The Liquor Cabinet

8 bottles to gift for Lunar New Year

Australia hosts some of the biggest Lunar New Year celebrations outside of Asia, so hop to it and join in this year’s festivities for the Year of the Rabbit with these luxe gifts.

lunar new year gifts liquorland

When you think about it, December’s New Year’s Eve really has nothing on Lunar New Year celebrations. For one thing, NYE is all over in 24 hours (and most of us don’t even last that long). Lunar New Year, on the other hand, is 15 fabulous days of family, friends, feasting and festivals to usher in the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ward off bad luck.


Celebrated by Asian cultures around the world, this year Lunar New Year kicks off on January 22 as we welcome in the Year of the Rabbit. Known as a sign of prosperity and peace, the Rabbit is also a very social and polite zodiac animal who knows it’s good manners to attend New Year events bearing gifts. Here are some ideas.

Red wine gifts for Lunar New Year

Red symbolises good fortune and you’ll see it everywhere during Lunar New Year. Streets are festooned with red lanterns, children are given money in red envelopes (hóng bāo) and it is the colour of choice for clothing (even socks and undies, if you’re keen). So when choosing wine for a Lunar New Year event, it makes sense to head for the reds.

Penfolds Bin 8 Shiraz Cabernet is a classic Australian red with subtle oak flavours and a smooth finish that partners perfectly with roast duck or spring rolls. For extra good luck, gifts should come in pairs, so add a bottle of Squealing Pig Central Otago Pinot Noir. As the name suggests, the rich cherry flavours and fine tannins of this New Zealand wine are a great match for BBQ pork.

Champagne gifts for Lunar New Year

One of the most important events on the Lunar New Year calendar is the family reunion dinner held on New Year’s Eve. It’s when generations come together to enjoy a sumptuous meal, honour ancestors and raise a toast to health and happiness.

In China, traditional New Year’s Eve dishes include dumplings (jiaozi), whole fish, noodles and sticky rice cakes (nian gao). You could accompany this with a Chinese beer, such as Tsingtao, or baijiu (a potent white spirit made from fermented sorghum grain), but a sparkling wine complements this menu just as well. A bottle of Moët & Chandon will definitely put you in your parents’ or in-laws’ good books. And who needs fireworks when you can enjoy the pop, fizz and bang of the expertly blended Royal Montcourt at midnight instead.

Cognac and whisky gifts for Lunar New Year

While children get to boost their piggy banks during Lunar New Year, adults don’t miss out on the goods either. Gift-giving is considered good etiquette when visiting friends, family or neighbours. Along with tea and fruits (oranges and mandarins symbolise good luck), alcohol is one of the most common Lunar New Year gifts. The offering conveys your respect for the recipient, so fine cognac is a popular choice. Martell features hints of wood and spice, while Hennessy is enjoyed for its complex fruity and floral notes.

A top-shelf whisky will also please your host: Chivas Regal offers aromas of toffee, dark chocolate and dried fruit, while Johnnie Walker Blue Label is a mellow, multilayered drop ideal for after-meal sipping.

If you’re a stickler for customs, give gifts to the oldest person first, deliver them with two hands, and wrap them in red, gold or yellow paper to attract wealth and prosperity. Finally, when your host says ‘gānbēi’, do as they say and ‘dry your cup’. Here’s to embracing every calendar’s New Year!

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