign by using #cupofteawithme in your next instagram sho.  When you post a picture, tag a friend you’d like to have a cup of tea with either online or in person (when possible) and add the hashtag #cuppateawithme.  Re-connect with people and have a chat over ‘Keep The Heid’!

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Keep The Heid is priced from £2.50 and is available here

 

Cocktails at home with World of Zing*

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When it comes to entertaining, I’m decent at the big stuff. I can pop a few crowd-pleasers in the oven, and I can pick a great crowd of people, but mixing cocktails always feels like a big deal. I’m terrible at remembering all the bits and bobs needed for a good mix of drinks, so it feels like a real lifesaver to have found World of Zing’s award-winning bottles cocktails. You can choose from a whole menu of drinks, but I opted for a Rhubarb Cosmopolitan as a bit of a summery update on a delicious classic.

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Delivered straight to your door, Zing’s cocktails are beautifully bottled, and slot straight into the fridge in preparation for your gathering. Much better than mixing something up yourself, World of Zing’s award-winning bartenders mix up each cocktail by hand in small batches, and use bespoke bitters, liqueurs and ageing experiences. It’s the best way to enjoy an artisanal cocktail I can think of, and it’s such a lovely treat to enjoy at the end of a busy week.

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Serving couldn’t be easier – just pout 100ml into a martini glass, or Tumblr with ice, and enjoy. If I’m after something a little lighter, I’ve been mixing mine with a little club soda for a sparkling take on a classic. The use of rhubarb is really delicious, and the cocktail also contains Shisho leaf – a Japanese mint-like herb, which brings a real freshness to the drink. I can’t think of a better accompaniment to a summer evening!

World of Zing Rhubarb Cosmopolitan is priced at £12 and is available here

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