12 best alcoholic advent calendars for Christmas 2019: Gin, wine, whisky and beer
‘Tis the season to be jolly, so swap conventional chocolate for a daily tipple
What better way to start feeling festive than with a daily treat of your favourite tipple. Our thirst for boozy advent calendars has shown no signs of slowing down and this year brands have outdone themselves, launching exclusive new flavours and limited editions to whet our appetite.
Gin undoubtedly reigns supreme – we could have written an entire roundup on this alone – but that’s not the only holy spirit available. There are also rum, vodka and whisky creations as well as all wine and beer calendars to tempt you. Can’t decide? Choose one that mixes up categories to keep you on your toes throughout December.
Whether you’re a fan of a specific spirit or keen to broaden your horizons and get your chops around artisan, boutique brands, we’ve found the best of the best.
Before making your selection, do note that some of these calendars only have 12 doors, with others treating you to the full 25. Other things to consider before handing over your cash is where you’re going to house your calendar – some take up a considerable amount of room, especially important if you’re planning on transporting it or giving as a gift.
The best advent calendars always sell out fast, so if you’re keen to count down with us, it’s best to buy your favourite ASAP.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
That Boutique-y Gin Company advent calendar: £49.95, Master of Malt
Forget your bog-standard fruit-infused gin, That Boutique-y Gin Company is well known for always pushing the boundaries of what can be infused with gin. Over half of this calendar is packed with completely new flavours for 2019, including the bonkers sounding fresh rain gin, the invigorating cold-brew coffee gin and the deliciously savoury smoked rosemary gin. The other half features the brand’s bestsellers like moonshot gin (with botanicals actually sent into space, including real moon rock), spit-roasted pineapple and yuletide gin made with gold, frankincense and myrrh. With 24 drams included, we think this represents great value.
Virgin Wines advent calendar: £69.99, Virgin Wines
We were smitten with last year’s Virgin wine calendar so imagine our delight when we found out this year the company is giving us the option of all red, all white or the original mixed version as well as a beer and gin one. As in previous years, the selection is made up of 24 of Virgin’s highest-rated wines, made into miniature form. The packaging has been updated though, this time looking like a giant gift box – which let’s face it, it is. This one’s sold out fast year after year, so we suggest getting in there early if you’re going to be in with a chance of waking up to a daily vino.
Adnams 12 days of Christmas box: £59.99, Adnams
For those that simply can’t make up their mind, the Adnams advent calendar offers 12 miniatures from across its range, including gin, beer and wine. Each of the draws contains a new miniature from the Suffolk-based brewery and distillery – with no repeats. You’ll get to try its aromatic copper house gin which was voted best gin at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2017, as well as a couple of variations on the good ol’ G&T in a can. Wine wise there’s a juicy Argentinian malbec, a sauvignon blanc from New Zealand’s infamous Marlborough region and even a mini bottle of prosecco. The other half of the box is comprised of the best of the brand’s brewery – with lagers, ciders and pale ales waiting to be found. However, do note, there are just 12 treats, not the full 24!
Fever Tree gin & tonic advent calendar: £60, Waitrose
If Fever Tree is your tonic of choice, this is the perfect opportunity to mix and match your G’s to your T’s. The pretty floral calendar alternates between 12 mini bottles of gin and one of five different 150ml cans of tonic water, leaving you to decide what would work best with the brand’s Mediterranean, cucumber, elderflower or classic styles. We were impressed with the gin selection which included both flavoured varieties such as Slingsby gooseberry, Caorunn raspberry and Warner Edwards rhubarb, as well as straight-up Salcombe, Sipsmith and more.
Cambridge Distillery 12 days of outstanding gin advent calendar: £99.99, Cambridge Distillery
Having gained a legion of fans over the years, the team at Cambridge Distillery felt it was about time they created their own version of a gin calendar which is completely new for 2019. And we’re pleased to say it was worth the wait. Despite only having 12 drawers to open, the calendar is beautifully designed, with fabric tabs revealing the likes of truffle gin, lemon verbena gin and lady grey and marmalade – perfect for those breakfast cocktails you’ll no doubt be rustling up over Christmas. As an added extra, you’ll also receive a new Cambridge Distillery branded gin glass to enjoy your haul from.
