Jacqueline Sainsbury - October 21st, 2013
As a kid, you might have delighted in the tradition of Advent calendars to mark the days during the Christmas season. As an adult, you might turn to something a bit more potent than milk chocolates shaped like Santa just to get through the holidays. Thankfully, some bright soul has brought together the joyful anticipation stirred up by an Advent calendar with the spirit of festivities stirred up by, er..., spirits: it's the Ginvent and Whisky Advent Calendars.
The idea began in 2011 with a 3' by 5' box, covered in botanical illustrations, festively propped up behind a bar with 25 bottles of gin stashed behind 25 doors. The Gin Foundry (formerly known as The Gin Blog) wanted to celebrate their first anniversary with something a little outrageous and a lot of fun, so the Ginvent came into being November 30, taking up residence in London's Graphic Bar in Soho—home to the gin-worshiping Juniper Club, and supposedly the most extensive gin collection in the UK. When revealed, each bottle was given away to that day's Twitter contest winner, while one lucky enthusiast won the entire lot of 25 gins on Boxing Day.
It was a hit with customers and Twitter followers alike, and in 2012, The Gin Blog started working with Master of Malt (a U.K.–based award-winning online retailer for consumer and trade) to create a more portable version for enthusiasts to enjoy a wide variety of samples at home.
Master of Malt turned to their subdivision, Drinks By The Dram (the team responsible for creating 30 ml drams so customers can sample, say, a 50 year old Speyside), to build both gin and whisky versions with samples dipping into Master of Malt's vast expanse of spirits inventory.
This year, in a new addition to the line, the Craft Ginvent Calendar, one might find a nip of Filliers Dry Gin 28 from Belgium, St. George Dry Rye gin from California, and Professor Cornelius Ampleforth's Bathtub Gin from England. Rare Ayrshire 37 year old, Seven Islands, and Tomintoul 33 year old are among the limited edition whiskies likely to show up in the other newcomer, the Premium Whisky Advent Calendar (although, due to the limited quantities of rare whisky bottlings, the selection is likely to vary).
While it may seem a bit preemptive to begin thinking about Christmas presents, last year's stock sold out during the seasonal rush. If you miss out for December 1, however, fret not—the calendar is available year-round and makes for a very popular (almost) month-long birthday, anniversary, restaurant opening, get well (right?), or just because gift for friends, family, staff, or self. Cheers, cin-cin, sláinte!
FInd more information at MasterofMalt.com.