A dozen boozy bottles to help ring in the new year

12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Uncle Nearest
12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Uncle Nearest

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Have we ever wanted to say goodbye to a year more than we have 2020?

For me, the answer is no.

There have been some highlights and silver linings to savor for sure, but there has also been a lot of suffering and sadness for many in the Miami Valley.

If, like me, you want to ring in the new year with pomp and circumstance in your protected bubble with prayers for a better 2021, here are a dozen bottles to consider to add some warmth and spirit to your celebrations.

These can be found in most local liquor stores.

The relatively new Ohio Liquor website (OHLQ.com) has a handy-dandy product tool to search out what bottles are in stock at stores near you if you are interested in tracking any of these down. The search tool isn’t perfect, but it can be helpful.

This year’s boozy dozen have been chosen because they are either new to the Ohio market; make for some really tasty, showy cocktails; are great conversation pieces; or all of the above.

12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Bardstown
12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Bardstown

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Bardstown Bourbon Fusion Series, $59.99

This was one of my favorite bottles of 2020. Bardstown Bourbon Company took a three-year-old wheated and high-rye bourbon and mixed it with a 13-year old Kentucky bourbon and the resulting liquid is a smooth delicious wonder that is an absolute delight to sip. I had Fusion Series No. 3. They have others in the fusion series and in a higher-end Discovery Series that I would love to try at some point. This bottle has been a highlight of the year.

12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Broker's
12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Broker's

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Broker’s Gin, $16.95

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to save money and budget better, this may be the bottle for you. It’s a classic London Dry Gin with a bowler hat on top to further make the point. It’s distilled using traditional botanicals like juniper, coriander, cassia bark, liquorice, rooris and angelica root, cinnamon, nutmeg and citrus. It bills itself as the World’s Best Gin and bartenders’ best friend. It’s solid and terrific for the price, making it a great addition to your bar.

12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Crystal Skull ONYX
12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Crystal Skull ONYX

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Crystal Head ONYX, $54.99

For vodka lovers who want a tequila twist delivered in a modern art bottle, this one is for you. Crystal Head Vodka, the brand known for the skull bottles, has created an agave vodka that merges the best of vodka with the taste of tequila. Created by comedian Dan Aykroyd, this Canadian product made with Newfoundland waters is smoothing and satisfying and a different way to help kick-start a new year.

12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Don Ciccio & Figli
12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Don Ciccio & Figli

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Don Ciccio & Figli Concerto, $39.99

This dark liqueur is made with a recipe that dates back to 1696. Barley and espresso coffee are oven-roasted with acacia wood and then mixed with 15 botanicals and spices. The gentle sweetness brings out notes of licorice, barley, dark chocolate and vanilla. It is great on the rocks served chilled or a bottle that will help elevate your cocktail game.

12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Empress 1908 Gin
12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Empress 1908 Gin

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Empress 1908 Gin, $37.99

Handcrafted in small batch copper-pot stills, Empress 1908 Gin is a collaboration between Victoria Distillers and the legendary Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia. Butterfly pea blossom imbues it with a bright, distinct indigo jewel hue. This is an exquisite gin that pours with a color that is sure to continue to impress you every bit as much as your guests. It’s a gorgeous, lush bottle that is worthy of ringing in a new year.

12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Gray Whale Gin
12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Gray Whale Gin

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Gray Whale Gin, $35.99

Every year the Gray Whale makes a 12,000-mile migration from the warm lagoons of the Baja Peninsula to the cool waters of the Arctic. This small-batch gin from Golden State Distillery is a celebration of this incredible journey. Made with zesty limes from California’s Temecula Valley, fir trees from Sonoma, sea kelp harvested from the Mendocino Coast, mint from Santa Cruz and almonds from Capay Valley and plenty of juniper from the rocky coastline of Big Sur, this is a gin that is something that takes a little time to grow on you. It’s a gin that is a made with a flavor adventure in mind.