Drinks by the Dram vodka explorer advent calendar: £99.95, Master of Malt
Although Drinks by the Dram has had vodka options in its range before, this “explorer” version is brand new for 2019. Each window reveals a different wax-sealed dram from around the world, with 17 brand new ones (compared to last year’s vodka advent calendar). Highlights include Kent’s own Chapel Down chardonnay vodka, Chase marmalade vodka and the super cool St George California citrus vodka with fruit grown in the golden state.
Skylark Spirits 24 Days of rum advent calendar: £79.99, Amazon
The perfect treat for your rum-loving other half, this calendar is designed to share with two tasting glasses, two tasting notebooks and a website where you can discover a lot more about the 24 day’s worth of rum. With contents worth over £150, highlights include the Deadhead dark chocolate rum from Mexico, Chairman’s Reserve forgotten casks from St Lucia and the Fijian 8-year-old rum liquor. With rum continuing to gain momentum in the UK, this is one way of discovering more unusual styles and brushing up on your knowledge in the process.
Beer Hawk craft beer ADVENTure calendar: £59.99, Beer Hawk
You’ll need to clear some space for this whopper of a calendar, packed to the brim with a selection of 24 cans and bottles worth over £80 in total. Promising a Beer “ADVENTure”, Beer Hawk has included treats spanning 14 different countries, including Copenhagen’s Mikkeller, Norway’s Amundsen, Belgium’s Bosteels and Thornbridge from here in the UK. So whether you like your IPA or your lager, your wheat beer or a super festive Christmas ale, you’ll find it inside. And if it’s a gift the brand will wrap it up to look like a speaker, to throw them off the scent.
Chase twelve festive spirits: £50, Chase Distillery
In what is quite the Christmas miracle, Chase Distillery has managed to turn ugly potatoes into a whole range of craft vodkas, gins and liqueurs, all presented in miniature form behind 12 elegant drawers. Ensuring there are no repeats, the British distillery has included 12 different multi-award-winning spirits, including its own flavoured varieties which are perfect for cocktails. Highlights include Chase’s pink grapefruit gin, smoked vodka and elderflower liqueur.
Jack Daniel’s holiday calendar: £50, Asda
If you’re a Jack Daniel’s mega fan, this calendar is for you. Featuring mini’s from across the whole JD range, interspersed with cocktail paraphernalia such as a jigger and shot glass, it gives you an excuse to enjoy a warming tot of whiskey during the winter months. Returning for 2019, flavours include the original Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey, as well as a honey-flavoured version, the cinnamon flecked fire, super smooth Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee rye and Jack Daniel’s single barrel.
M&S gins of Christmas advent calendar: £100, M&S
Presented behind a chic navy blue and gold door, inside are 24 drawers concealing minis, along with an extra-large drawer for Christmas day where you’ll be treated to two! Featuring M&S’ own brand gins, it has teamed up with Edinburgh Gin who has provided the rest, including its seasonal Christmas and seaside flavours. Alongside the full-strength minis, you’ll also find flavoured liqueurs and sloe gin. Most are repeated but with ten unique flavours it shouldn’t feel too repetitive.
First4hampers seven day fizz countdown calendar: £39.99, First4hampers
Christmas can feel like such an anti-climax after endless months of build-up. Which is why we’re recommending this seven-day countdown to New Year’s Eve. In our opinion that lull in festivities is the perfect excuse to crack open a daily bottle of fizz. Including two mini bottles of cava and five types of prosecco, including rose styles, it’s the perfect gift Christmas gift.
The verdict: Alcoholic advent calendars of 2019
Providing excellent value for money, we never tired of seeing what bonkers flavour was behind each of the 24 doors of That Boutique-y Advent Company. If wine is more your thing, you can’t beat Virgin Wines advent calendar which can now be tailored to your preferences with all white, red or mixed cases available.
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