The run-up to the holidays is full of planning, excitement—and a lot of running around. It’s important to make time to catch your breath and actually enjoy the season. An advent calendar is a great daily reminder to slow down and enjoy the holiday spirit—especially if it’s filled with whisky. (Get it?)
You can buy a number of pre-made whisky advent calendars. What’s available varies from year to year, but these companies usually offer a calendar, and sometimes several: Secret Spirits Whisky Advent Calendar, Heritage Distilling Co., Flaviar, and Drinks by the Dram.
Be aware, however, that many of these options cost hundreds, and even thousands of dollars.
Then there’s the DIY option—a great choice if you already have plenty of whisky. Holiday Spirits Calendars offers pre-fab advent calendars that you can fill with your choice of whiskies. “Our goal is to appeal to that segment that like to give quirky, fun, inventive gifts to their friends and family, who also happen to enjoy cocktails,” says founder and president Adam Cappelli. “It resonates well since the design has that old traditional Christmas vibe and incorporates a fun twist on something that is meant for children, but allows adults to once again enjoy counting down the days to Christmas.”
What You Need
Each calendar differs, but naturally you’ll need whisky and bottles. Don’t worry about having 24 different whiskies—it’s fine to repeat.
You can find mini spirits bottles on Amazon and eBay. Some come with a mini funnel, which makes the project much easier and faster. As you use your calendar, wash and save the bottles each day so you can reuse them next year. Because once you’ve done this, you’re going to want to do it again.
How to Make a Whisky Advent Calendar
You don’t need to be Martha Stewart to make a festive advent calendar. There are many ways to DIY, ranging from easy to, well, Martha-level. Pick one that you like and that you can display prominently in your home so you never forget your daily dram. Here are a few ideas to try, in order from no-sweat to need-some-skills.
Up-cycle a shoe organizer
Buy an over-the-door shoe organizer, label each pocket with a number, and slip your bottles in. Add some bows or other decorations to boost the jolly vibe.
Hang mini stockings
Buy a pack off Amazon, stuff each with your bottles, and hang up. Santa Claus not required!
Use a spice rack…
…or any other kitchen organizer. Label your bottles with stickers or tags so you know what order to drink them in, then arrange them in the rack.
Transform a beer box
The slots are already there, so all you have to do is add the bottles, make a lid, and decorate. Cappelli says this could work on a smaller scale with a shoebox or any box lying around. “Get creative on the computer for your calendar face and apply it to the front of your box,” he says. “The tricky part may be getting the individual bottles to stay in place, but with a toolbox, some MacGyver-ing, and some bourbon in you, I bet you can make it work.”
Hang them from your tree
If the branches are strong enough and you’re using plastic bottles, you could consider turning your Christmas tree into an advent calendar—simply tie ribbon to the bottles. Or you could buy six sets of these scotch-filled baubles from Angels’ Share Glass (but keep them high up if you have cats). Either way, it adds to the fun since you have to hunt for your whisky each day.
Build a cubby calendar
Feeling ambitious? First construct a 25-slot cubby organizer out of pine wood and add labels. Then put one bottle in each cubby. This also works if you’re able to find an organizer that happens to have 24 or 25 slots, so consider checking stores like Pottery Barn, craft stores, and even flea markets.
Turn toilet paper rolls into a tree
Place each bottle in a toilet paper roll, wrap in wrapping paper, and stick a number on the end (write it in marker or, since you’re already making the effort, make labels and glue them on). Then arrange the tubes into a pyramid shape in random order, gluing them together, and add a star on top. It’s a whisky advent tree! For more details, follow the step-by-step directions on Thrillist.
What About Hanukkah?
You don’t need to celebrate Christmas to get in on the action. You can DIY a box, rack, or cubbies to hold eight bottles rather than 12 or 24. Or build a menorah out of wood to hold your mini bottles (this Etsy one would be easy to recreate). Or if you’re lucky enough, find a menorah that can hold or support mini liquor bottles. Individual candle holders of different heights also work.
Whatever you do, if you have a menorah that is lit, be sure to keep it distanced from your whisky menorah.
There’s nothing wrong with drinking alone, but why not ask some friends to get crafty with you? Have everyone bring a certain number of whiskies, and you can all enjoy new drams (both during the crafting and when using your calendar). While you’re at it, arrange each other’s calendars so that each day’s whisky is a surprise.
If you’re feeling generous and have the time, DIY advent calendars make a great gift that keeps giving all month long. Just be warned that recipients may expect a new calendar next year.