I tried alcohol advent calendars including vodka and whiskey – there's a clear loser and it may surprise you | The Sun

WHETHER you prefer whisky or wine, gin or beer, alcohol advent calendars are a growing trend.

For 2022, there are more than ever to choose from and if you want a tipple every day in the run up to Christmas, you'll have to get your hands on one soon.

Typically, they sell out fast.

They can be pricey so make sure you’re happy with how much booze you’re getting behind those doors.

“Quantity is the name of the game here,” says consumer expert Martyn James.

“Check to see what the calendar promises and how much you are getting.

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"This is particularly important with craft beers, where tiny cans can ruin the countdown to Christmas!

“Watch out for fakes too. One website, drinksbythedram.co.uk, found their so-called products for sale at unusually low prices last Christmas.

"Turns out, some bottles were empty.”

Lynsey Hope, 41, from West Malling, Kent, tested dozens of calendars to see how they stacked up. Here she picks her favourites:

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Drinks by the Dram Vodka Advent Calendar

  • £99.95, masterofmalt.com
  • Estimated price of contents: £99.95
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If you're a vodka fan, make sure you get your hands on this boozy advent calendarCredit: Gary Stone

Lynsey says: "I thought this was quite special. Don't expect a mini Smirnoff.

"This contains 24 30ml bottles of quite special vodka from around the world including the award-winning Chapel Down Chardonnay Vodka, from Kent and, Japanese Haku Vodka and Reyka Vodka from Iceland.

"I didn't know there were so many different craft varieties to be honest and was excited to try them.

"Most can't be bought in small bottles so this is a great way of trying a huge variety and seeing what you'd like to invest in going forwards.

"It's great value for money as these mini bottles would easily add up to the price of the calendar."

  • DRINKS: 10/10
  • VALUE: 10/10
  • OVERALL SCORE: 10/10

Bailey's Irish Cream and Chocolates Advent Calendar

  • £19.99, amazon.co.uk
  • Estimated price of contents: £10

Lynsey says: "Not enough actual Bailey's in this one for my liking.

"It only contains one mini 50ml bottle, which is worth around £5 if bought on it's own on Amazon, and 24 chocolates – around 120g.

"You could buy a 70cl bottle at most supermarkets for £15 and a bigger box of 190g Bailey's chocolates (£5, sainsburys.co.uk) for the same price.

"You're paying for the novelty 'advent' factor here."

  • DRINKS: 2/10
  • VALUE: 2/10
  • OVERALL SCORE: 2/10

Freixenet Sparkling Wine and Chocolate Advent Calendar

  • £95, moonpig.com
  • Estimated price of contents: £42

“Nothing says festive season better than a glass of fizz and this glam advent calendar from Freixent is filled with 12 bottles of its most popular sparkling wines.

"It's all encased in a stunning and stylist box. There is a bottle of its popular Prosecco as well as its Italian Rose and Rosada Brut. 

"This looks very glam and the wine is lovely but beware there are only 12 bottles of fizz.

"The most expensive is the Prosecco mini that you can buy on its own for just £3.50 so the calendar feels expensive."

  • DRINKS: 5/10
  • VALUE: 5/10
  • OVERALL SCORE: 5/10

Fever-Tree The Ultimate Gin and Tonic Advent Calendar

  • £60, ocado.com
  • Estimated price of contents: £54

Lynsey says: “I was really impressed by this gin and tonic advent calendar from Fever-Tree.

"It contains 12 mini bottles of gin from a selection of breweries and 12 150ml bottles of tonic in different flavours to go with the alcohol.

"It’s great fun to mix and match the different flavour tonics with the different flavour gins, which include Chase Pink Grapefruit and Pomelo Gin, Hendricks Gin, The Lakes Gin, Sipsmith and Haymans of London Sloe Gin.

"Value wise it’s brilliant. If you bought all these mini bottles and cans separately you’d be spending at least £54 and the calendar is being sold at £60.

"It’s worth an extra few quid for the fun factor.”

