Wine & Spirits — Essential Spirits for an Unusual Season

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What to drink during a holiday season intersected by a pandemic? A number of our favorite bottles to give and serve this year happen to be made by people who’ve worked behind the bar or retail counter. Because 2020 has also been the year of the passion project, after all.


Scotland’s tradition of independent bottlers, who source casks from distilleries around the country, didn’t have a true US counterpart until Lost Lantern launched this fall. Led by husband-and-wife team Adam Polonski and Nora Ganley-Roper, who hail, respectively, from the worlds of spirits journalism and retail, its inaugural release is a blend of single malts from six US distilleries. There’s the cereal quality found in Pacific Northwest whiskeys, and a whiff of smoke from the mesquite wood used in Santa Fe. “We wanted it to taste American,” says Ganley-Roper. The mingling of salted shortbread, oak spice and milk chocolate doesn’t suggest anywhere else.

52.5% abv; $120/750ml