It makes sense that Mother’s Day gift ideas tend to go in a flowery direction. The holiday falls in the height of spring, amid all the pastels, blossoms and vernal whatnot. However, with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day just a month apart, it’s more than a tad insulting that when it comes to booze gift ideas, all the lavish whisky promotions are aimed at fathers, and all the flowery wine and foofy cocktail ideas that are the equivalent of those Elmer’s Glue macaroni spray paint art projects are targeted at moms. Your mama has been through a lot. She deserves a real drink, not some sissy swill! So when it comes to her special day, doesn’t being a mom count for earning a baller whisky gift too?
There are plenty of whisky-loving mothers out there, and this is a great season for every category of the spirit. Here are some suggestions in a range of price points and styles for sharing a Mother’s Day dram:
Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Decades: Each whiskey in the Master’s Keep series, a side project from distiller Eddie Russell, has become among the most anticipated to come out of the bourbon landscape. For this second release, Russell tapped stocks of some of the rarest and most coveted barrels in the warehouse. It’s made from a blend of 10 – 20 year old bourbons, the ages mothers understand to be some of the most formative years in life, when true personalities come to the surface. The dry, oaky character of the more mature whiskies plays off the bright sweetness of the younger elements like a good buddy movie. 52% ABV, $150
Inchmurrin Madeira Cask Finish: It’s a little confusing, but Inchmurrin is the name of a style of single malt that’s produced at Loch Lomond as part of its Island Collection. This one, which won gold in the 2017 Berlin International Spirits Competition, is made from cask selections of whisky matured in ex-bourbon barrels that are then married together in casks that formerly held Portuguese Madeira wine. The result is an elegant, creamy Scotch with a faint puff of smoke and a finish that tastes a bit like Fig Newtons dipped in chocolate. 46% ABV, $68.
Balblair 1990: Balblair is a uniquely different Highland Scotch in that this distillery only releases vintages of its best whiskies. Depending on how old you are, you might even be lucky enough to snag a bottle from your birth year to impress your mother (incidentally, the year is not a definitive age statement, rather the year the whisky was barreled). If that vintage isn’t an option, one of their best releases of late is the 1990, 2nd release. It was aged in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry, resulting in a fruity whisky with a pleasant touch of spice and nuts. 45% ABV, $140 (price for other vintages around $50 and up)
Kinahan’s Irish Whiskey 10 Year Single Malt: Fun story – each bottle of Kinahan’s (full name Lord Lieutenant Kinahan’s) is marked with an “L.L.” as a reminder of the days when the Lord Lieutenant marked his favorite whiskey barrels for private use. If you’re mother is into Irish Whiskey, then you should mark one of these bottles just for her. Aged 10 years, this whiskey has rich, toasty flavors for a relaxing sipping experience. 46% ABV, $59
Nikka Whisky Miyagikyo Single Malt and 12 Year Single Malt: These gorgeous whiskies hail from the second Nikka distillery in Japan, located in the in the mountains of Sendai. They are distilled with indirect steam heat, allowing the delicate flavors of the grain to shine. The no age statement whisky is lightly peated, so expect a slight puff of smoke mingled layers of dried fruit and bittersweet chocolate. The 12 year has some additional nuances from the more pronounced contact with ex-bourbon casks. Note: the 12 Year Old has been discontinued, so only bottles left in the wild are available. Both 45% ABV, NAS $79, 12 Year $119
Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Manhattan Rye: Over the years, Tuthilltown has experimented with different expressions, flavors and finishes, but this classic always delivers (it even recently won a silver medal in the 2016 NY International Spirits Competition). Your mom put up with your attitude for years, but she won’t mind an assertive whiskey for sipping or cocktails! Plus, once the cute 375 mL bottle is empty, it makes an awesome vessel for flower arrangements or other centerpieces. 46% ABV, $49
Amanda Schuster is the Senior Editor in Chief of Alcohol Professor and the author of NEW YORK COCKTAILs available from Cider Mill Press. Certified sommelier, former retail spirits and wine buyer - she likes to think of herself as "bi-spiritual." Please don't ever offer her a Pickleback. Complete bio here.