12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Midnight Moon Watermelon mini bottles
12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Midnight Moon Watermelon mini bottles

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Midnight Moon Watermelon Moonshine, $1.49

If you are considering dropping off any New Year’s Eve treats, consider including a few small bottles. This watermelon moonshine is new to the market and comes in a cute reusable jar. Midnight Moon is inspired by Junior Johnson’s family moonshine recipe made from 100% American corn and handcrafted in small batches. It’s very smooth thanks to a five-step filtration process that takes the edge off the normal moonshine taste. Watermelon is a flavor that brightens taste buds with the warmth of summer.

12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Paul John Nirvana
12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Paul John Nirvana

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Paul John Nirvana, $29.99

This is a great bottle for the price. A single malt whiskey from India, it’s a bottle that can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or mixed into a cocktail. It has a beautiful depth that gives nods to both bourbon and to malty scotch. It’s sweet and has a sophisticated flavor to it. It’s a great gift and a great bottle to have on the bar at the right price.

12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Soul of Scarlet Bourbon Whiskey
12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Soul of Scarlet Bourbon Whiskey

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Soul of Scarlet Bourbon Whiskey, $51.99

Middle West Spirits, the Columbus distillery that is responsible for OYO, has several bottles of whiskey out now, two that were released over the holidays. Soul of Scarlet Bourbon Whiskey was especially created to be paired with BrewDog’s Jet Black Heart oatmeal milk stout. Crafted with sweet yellow corn, soft red winter wheat, dark pumpernickel rye, and two-row barley for a flavor that’s smooth, smoky, and softly sweet, it is a smooth dreamy sipper with a punchy heat at the end. If this one isn’t on the shelves grab their award-winning Michelone Reserve 4-Grain Bourbon, which is every bit as good and available throughout the year.

12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Uncle Nearest
12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Uncle Nearest

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Uncle Nearest 1856, $49.99

The story of Nearest Green is one worth getting to know. It’s the story of the first known African-American master distiller who taught the most famous Tennessee distiller of all time — Jack Daniels. The Uncle Nearest brand is owned by a minority-led business creating a premium aged whiskey with a blend of 8- to 14-year old, an 11-year-old minimum age single barrel, and a 7-year-old small batch offering filtered through sugar maple charcoal, a process confirmed to have been brought to Tennessee by enslaved people and taught to Daniels by Nearest. Uncle Nearest is the most awarded new American premium whiskey brand, garnering 75 awards since its July 2017 debut. This is a great bottle, a great story and a way to show the Godfather of Tennessee Whiskey the respect he deserves.

12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Villa One Tequila
12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Villa One Tequila

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Villa One Tequila, $44.99

Celebrities and spirits seem to go hand in hand. Drew Barrymore, Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and famously George Clooney (who sold his Casamigos brand in 2017 for a reported billion dollars) are just a few of many, many celebrities who have helped to found and front liquor brands. Villa One Tequila is new to the market, launched by Nick Jonas of Jonas Brothers fame, and designer John Varvatos, backed by the Stoli Group. It comes in three variations — silver, reposado, and añejo — made with blue weber agave from both the highland and lowland regions of Jalisco, Mexico that is sustainably sourced. It’s a smooth sipper in a handsome bottle designed by Varvatos that ends on a fruity note.

12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Yeni Raki
12 Bottles for New Year's Eve 2020: Yeni Raki

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Yeni Raki, $22.95

Raki, or Lion’s Milk, is Turkey’s signature drink, and it’s not for the faint of heart. It is distilled with grapes and aniseed and turns white when mixed with water. Spirits with a concentrated aniseed flavor like Raki in Turkey, Sambuca in Italy, Pastis in France and Ouzo in Greece all carry the strong flavor of a fiery hot black licorice. This is probably the one that burns with the brightest, warmest flame. In a year where we couldn’t travel, maybe the bottle for you is one that will bring you a taste of the culture and traditions of another land.

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