Tag Archives: stocking filler

A Christmas gift guide for alcohol enthusiasts!



-The Reserva de la Familia Limited Edition

Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia tequila is celebrating the subculture of tattoo art this Christmas, teaming up with Mexican artist Jerónimo López Ramírez to create a funky gift pack. The handcrafted wooden box celebrates the notorious style of the artist known as ‘Dr. Lakra’, a legend in Mexican tattoo artistry. His work has been shown across the world, bringing his unique style, influenced by comics, flamenco dancing and music covers, to several different art forms and audiences.

Reserva de la Familia is no ordinary tequila. Every March Fancisco Hajnal, Cuervo’s Master Blender, mixes a unique blend from the Cuervo tequila reserves, producing a limited number of special bottles; hand-poured, wax-sealed, numbered and labelled ‘Reserva de la Familia’. Since 1995, to honour the extraordinary tequila, the Cuervo family has teamed up with the Mexican artist of the moment to design a one-off gift box, creating collectible limited editions.

A tequila to be appreciated and sipped, served best over ice.  The Reserva de la Familia collectible box is available from Selfridges for £84.68 RRP.


This Christmas, why not treat someone to a bottle of award winning tequila Jose Cuervo, Platino. The silver tequila comes in a striking blue wooden box, making it an ideal gift for those who appreciate the fine Mexican spirit.

Made from 100% blue agave, Platino boasts an exquisite flavour thanks to the Cuervo family’s secret recipe and unique handcrafted production process that has developed over 200 years at Casa Cuervo. Its light herbaceous aromas give way to hints of vanilla and this smooth tequila is best served in luxurious cocktails.

An ideal gift for foodies, and all discerning drinkers, the Cuervo Platino gift box is available from Selfridges for £55.44 RRP.

THE IDEAL STOCKING FILLER FOR THE WHISKY ENTHUSIAST: The Talisker® Single Malt Scotch Whisky Flask and Glass Pack

 The makers of Talisker whisky this year has created the perfect solution to honour the award winning malt; a striking special edition of the Talisker 10 year old 20cl that comes together with a unique Talisker rocking glass and a hip flask. The perfect stocking filler, savour the whisky at home or in the hipflask whilst enjoying the great outdoors on your Boxing Day walk.

At a recommended price of £19.99 and available from whisky specialists.

FOR JOHNNIE WALKER® LOVERS: The Johnnie Walker Black Label Gift Pack

The Johnnie Walker Black Label gift pack includes a bottle of the smooth Scotch whisky, along with two elegant tumbler glasses, all enclosed in a stylish black case. Aged for 12 years, Johnnie Walker Black Label is a unique blend with a smooth, deep and complex character.

Available to buy from selected whisky specialist stores, the Johnnie Walker Black Label gift pack has an RRP of £29.99.


The Johnnie Walker Red Label Gift Pack

To ensure you’re spoilt for choice when deciding what to buy the whisky enthusiast in your life, the makers of Johnnie Walker have also created two Johnnie Walker Red Label gift packs.  The first pack contains two complimentary bespoke tumblers embossed with the famous Johnnie Walker striding man, along with a bottle of the world renowned whisky, famous for its bold and characterful taste. In contrast to Johnnie Walker Black Label, Red Label has been created to drink long. Just adding water will unleash the robust, sweet and smoky blend to its full potential.

The Johnnie Walker Red Label Glass Pack is available from selected supermarkets throughout the UK, priced at £21.99.


Grand Marnier has created The Red Ribbon Limited Edition Bottle to shake up your drinks cabinet during the party months.

Renowned for its distinctive flavour and character, Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge is a delicate blend of fine cognacs and distilled essence of tropical oranges. Slowly aged in French oak casks, Grand Marnier has an incomparable roundness and subtlety, making it a fantastic ingredient for Christmas drinks.

The Red Ribbon Edition is available to buy from October in Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, with an RRP of£29.99.


Tanqueray gin has created Tonight’s Edition.  The bottle of Tanqueray gin, honoured with a Royal Warrant in 1925, is enclosed in a high quality, premium silver shrink sleeve and embossed with the iconic Tanqueray seal; a must have for any cocktail enthusiast.

The gift pack comes with the seal of approval from Erik Lorincz the head barman at the world famous American Bar in the London Savoy.  It also includes a recipe to create the perfect Tanqueray & Tonic so you can recreate the glamour of the cocktail bar in the comfort of your own home.

Tanqueray gin’s complex combination of refreshing juniper, peppery coriander and aromatic angelica give it an elegant taste that sets it apart from the rest and has helped make it one of the world’s most awarded gin.

The Tanqueray Tonight’s Edition is available at all major supermarkets this Christmas, with an RRP of £22.99.


Zacapa 23 Solera is regarded as one of the finest rums in the world. The ultra-premium RonZacapa 23 gift box comes complete with two bespoke tasting glasses.  It is the result of a unique combination of soil climate and ultra-high-grade cane sugar and is produced using only the first pressing of the sugar cane, the virgin cane honey.

This is skillfully distilled and then transported to the aging facility, known as ‘the house above the clouds’ sitting as it does at 2300m above sea level. Not only is the location unique, but the cool air serves a practical purpose of slowing the ageing process to craft rums of impeccable quality.

The Zacapa 23 gift box includes a 70cl bottle with two elegant bespoke Zacapa sipping glasses, and is available exclusively from Selfridges RRSP from £65.


Spirits make easy Christmas presents


Choosing Christmas presents can sometimes be impossible, so rather than a tie or pair of socks that will only get pushed to the back of the drawer, if you know what their favourite tipple is, why not get something they will definitely use and like instead.

