May 27, 2024

Where to Find Fine Wine and Luxury Spirits in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the opulent playground for the affluent and renowned. Nowhere else in the world boasts the presence of so many new towering structures and a seven-star hotel quite like this country.
Representaional Image Displaying Best Global Luxury Brand Liquors. Image By Michelle Bryant From Pixabay

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the opulent playground for the affluent and renowned. Nowhere else in the world boasts the presence of so many new towering structures and a seven-star hotel quite like this country. It exudes a dazzling allure with a wealth of extravagance, and the proof lies in the lavish experiences it offers.

In a nation where affluence knows no bounds, one of its most luxurious attributes is the ability to curate the finest and most exquisite libations. From premium spirits to fine wine, the UAE sources its alcoholic beverages globally, presenting a comprehensive collection of meticulously selected liquors.

Notably, the country is experiencing a significant shift towards a more open stance on alcohol consumption.

Statista projects that the alcoholic drinks market revenue will reach almost US$1.7 billion in 2024. By 2028, the UAE alcohol market is predicted to hit the 94.1-million volume mark, which translates to individuals consuming 8.81L units of alcoholic beverages on average in 2024.

This trend is underscored by a growing demand for craft beers, with local breweries gaining popularity among consumers in the UAE.

With that in mind, here is an insider’s guide to finding the most sophisticated spirits and fine wines in this Middle Eastern nation.

1. Bars and Cocktails

Representational Image Displaying Fine Wine and Luxury Dining-Image By Stocksnap From Pixabay

Dubai and Abu Dhabi, prime destinations for tourists and non-Muslim residents in the UAE, boast a growing array of upscale bars and establishments where fine wine and luxury spirits are readily available. These emirates cater to those seeking refined alcoholic drinks in the vibrant atmosphere of these cosmopolitan cities.


Until a few years ago, Dubai was also home to the world’s most expensive cocktail. Only available at Skyview Lounge at the Burj Al Arab is the befittingly named Diamonds are Forever cocktail. This is made with LHeraud Vintage Grande Champagne Cognac, special bitters by Jerry Thomas, and Luxor 24K Gold Flake Champagne.

The unforgettable taste of flowing gold and century-aged exquisite cognac is something only a privileged few experience. The whole experience is served in a Swarovski crystal glass finished with diamonds.

Skyview Bar also has a luxury curation of bottles, including the 1982 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1er Grand Cru Classe and Lheraud Vintage 1865 Petite Champagne Cognac.

Other bars in Dubai where you can sip sheer decadence are Mahiki at Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Tortuga at the Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah. Both offer exclusive cocktails served with fine wine and premium spirits, such as Moët Rosé and the Limited Edition Jose Cuervo 250 Aniversario Tequila.

Abu Dhabi

If you live in the capital, you need to explore Dragon’s Tooth at Rosewood Hotel in Al Maryah Island. Located just behind the Dai Pai Dong Chinese restaurant, this bar is one of the city’s best-kept secrets.

Besides the low-key ambiance that emulates that of a 1920s Shanghai jazz club, Dragon’s Tooth also lets guests create their own signature cocktails while enjoying delicious dim sum for an experience they will never forget.

Going on a beach trip on Saadiyat Island?

Be sure to visit The Lounge for some early evening caipirinhas while basking in the beauty of the sunset through floor-to-ceiling windows. Listen to smooth jazz as the breeze from the Arabian Gulf keeps you cool during the warm summer months.

2. Duty Free Shops

Representational Image Representing A Duty Free Shop At Dubai International Airport-Image By Pixabay

Visitors flying into the city have much to celebrate when they pass through Dubai International Airport. Besides being the third busiest airport in the world, Dubai International Airport also sets the benchmark in retailing luxury wines and spirits. Here, guests can acquire some of the world’s most exclusive wines and spirits.

In 2017, a premium retailer in the airport’s Duty Free sold the iconic Macallan; 29 bottles of The Macallan 18-Year-Old Vertical to be exact. This comes as a world record-breaking sale of a Macallan Fine and Rare collection.

For those with a penchant for personalized gifts, the Dubai airport also offers bespoke services such as customized bottle engravings. There’s also an in-store tasting area and a personal concierge service, ensuring your purchases are available for collection upon arrival.

Access to rare parcels listed above makes this a destination for connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike.

3. Alcohol Retailers

While this may pertain more to non-Muslim residents rather than tourists, alcohol retailers are also excellent sources of fine wine and luxury spirits in the UAE.

With the appropriate license, residents and tourists (non-Muslims) alike can safely and legally purchase their favorite spirits from any retail store.

Retail stores boast global premium brands that will cater to the increasingly sophisticated consumer. Each collection is carefully sourced and curated from some of the world’s top producers.

The extensive range includes bottles of all-time favorites like Johnnie Walker and Jack Daniels, as well as limited edition bottles of Templeton Rye and Glasgow 1770. There is even a retail network of liquor stores in Abu Dhabi that deliver these top-notch spirits straight to your doorstep.

Alcohol Licenses in the UAE: An Overview

Whether you’re looking for a bottle to stock up the bar at home or enjoy during a night out, it’s important to remember that the UAE has local laws concerning alcoholic delights.

For non-Muslim residents, it is imperative to obtain an alcohol license in the country. This document serves as your pass to enjoy alcohol from the comfort of your home.

As of November 2020, UAE laws have been updated so that individuals aged 21 and over can drink alcohol without a license. However, they still need an alcohol license when buying or keeping alcohol in their homes.

That said, getting an alcohol license no longer requires jumping through hoops. The latest amendment of the rules states that:

  • As of January 2023, tourists and residents can get their alcohol licenses free of charge.
  • Residents only need to present their Emirates ID to get their alcohol licenses.
  • Tourists can get a 30-day alcohol license instantly using their passport and UAE entry stamp.

Savor Your Choice of Spirits

With the UAE’s evolving stance on alcohol consumption, tourists and non-Muslim residents can indulge in the sophistication of fine wines and luxury spirits, whether in upscale bars, duty-free shops, or reputable alcohol retailers.

As the country continues to cater to the refined tastes of its diverse population, acquiring and enjoying top-notch libations has become more accessible and delightful than ever.

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