The Ten Best Boozy Advent Calendars of 2021

Our boozy advent calendars will get you in the holiday spirit

© Shutterstock

advent-calendar

Our boozy advent calendars will get you in the holiday spirit

© Shutterstock

1. 24 Days of Rum

One for the inquisitive rum fan in your life. Each door contains a 20ml sample of rum, carefully selected by Danish rum specialist 1423; but don’t just expect the classics: this is a truly global tour. Alongside familiar sources such as Jamaica and Martinique, the calendar’s creators have unearthed examples from less obvious corners of the globe, including Australia, Germany, Thailand and Peru.

Each calendar comes with two glasses and tasting notes so you can keep a record of your favourites. From 1 December a dedicated website goes live, offering the chance to share thoughts on the selection, rate your favourites, ask questions and learn more about the intriguing array of producers in this adventurous selection.

You can get the calendars from various retailers, including Amazon, Master of Malt, Zeewijck and Rum Exchange.  


2. Quevedo Port

Port and Christmas are a perfect seasonal combination. This clever product from the family-owned Quevedo port house is a fun way to familiarise yourself with this category’s broad stylistic spectrum. Two different options are available: standard or prestige. The standard version contains 24 x 50ml bottles, showcasing Quevedo ports including Dry White, LBV 2013, 20 Year Old Tawny and Colheita 2000.

Alternatively, upgrade yourself to the prestige calendar, whose 24 x 90ml bottles slide out of a specially made, limited edition wooden cabinet. Each bottle carries a QR code taking you to a short video by Oscar Quevedo explaining more about the port in your glass. Treats include the Quevedo Colheita 1994, 30 Year Old White, 40 Year Old Tawny and Vintage 2019. What better gift for your favourite Port aficionado. 

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3. 67 Pall Mall

The expert team of sommeliers at wine-centric private members club 67 Pall Mall has put together a real vinous Advent treat. Beautifully presented in a replica of the club’s London headquarters, the calendar houses 24 doors, each containing a 75ml miniature. A QR code on each bottle takes you to a video featuring Ronan Sayburn MS, who will guide you through the wine. There are no clues on the contents of this calendar, but you can be sure they’ll be special.

If you’d rather focus on a specific fine wine region, then the club has also recruited Burgundy expert Jasper Morris MW and Bordeaux authority Jane Anson to put together their own calendar. Again, each bottle comes with a video link and there are no spoilers for the treat behind each door, other than the Bordeaux version’s tempting tease that “on 24th December, we close Advent with a glass of one of the finest Bordeaux wines of all time…” Tantalising.

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4. Drinks by the Dram

The established name in spirited Advent calendars, Drinks by the Dram is back with its usual host of festive season treats. Whether your penchant is for gin, vodka, bourbon, Japanese whisky or simply the finest Scotch, there’s an attractively presented option to suit.

Try the Premium Gin calendar for a mix of familiar classics such as Tanqueray No. 10 alongside more niche discoveries including Four Pillars Olive Leaf Gin from Australia’s Yarra Valley and Conker Spirit Port Barrel Gin from Dorset in the UK. However the ultimate treat has to be the Old & Rare Whiskey calendar, its 30ml offerings including precious samples of Bunnahabhain 40 Year Old, Glenfarclas 25 Year Old, Talisker 41 Year Old 1978 Bodega Series 2 and several secret surprises.

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5. Aldi

International discount retailer Aldi is offering a variety of wallet-friendly gourmet advent calendars this year. Ease yourself into the Christmas spirit with the wine version, each door concealing a red, white or rosé miniature. The precise contents vary according to market, with the UK calendar featuring well known French brands JP Chenet and Calvet, while the US calendar leans naturally towards Californian offerings.

Fancy something to go with the wine? Then pair it with Aldi’s cheese themed Advent calendar. For 2021 the retailer’s ever-expanding range also includes sparkling wine, beer and gin versions. As ever with Aldi though, stocks are limited and word gets out quickly so you’ll need to be quick off the mark.

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6. Costco

Not to be outdone by its rival Aldi, wholesaler Costco is tempting customers with a wine calendar too. This one is more international in its sourcing, featuring wines from South Africa to Hungary, Greece, Portugal and, of course, France. In total you’ll receive 24 wines, each in a generous half-bottle format, so perfect for sharing. From 1 December you can visit a dedicated website to learn more about each wine.

More of a beer fan? Then you’ll be pleased to hear that Costco is also offering a “Brewer’s Advent Calendar”, packed with an adventurous spread of German beers. Each of the 500ml cans comes from a privately owned brewery, with styles ranging from pale bock to weizen, pilsner, pale ale and even a smoked beer. Costco customers in the UK can also taste their way through a similarly adventurous gin version.

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7. Freixenet & Divine

Combine a love of fizz and chocolate with this indulgent collaboration between sparkling wine specialist Freixenet and Fairtrade chocolate company Divine. Each calendar contains 12 x 200ml bottles of wine and 12 x 35g chocolates.

Try the fresh and fruity Freixenet Prosecco DOC or the red berry flavours of the Freixenet Cordon Rosado Cava. Meanwhile that chocolate fix covers the full spectrum from creamy white to smooth dark via a suitably festive orange flavoured milk chocolate expression. One to be enjoyed in your comfiest slippers with favourite Christmas tunes turned up as loud as the neighbours will allow.

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8. Fortnum’s Feasting

Eat, drink and be very merry indeed with this gourmet Advent calendar from luxury food emporium Fortnum & Mason. There really is something for every type of foodie here: Marc de Champagne chocolate truffles, fig preserve, caramelised nuts, Dungeness wood sage honey, Victoria Grey tea biscuits, Piccadilly piccalilli – and that’s before you get to the boozy options.

Tuck into a miniature bottle of Champagne, Ling heather honey gin, chocolate & chestnut liqueur or English framboise. Soup, salad and that gym membership can wait until January.

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9. Fever Tree Gin & Tonic

We have Fever Tree tonic to thank for alerting the world’s G&T lovers to the importance of pairing your spirit with a good quality mixer. Now the upmarket tonic brand has launched its own Advent calendar, offering a sample-sized opportunity to expand your gin and mixer horizons still further.

The 12 x 150ml tonic bottles all come from Fever Tree’s extensive range, covering the brand’s classic Premium Indian Tonic Water right through to alternative flavours such as elderflower, clementine and Mediterranean – there’s even a ginger ale in there. These are accompanied by 12 x 50ml bottles of specially selected gins, whose botanicals will complement your tonic of choice. Options include Chase Pink Grapefruit & Pomelo, The Botanist Islay Dry Gin, Sipsmith and Audemus Spirits Pink Pepper Gin. Who knew a simple G&T could be so exciting?

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10. Kalea Beer

If you want to drum up some Christmas spirit then there’s nowhere more festive to spend December than Germany or Austria. The famous Christmas markets spring up, the scent of mulled spices fills the air and decorative lights bring cheer to the dark, freezing streets. It’s no surprise that Advent calendars trace their history to this corner of the world and Salzburg-based beer specialist Kalea has built a proud reputation for its modern-day contribution.

There’s something here for every school of beer enthusiast: the Brewer’s Advent Calendar features 24 cans of speciality German beers, but you can refine your focus with the Bavarian-themed calendar or branch out more internationally with the Belgian version. There’s even a “Bad Santa” selection. Whichever you choose, don’t forget to visit the company’s website, which from 1 December will host a live video presentation for each beer by the brewmasters themselves.

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