This DIY Whiskey Advent Calendar is what the Bourbon Lover on Your List Really Wants

Holiday Spirits Advent Calendar.

What do you get for the whiskey fan who has everything? Sure, you could enter lotteries and wait in lines, hoping to get your hands on a rare allocated bottle. Or you could order this easy DIY whiskey advent calendar, and fill it with special pours that the bourbon lover on your list can enjoy every night.

Enter the Holiday Spirits Calendar, an adorable, pre-printed cardboard setup that retails for just $9.99. It comes with 12 little slots – meaning you can gift on December 14th if you want to countdown to Christmas, or on the actual holiday as a “12 Days of Christmas” present to keep the holiday fun happening through January 6th. While a lot of Advent Calendars begin December 1st, this one gives you plenty of leeway to order and put together in time to gift.

Unfolding the Holiday Spirits Advent Calendar.

Building the calendar itself couldn’t be easier. It comes flat and ready to assemble, and a couple tab As and slot Bs later and you’ve got a divided box ready to be filled with little bottles. We ordered these 30ml (roughly 1 oz) glass vials from Amazon, which come with little corks to seal. They turned out to be a bit on the small side for the calendar – it could easily fit bottles that are 2 or even 3 oz if you want to gift larger pours.

You can make the bottles in your whiskey advent calendar as intricate as you’d like. If you want to get really fancy, you can wax dip the tops, or tie them with tiny strings and tags to label. Plain stickers on the bottles work too. But if you’re short on time, you can easily make a little numbered guide for your bourbon lover to look over, or label the underside of the cardboard flap.

Starting our calendar strong with Elijah Craig Barel Proof (B518, for inquiring minds).

Okay, so you’ve got everything together – except the actual spirits. This is where it gets fun  – ask friends that you know keep a fully stocked home bar if you can pay for just a pour, or hit up the mini bottle section in your favorite local liquor store. And be sure to personalize – if you’re gifting for someone who loves rye, go hard on the spicy stuff. If you’ve got a cask strength fan on your hands, find pours of high proof favorites like Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.

We went heavy on the barrel picks building our whiskey advent calendar – what better way to make it completely unique? Barrel picks from your favorite whiskey shop or bar, or better yet, pours from a barrel that you had a hand in choosing, can personalize your whiskey advent calendar to make it all the more meaningful.

But you also want to add a few standby favorites – bourbon that come in a 50ml size are generally a distillery’s best sellers. We poured our minis into the glass vials for coordination’s sake, but you can just pop the mini bottles right in the box if you want to collect 12.

Our completed Holiday Spirits Advent Calendar!

We completed our whiskey advent calendar with a nice notebook and pen to keep impressions about each pour, and tied the whole set up with a ribbon. It’s a perfect gift for bourbon lover on your list this year, and the best part is that its reusable – just refill with different whiskey next year!

If this all sounds like way too much work, go ahead and click here for our list of pre-made whiskey advent calendars! They’re built with preset bourbons, ryes, and scotches, so you can’t personalize, but they’ll show up at your door ready to sip. Happy holidays!

Caroline Paulus
Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.