  • DRINKS: 10/10
  • VALUE: 9/10
  • OVERALL SCORE: 10/10

Virgin Wines Mixed Advent Calendar

  • £89.99, virginwines.co.uk
  • Estimated price of contents: £120

Lynsey says: “A lovely festive advent calendar with a wreath design on the box.

"It features a mix of red, white and rose wines including a full-size bottle of plonk for Christmas Day.

"There are lots of customer favourites, best-sellers from around the world and some exclusive and limited editions thrown in.

"There are mini Rose's, reds and whites though you can buy a red or white only version if you prefer. You can't go wrong with this."

  • DRINKS: 9/10
  • VALUE: 9/10
  • OVERALL SCORE: 9/10

Sandford Orchards Cider Advent Calendar

  • £69.50, sandfordorchards.co.uk
  • Estimated price of contents: £55

Lynsey says: "This cider-centric advent calendar contains 24 bottles and cans of cider made by Sandford Orchards, a craft cider maker in rural Devon.

"Each door reveals a different drink including many favourites from their award-winning range such as Wilde Cherry, Old Blossom and Devon Red.

"They were good-sized bottles, proper drinks and a real treat at the end of a busy, cold December day.

"Pretty good value too.

"You could buy a mixed case of 12 for £27.50 so the mark up for the calendar isn't too high.

"My only complaint – it was very heavy and some were a little tricky to pull out."

  • DRINKS: 8/10
  • VALUE: 7/10
  • OVERALL SCORE: 8/10

Johnnie Walker 12 Days of Discovery Advent Calendar

  • £49.05, amazon.co.uk
  • Estimated price of contents: £45

Lynsey says: “For whisky lovers, this is a great way to sample all the different Johnnie Walker flavours and see which you like best without having to buy the whole bottle.

"There are 12 5cl bottles and there are some more expensive options inside including Blue Label and Gold Reserve Label so it’s not just the cheap stuff.

"A single miniature would set you back at least £3.50 so the price is good value if you want to taste test the different varieties."

  • DRINKS: 8/10
  • VALUE: 9/10
  • OVERALL SCORE: 8/10

Funkin Cocktails The Ultimate Cocktail Advent Calendar

  • £49.99, funkincocktails.co.uk
  • Estimated price of contents: £44

Lynsey says: "Filled with a lovely variety of pre-mixed cocktails in cans. You could buy a box of 12 for £21.99 but you wouldn't get to try the variety included here so I thought it was great value.

"Flavours include Strawberry Daiquiri, Spiced Rum Zombie, Passion Fruit Martini, Pina Colada and Espresso Martini.

"Some are nicer than others but that's part of the fun. Super fun for the run up to Christmas and great value too."

  • DRINKS: 7/10
  • VALUE: 8/10
  • OVERALL SCORE: 7/10

BrewDog Craft Beer Advent Calendar

  • £59.95, brewdog.com
  • Estimated price of contents: £40

Lynsey says: “So big I could barely lift it, this hefty advent calendar contains 24 different cans of beer, a BrewDog glass and some Candy Kittens sweets.

"There’s a huge selection to keep advent exciting, including Almost Famous, a new beer for 2022, Lost Lager, Hazy Jane and Hoppy Xmas.

"There are also a few beers exclusive to the advent calendar including Albino Squad Assassin and Hop Fiction which you can't pick up anywhere else.

"It's a bit overpriced but the novelty factor is great."

  • DRINKS: 8/10
  • VALUE: 6/10
  • OVERALL SCORE: 7/10

Sparkle Advent Calendar

  • £125, prezzybox.co.uk
  • Estimated price of contents: £120

Lynsey says: "This prosecco-filled calendar makes for a fun, decadent Christmas.

"It comes in a bold cracker design that would definitely make your home look festive in the run up to Christmas.

"There are several different styles of fizz hidden behind the doors in 50cl bottles.

"These little 200ml bottles would cost you anything from about £3.50 to £10 a pop if buying individually and a mixed case of 12 would cost you £60.

"There are some lovely ones inside too including Bottega Gold. It's pricey, but you're getting a good amount of fizz inside.

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"If you want to give someone something special for advent, this is sure to impress."

  • DRINKS: 9/10
  • VALUE: 9/10
  • OVERALL SCORE: 9/10

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