Thursday, 11 December 2014

The Gift That Keeps On Giving: Top Drinks Subscription Gifts

Are you still struggling for gift ideas for a boozy beloved this Christmas? Seriously? After all the ideas we've thrown your way from the beer gift guide, the gin gift guide and the cocktail gift guide to name but a few? I'm kidding, we love finding all these new things to bring to you beautiful people.

Everyone talks about gifts that keep on giving but this is usually in reference to some form of sentimental satisfaction that it brings. But what about gifts that physically keep on giving? Welcome to the world of subscriptions!

There are quite a few services out there offering all kinds of different packages on a monthly basis and I've whittled it down to my super seven.

The Grape Club

A rather wonderful and new little organisation offering you four splendid bottles of wine every month for £45 (and that INCLUDES delivery!)

These aren't just any old bottles - they are carefully selected, memorable bottles that you simply will not find on supermarket shelves.

Each month is themed, too - for instance, September was the 'Organic month' with delicious torrontes and a splendid merlot-petit verdot blend among others, and November's delivery marked the World War One centenary with some exceptional French offerings.

These aren't just 'once in a lifetime' wines, though, as if you fall head over heels with one you can buy some more from it from The Grape Club guys at a 15% discount! Winner!

Taste Cocktails

More into your cocktails than wines? Well then have a gander at Taste Cocktails (formerly known as Twist cocktails when we wrote about them earlier this year). For a very reasonable £24.99 a month you'll receive all the major ingredients for the cocktail of the month along with recipes and all manner of fun facts.

You get enough ingredients for up to six drinks - this month, for instance, it's a Winter Warmers box which gives you the booze you need to make hot buttered rum, a chai spiced toddy and some spiced apple cider.

I was pretty chuffed by the look of the negroni and americano box they did a couple of months ago, too...

Best Of British Beer's Beer Club

Offering a few different options for every hop head out there, Best of British Beer gives you the choice of the finest beer this fair isle has to offer for £37.50 a month, or the finest craft beer this fair isle has to offer for £24 a month.

Or, if you want to wrap up a year's worth of gifts in one package, go for the Beer for a Year option where 4 cases will be delivered at any chosen points throughout the year for £145. You really will be your recipient's favourite person for a full 365 days - they'll think of you every time they open another bottle of the good stuff. Think of all the favours you'll be owed...

The Whisky Tasting Club

Five drams from the world over every month exploring the wonderful world of whisky! It's like the whisky advent calendar all year around!

Each month you'll receive five drams centred around a certain theme, whether it be world whisky or simply the effect of the wood used in ageing. What's more, if you sign up for regular tastings you get first dibs on any exclusives!

Each tasting set is £30 and comes with five double measures, tasting notes and all the info you need on the monthly drams.

The Flavour Club

How about a little Spanish twist every month? The Flavour Club specialise in finding small-scale producers to bring you a little bit of Spanish culture through the post.

With food and wine that is specially selected to go well together, you'll discover all that this wonderful country has to offer, and probably learn something new every month. The subscription takes you anywhere from Rioja to Ribera del Duero and everywhere in between for £48 a month. Ole!

Pact Coffee

Unlike most of the above ideas, there are dozens of coffee clubs available in the UK, all of which promise to source the finest beans from all over the world and deliver them direct to you.

But Pact Coffee just has that something extra that makes it a winner in my eyes. For one thing, they pay above the Fairtrade rate to every farmer they work with.

But the choice and personal touches are what makes this service really special. They offer a huge range of brew methods to choose from (cafetiere, stovetop, aeropress etc), and you can choose whether to have the beens ground before they're sent or do it yourself.

The sign-up process is ace - you can tailor every aspect of the service to suit you, from the amount of coffee you receive every month to the styles and types of flavours you want. And it's not stuffy either - coffee flavours are described plainly (such as 'chocolate cherry liqueur' and 'rich, heavy fig and hazelnut') to make choosing them easy.

The plans are some of the cheapest around too - sign up from £6.95 per month (which gets you a 250g bag) and they'll even give you the first month for half price.

Bluebird Tea Tasting Club

Again, there's loads of tea subscription services, but I LOVE Bluebird because it's one of the best value and most flexible I've found.

A six-month subscription is £59.70 (£9.95 per month) which gets you three loose-leaf teas per month and first access to their newest blends. You can either get a nice surprise or let them know the kinds of teas you like best so they can put together a bespoke selection for you, and give feedback every month so they can tweak your subscription more and more.

With flavours like Rhubarb and Custard, Elderflower Champagne and Gingerbread, we're pretty excited to get started...

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