From royal favourites to drinks that celebrate history, learn which countries offer the crème de la crème when it comes to a stiff drink. Forget flashy cocktails and suspiciously colourful shots, this investigation will reveal the places to enjoy the world’s highest quality liquors to their best advantage.
Tres Cuatro Cinco Tequila
To experience the best tequila in the world, head to Jalisco, credited as the birthplace of tequila. This Mexican state is famous for the many distilleries that produce high end tequila. Within Jalisco you can visit the town of – you guessed it – Tequila, where you can dive in to the local culture by partaking in tequila tastings.
La Tequileña distillery is one of the largest in the town. Established in 1912 and currently owned by the Fonesca family, La Tequileña uses agaves from the highlands, and has the largest collection of barrels in Jalisco.
One of the distillery’s most exceptional offerings is Tres Cuatro Cinco, a blend of tequilas aged for three, four and five years. There were only 1000 bottles made, each signed by artist Alonso Gonzalez Jr. and ringing in at approximately $370 a bottle.
Join a tasting tour and succumb to the rich flavours of the tequila and the swelling strains of the town’s famous mariachi music. Let these authentic experiences transport you back to the times of passionate romance and gunslingers in the gorgeous landscape of the Tequila highlands.
Appleton Estate 50 Year Jamaica Independence Reserve Rum
Just before Jamaica achieved independence in 1962, barrels of rum from the Appleton Estate were set aside to one day be drunk in celebration of the country’s 50th year of independence. As of 2012 the rum has been released as promised; just 800 bottles of perfectly smooth, sweet rum that was well worth the wait for those with a spare $6000.
The rich and complex flavours of the world’s oldest barrel-aged rum are best experienced in Nevis, a small Caribbean island forming part of the West Indies. Stay at the luxury Four Seasons Resort, a little known jewel of the West Indies, where you can enjoy the world glass golf, outdoor spa treatments, and visit the 101 Rums Bar, a lounge with an extensive selection of Caribbean rums. It is one of the only places in the world that sells Independence Reserve Rum by the glass, for a mere $685 a pop.
The Caribbean views, dreamy beaches and endearing locals will charm any traveller and provide the ideal setting for appreciating this exceptional rum. Sit back and let the creamy, zesty flavours complete the final piece in a picture of tropical bliss.
Kors is considered by many to be the most luxurious vodka in the world. Made with water from the Italian Alps, hand selected grains from 12 countries, and distilled with a complex method involving diamonds and golden tubes, you would think that the quality of the product alone ensures its impressive status. As it happens, the history of Kors is even more extraordinary.
Kors was created under the direction of Russian Tsar Nicholas II, known for his impeccable taste in vodka. The Tsar sent a consignment of this ‘perfect’ vodka and its recipe to his cousin, King George V, which was scheduled to travel to England from the distillery in Finland. The batch never reached Buckingham Palace and was believed to be lost, until it was discovered over a century later at a little Finnish farmstead accompanied by full instructions of the distilling process. Nobody knows how this came to be, but the ‘Tsar’s Vodka’ was recreated and reintroduced to the world and is now available for those with a particularly refined palate.
As it is such exclusive vodka – priced between $12,500 and $24,500 – there are regrettably no tastings open to the public, but for those craving the royal treatment there is a way. Kors offers a VIP membership to those who purchase a limited edition Kors Vodka. This will grant you access to their extravagant, A-list events all around the globe where private tastings are held with elaborate parties to match. If you are a lover of fine vodka and deluxe travel experiences, apply for the membership and find yourself whisked away to glamourous events in exotic destinations with a glass of luxury vodka waiting for you wherever you go.
Krug Vintage Brut
If champagne is your ultimate drink of choice then it is difficult to go past the vintage 1988 Krug Brut. The Krug family has a rich history of creating quality champagne in the House of Krug since 1843. Joseph Krug revolutionised champagne with blends that enabled a high quality bottle to be made and drank all year rather than just in the fruitful seasons, and this technique has enabled the production of quality champagne in even the most barren years.
Take a trip to the original house in a guided tour and enjoy the champagne as it was intended, in the very building it was created in. The Krug family believe that good champagne should be enjoyed with good music, and there’s a musical experience tailored to each cuvée. For the vintage champagnes the artists that frequent the House of Krug such as Jacky Terrasson – internationally renowned jazz pianist – and Gregory Porter – critically acclaimed singer-songwriter – recommend the fresh, eloquent ‘Vision’ by Keith Jarret and the emotionally dense jazz piece ‘But Beautiful’ by Bill Evans respectively. The house regularly has live performers to accompany your drinking experience, as well as providing food pairings in their luxury restaurant.
Sit back with your gourmet glass of bubbly and let the ambience and history of the House of Krug wash over you with a wake of nostalgia for the 1920s France, an era known for rip-roaring French parties and fountains of champagne. Let it take you back further to the late 19th century and imagine the excitement and livelihood linked to the history of the house and the revolutionary nature of blended champagne.
Journey to the Scottish Highlands to experience this brand of whisky in all its exquisite forms. With prices ranging from $100 to $28,990 and blends spanning from Sherry Oak to Double Cask, the entire brand is luxurious enough to make this list.
An especially fine bottle is the 1972 Fine & Rare Single Cask coming in at the top of the price range. Only 128 bottles were produced of this extraordinary drink, and cannot be bought by the glass in Scotland. This whisky is more likely to be kept than drunk, though it would be an utterly unforgettable experience to enjoy a glass on a Scottish moor in the Highlands. You can visit their distillery visitor centre in Craigellachie where you can book a tour and tasting for approximately $25 and immerse yourself in the history of this high quality whisky.
Enjoy a glass of Macallan whisky at Craigellachie Hotel, where you can kick back at The Quaich bar amidst the welcoming decor of rich wood and leather.