A selection of winter warmers from across the pond

    The best American whiskeys to drink this Christmas

    1 December 2016

    Yee, and indeed ha, this has been quite the year for the Americans, and who better to bid us tidings of peace and joy than President Donald Trump. The jolly, chunky commander-in-chief puts in a cameo appearance in one of our favourite festive films, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Less amusing is Trump’s ambition for protectionism and global trade dealing. We might get less of those gosh darn Nikey sneakers (made in Asia) and rootin’ tootin’ Oreo ‘sandwich cookies’ (made in the UK), and we’d certainly lament any shrinking of American whiskey stocks.

    Bourbon in particular has been striking a chord with drinkers in the last year and is an increasingly popular choice at the British bar. By law it must be made with at least 50% corn in the mash bill and aged in new American oak, a production process that rounds off rough edges and produces a sweeter spirit that’s easier on the untrained palate than Scotch or Irish whiskey.

    If only for its name, Wild Turkey makes a useful yuletide recommendation, and while we Brits tend to opt for goose for our din dins, the Wild Turkey Rare Breed bourbon (£50.95, Whisky Exchange) is a lovely drop to enjoy as you contemplate America’s fate ahead of 2017. A blend of six to 12-year-old bourbons, this is bottled at barrel proof, so at 56.5% is pokey stuff, but the balance of fire and spice from the wood and alcohol with the mellow vanilla and caramel that develops during maturation, is fantastic. Certainly one to gobble up.

    Another worthy gift under the tree would be Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 year old (£49.95, Master of Malt). The West Virginian bourbon has nice dose of rye in the mash bill to counter the corn and brings in some additional spice.

    Meanwhile if you’d like a little extra spicy bite in the whiskey, we suggest the Pikesville 6 year old 110 proof Straight Rye (£79.95, Whisky Exchange). While bourbon leads with corn, rye whiskey has, as the name suggests, rye as the dominant grain in the mash bill and so the spirit delivers more heat, cinnamon and liquorice.

    The Thinking Drinkers will be providing audiences with five free drinks during performances of their acclaimed comedy show Around the World in 80 Drinks at London’s Museum of Comedy until December 23. For tickets head to