The countdown to Christmas is most definitely on and what better way to share the festive magic than supporting local with your boozy buys?
Whether you’re a super organised Christmas shopper or a last-minute shop dasher, here is some gift inspiration to suit even the most difficult to buy for friends and family who like a sip or two of the good stuff. And if you’re buying for yourself, here’s how to have a very well stocked cocktail cabinet and wine rack – all while supporting our wonderful local indies.
Get into the Spirit
Specialist liquor store and independent retailer Tipples of Manchester is a hidden gem on Lloyd Street filled with an eclectic mix of delicious booze, from gin and vodka to whiskey and wine – all proudly selected with expert knowledge and a great deal of care and attention. Tipples also offer a ‘sip before you spend’ service to ensure you love what you buy, and their gifts are sustainable too as everything is recyclable.
Indie owners Greg Adams and Thomas Pedley have put together a unique range of gifting boxes to get customers into the festive ‘spirit’. These include an exclusive selection of either Manchester Gin or Rockstar Rums (both £21) which features five different flavours along with a fact sheet and tasting notes.
Tipples offer over 25 core tasting kits as well as an ever-changing selection of limited-edition gifts for the more discerning drinker. Each box includes five 30ml bottles of your chosen spirit, accompanied by tasting notes plus the option to add a personalised message. You can also buy a bottle of Tipples’ own branded gin - A Christmas Tipple (£33) with cinnamon, ginger and bitter. Suggested serve with ginger ale, as a cocktail, or enjoy it hot.
All this can be purchased both in-store and online, with next working day delivery available. Visit www.tipplesmcr.co.uk to see their full product selection.
A Rum Do
Witch Kings Rum, an adventurous Manchester-based spirits brand, has unveiled an exciting new coffee rum liqueur, Antimatter. The small-batch coffee rum liqueur has been ethically created in Ancoats in collaboration with Factory Coffee MCR. The dark and sultry concoction makes the perfect Espresso Martini, coffee-based cocktails or can even be enjoyed on its own over ice.
Witch Kings Rum takes the finest pure single rum from Ninefold Distillery, and combines this with flavour infusions to create complex rum liqueurs full of magically balanced flavours. The enchanting Antimatter Coffee Rum Liqueur is a blend of Witch Kings Rum with beautifully sweet hits of Factory Coffee MCR's signature blend. These are sourced from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, the Jinotega region in northern Nicaragua and the birthplace of coffee itself, Ethiopia. It’s well balanced and beautifully sweet, roasted by North Star Coffee Roasters in Leeds, a smooth and rounded coffee with notes of toasted nuts, caramel, stone fruit and milk chocolate.
Witch Kings Rum liqueurs combine a bohemian spirit of adventure with a celebration of life, music, nature and wilderness. The Manchester brand was founded in 2020 and has hosted a number of successful rum cocktail bars and live music pop ups. Alongside Antimatter Coffee Rum Liqueur, the Witch Kings Rum range consists of Bohemian Dreams - Blueberry, Pineapple & Mint, Sunset Solstice - Peach, Ginger & Lime and Fires of the Wild - Strawberry, Chilli & Lemon. All are available to purchase directly from the Witch Kings Rum website for RRP £30.
Let the festivities Be-GIN
Fancy trying something new? N/Q London Dry Gin is the first small batch spirit to be released by the newly formed Northern Quarter Liquor Company. The gin has been made with ten botanicals including grapefruit, sweet orange, lemon and green cardamom giving it juniper and citrus flavours. You can find it in independent outlets and food halls across the city centre and beyond, as well as direct from nqliquor.co.uk at £36.95 for a 70cl bottle.
Paul Greetham, the founder of Beatnikz Republic Brewing Co., the award-winning local craft brewery is behind The Northern Quarter Liquor Co. “I’ve always been inspired by the vibrancy, youthfulness and individuality of the Northern Quarter,” he says. “In addition to the brewery, I also opened the Beatnikz Republic NQ Bar the corner of Tariff and Dale Street on in 2018 so I’m able to really understand the style and culture of the area – contemporary, modern and always evolving. We want the Northern Quarter Liquor Co. to be known as the alternative indie liquor from Manchester. Our branding is modern and bold, which perfectly fits the Northern Quarter ethos of confidence, ambition and creativity – our gin is a tribute to such a hugely iconic area of the city.”
N/Q LONDON DRY GIN is the first product but they’re planning to release a range of different drinks soon, including an N/Q Jamaican Funk Rum and their N/Q Single Grain Vodka plus innovative canned cocktails and hard seltzers for the summer.
What about the wine?
Earlier this year, we told you about Ad Hoc, the Northern Quarter’s new wine shop on Edge Street (read more HERE). It has a huge selection of carefully chosen wines and fizz from all over the world perfect for gifting glugging. They even stock a range of Magnums big enough to share at the dinner table as well as an interesting selection of port and after dinner drinks.
Just have a chat with Miles Burke and Charlie Heyes who run the place and let them know about your budget, any food matching requirements and what you’re looking for and they’ll make sure to find what you’re after. They also sell an incredible range of interesting beers and ciders from brewers far and wide including a small selection of low ABV and non-alcoholic beers if you’re the designated driver. Across the top shelves, you’ll find a great selection of spirits including vermouths, gins, rums, vodkas and more so you’ll have all you need to knock up your favourite drink at home. If you’d prefer to leave the shaking and stirring to the professionals, you can buy a can of Pocket Negroni or an Old Fashioned.
Another fantastic independent local wine specialists is Salut which offers a selection of over 400 wines from their city centre shop on Cooper Street. Salut have put together a range of Christmas hampers (ranging from £49-£125) with nationwide delivery and they also offer gift cards. There’s nothing stopping you from taking the weight off your feet and sitting in for a glass or two while you’re there too...
Reserve Wines have stores at Mackie Mayor and Altrincham Market as well as a shop on Burton Road in West Didsbury where you can discover a great selection of red, white and sparkling wines along with Port, fine wines and rare vintages. They also sell mixed cases for varying budgets and gift boxes of wines which come presented in a wooden box. You can order in store or online.
Cheers for beers
We recently discovered that The Epicurean, which already has three stores across Greater Manchester, has now opened its first city centre beer shop in Ancoats. The brand is famous locally for its vast collection of carefully selected bottles and cans as well as the staff’s expert knowledge on all things beer. They now have a range of Christmas gifts and stocking fillers to suit all tastes and budgets.
These range from branded tote bags (£5) and glasses (£4.50) all the way up to the exclusive limited edition The Epicurean Beer People & Friends - 12 Beers of Christmas (£60.) This is an exciting collaborative adventure with 10 fantastic local breweries including Track, Pomona Island, Cloudwater, Runaway/Squawk, Beatniks and others. The 11th Beer is an Epicurean Beer People Staff pick and the 12th Beer a customer competition winner pick. All gift boxes come with tasting notes and there’s an option to add a gift message. Buy online or in store.
-------------------Like this? Then read: EAT WELL AND DO GOOD WITH AMAZING LOCAL XMAS HAMPERS AND A SERIES OF VERY SPECIAL DINNERS