I have recently come across a few drink brands that have launched special editions for the Christmas market.  They are all available from highstreet shops, and none of which will break the bank – perfect!

My personal favourite (“hint hint”) is for the gin lover and cocktail enthusiast.  Tanqueray‘s new limited edition gift pack includes a bottle of Tanqueray gin and a snazzy stainless steel, fully functional three piece cocktail shaker. It is available from Oddbins, Nicolas and other specialist retailers, and is priced at £17.99

Johnnie Walker Black Label has a limited edition gift pack, which contains a Gold Pass invitation offering exclusive access to the stylish and sophisticated world of Formula 1!   Priced at £23, it is available from all major retailers and whisky specialists

Also, Grand Marnier, which is undergoing a revival after 130 years in business, has designed an exclusive new Ruby limited edition bottle, black with a ruby-red jewel, aimed at women. It is available from Selfridges, Oddbins and Nicolas, and is priced at £19.99

If you’re looking for more of a stocking filler, (and I can think if a number of people who would love this) there is the Single Malt Whisky Flavour Experience Gift Pack. Priced at just £12, it includes four miniature contrasting whiskies together with The Flavour Map, which is a guide on tasting single malt whiskies.  It is available from Tesco, and other selected convenience and specialist retailers

Talisker has two different gifts this Christmas.  The RNLI Seascape Pack where each limited edition bottle of Talisker 10YO that is sold raises money for the RNLI, and Talisker 57° North which comes protected in practical flask, together with two natty little drinking cups. The RNLI Seascape Pack is priced at £32 and is available from Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrison’s and AsdaTalisker 57° North is priced at £65 and is available from whisky specialists

Happy shopping!

Bringing millet to the western masses

Having just spent five wonderful weeks in India, I wanted to highlight a fantastic brand I came across earlier this year.
Conscious Food is an Indian organic food company, set up by eco-nutritionist Kavita Mukhi in 1992, and ‘discovered’ by entrepreneur Kristina Locke on a trip to India in 2006. I found out about the company when it was just about to launch a new range of millet ‘power snacks’ in Selfridges.
Millet flour is an ancient, resilient and gluten-free grain, and because it needs no chemicals to thrive, it promotes bio-diversity in the areas in which it’s grown. Yes, I’ll admit to being hesitant about millet, “isn’t it that boring tasteless grain”, I thought but I have to say I was really impressed, not just by the enormous health benefits of the product, but by the great taste of Conscious’s power snacks. But millet is not just great in power snacks, it can also be used as a fantastic alternative to pasta, couscous and quinoa.
The grain is vastly undereaten in the west (hardly produced in the UK anymore) but in India it’s wonderfully abundant. Millet grows next to rice in paddy fields and needs no tending to, it is cheap and is sustinable to grow. Indian women actually wean their babies on it and being an alkaline grain means it is incredibly easy to digest. Its medicinal properties are valued in Ayurvedic medicine and it is known as a ‘sattvic’ food, which means it is naturally balancing.
What impresses me most is that the snacks are still made by hand, by a small team using family recipes and traditional baking methods; using no artificial ingredients or additives, no baking agents or yeast, just pure natural ethically traded ingredients, that are all sourced from small organic farming holdings and co-operatives found all over India. What’s even better about Conscious is that many of the products come from very small farms that wouldn’t otherwise earn a living. The millet and other ingredients are bought at 30-80% over the market price, which helps to ensure the survival of the communities that depend on these traditional farming techniques for a living, Conscious also works with cooperatives, NGOs and communities helping with schooling, medicine, women’s rights, etc.
Mumbai is where the tiny head office of Conscious Food is based, but the workshops, millet farms, and smallholdings where these little artisan health snacks are made, are all based in the Indian countryside. Using only natural ingredients such as millet, ginger, sesame and jaggery (palm molasses), to name a few, the conscious products are some of the most unpolluted on the market. Many of the farms they use are based in places as remote as the Himalayas, so you can only get to them by foot and can only use bullocks and carts, no modern machinery or pesticides.
As I have recently found out for myself, India really is a fantastic country, full of so many wonderfully friendly people, so please do your best to support companies like Conscious.
The products are available in Selfridges, Planet Organic, and other health food shops around the country, they are also regularly on tour at various health and food shows. Just think, they’ll make fantastic stocking fillers!
Just to whet your appetite, the savoury range includes:
  • Pearl Millet Crackers, with mint and garlic
  • Sesame Soya Sticks, lightly spiced with cumin
  • Sorghum Wheat Crackers, with parsley and black pepper

Very Peculiar Milk Chocolate Bar launches tomorrow


It’s amazing, totally wierd, wrong, yet so right!  What am I talking about? …Marmite chocolate of course!

I often find milk chocolate a bit too sweet, until a bar of Unilever’s Marmite Chocolate arrived on my desk last week.   On sale from tomorrow, the 100g bar has been dubbed the ‘definitive sweet and savoury sensation’.   Created for the 2010 gift range ahead of the Christmas shopping season, it really is a must have for Marmite lovers around the world, and another love it or hate it product.

As I described on Twitter a few days ago ‘it was chocolatey at first, but then a salty marmity yeasty flavour shone through…verdict on Marmite chocolate: very peculiar, but wonderfully addictive.  I LOVE it!

I just can’t wait for them to bring out a dark chocolate version – not only would that be delicious to eat on it’s own, but I can also imagine it being rather tasty melted into sauces for savoury dishes…mmmmmnnnn

The Very Peculiar Milk Chocolate Bar by Marmite is available from tomorrow in stores nationwide, including BHS, Debenhams, Harrods, Menkind, Robert Dyas & Selfridges and online at the Marmite Shop (RRSP £3.00).