If you're optimistic enough to think the world has moved on in terms of sexual stereotyping, you should have seen some of the press releases I got about Father's Day. Littered with descriptions such as "mature", "connoisseur", "dads who enjoy the finer things in life" and – cheesiest of all – "sophisticated sippers", the assumption seems to be that all dads are septuagenarian buffers who like nothing better than a dram or two under an old master of a stag at bay.
It hardly squares with most of the dads I know, who would be just as happy to have a classy cocktail as a scotch. So let's look at some other alternatives. Such as champagne, the drink normally touted with equal lack of imagination for Mother's Day.
I can think of few dads who wouldn't relish a bottle of Bolly, aka Bollinger Special Cuvée, which has just been repackaged in a 19th-century bottle that apparently replicates the way that champagne ages in a magnum. I'm not sure that that justifies the recommended price tag of £42, but if you dig around (check wine-searcher.com) you should find it cheaper than that – though possibly not in the new bottle.
For roughly a third of that price, however, you can buy one of the most brilliant sherries I've come across recently: Gonzalez Byass's fine, nutty Leonor Palo Cortado (20% abv), a style somewhere between a dry amontillado and an oloroso. Given that it's made from 12-year-old wines, it's a total steal at £10.90 from Tanners, £12.99 from Cambridge Wine Merchants and the Oxford Wine Company, and £13.50 (£12.15 if you buy a case) from Adnams Cellar & Kitchen. If you're looking for a more traditional gift, Adnams also has an interesting beer-flavoured eau de vie, Spirit Of Broadside (£32.99 for a full-size bottle, £27.99 for 50cl; 43% abv).
Or instead of whisky, how about the award-winning small-batch vodka Icelandic Reyka (£25 in 181 Waitrose branches; 40% abv): pure, smooth and clean, with a sweet, grainy flavour, it would make a fantastic martini.
Finally, two top South African reds – the smooth, bordeaux-like Rustenberg Merlot Shiraz Cabernet 2011 (£9.99 in 85 Tesco Extra stores, or £56.94 for a case of six from Tesco Wine; 13.5% abv), or the robust, Rhône-ish Zalze SGV Shiraz Grenache Viognier (£7.49 in larger Co-op branches; 14% abv), which is just made for a Father's Day barbie. Most probably your mum will like them, too.
Photographs: Katherine Rose for the Guardian
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