As the father of two, and on behalf of fathers everywhere, let me be frank about this upcoming Father's Day: please don't buy a lame gift. As a dad, I don't ask for much.
I do the baseball games, the play dates, I pack lunches in the morning and hear the arguments night after night about the tasty and nutritious yet, in my children's eyes, horrid and inedible meals I prepare (except when it's lasagna night, and no, we're not making that every night), all without much complaint at all. So, really—for the one day a year set aside to honor fathers, you're gonna get your dad a weed whacker?
If your dad likes to sit back on occasion with a glass of something that wears its age well, here are a few suggestions for Father's Day. (All of these are widely distributed and should be available at well-stocked liquor stores.)
Scotch and Bourbon
You know whisky is going to be on the list—but c'mon, few gifts are more appropriate for Father's Day than a decent bottle of scotch or a nice bourbon. If dad's a single-malt kind of guy, good bets include the rich and honeyed Highland malts from The Dalmore; the Dalmore 12-year-old has surprising gravitas for its age, with flavors of orange peel, cocoa and toffee, while the Dalmore 15-year-old really steps up with a fragrant nuttiness from sherry casks and notes of citrus, ginger and spice. Good stuff.
If your dad is like me and really digs that sherry character in a single malt, another natural choice are the Speyside whiskies from The Macallan. Aged entirely in used sherry casks, the Macallan 12-year-old has a rich, grapey fruitiness with a graceful mix of orange zest and chocolate, and the Macallan 18-year-old has much the same character but a deeper flavor of dried fruit and winter spice.
Blended scotch is sometimes overshadowed by the star power of single malts, but there are some extraordinary blends that would make a great Father's Day gift. Johnnie Walker has been selling whisky for 150 years, and its red label and black label blends are ubiquitous.
For something a bit more special, aim for the Johnnie Walker Gold Label, composed of whiskies aged a minimum of 18 years—it has a rich balance of stone fruit, citrus and chocolate. Or, if you've missed a Father's Day gift or call in the past and really need something noteworthy, go for the Johnnie Walker Blue, a rich and graceful whisky with flavors of tobacco, marmalade and spice, with a faint trace of smoke.
If Dad's more of a bourbon drinker, there are plenty of exceptional whiskies that would make great gifts. Elmer T. Lee from Buffalo Trace is a single-barrel bourbon with an intense aroma of vanilla and butterscotch, and a deep, layered flavor of leather, spice and honey. Another single barrel, Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, is a 101-proof bottle of indulgence, with a full flavor of almonds and blackberries and a smooth, lingering finish.
Of course, not all aged spirits are whisky, and there are a few other great choices for Father's Day. For a touch of grace, look for Remy Martin 1738, a fine champagne cognac that is dry and fruity, with a fragrant intensity of apples, candied fruit and ginger and a full, lingering finish.
Or, if Dad's more the type for a Hawaiian shirt and a hammock, a good aged rum may be the answer; a rich, approachable choice is Zaya Gran Reserva, a 12-year-old rum from Trinidad lush with flavors of vanilla, allspice and mocha.
Those are a few bottles I wouldn't mind finding in my hands on Father's Day. Do you have any favorite spirits that you think would be great for your dad?
This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Serious Eats. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.