Yep, it’s already that time of year again! The holidays are almost upon us which means shopping season is about to shift into high gear and as usual, you’ll probably struggle to figure out what to buy your friends and family.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help!
Today we’re sharing with you our recommendations for the best cocktail gifts. Whether you’re looking for a small stocking stuffer, a versatile liqueur, or a splurge purchase to impress someone close to you – we’ve got you covered.
We’re all busy, and you’ve got shopping to do, so let’s dig in.
Best Bar Tools: Every Good Drink Starts with Good Tools
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to make drinks at friend’s houses or while on vacation and simply didn’t have the right tools. It makes me appreciate my home bar so much more, when I’m forced to make a drink without a proper cocktail shaker, or a legitimate
These bar tool gift ideas will help make sure your friends never have to go through the same problem.
Traveling Cocktail Kit ($129.00)
Everything you need to whip up a classic cocktail at home or on the road… just add liquor!
This handy 17 piece set includes everything from a bottle opener to a lemon zester all rolled up an a nifty canvas carry case.
The tools are constructed from high quality stainless steel and are all dishwasher safe.
Chances are pretty good that if it isn’t included in this kit then you probably don’t need it.
This ain't cheap, but it's got everything you could want for a portable bar setup. Or just want to snag all of your home tools in one go? Look no further.
Solid Alternative: Cocktail Carrying Bag ($52.99). If you want space to pack a couple bottles of your favorite spirits along with your mixing supplies, this has it all. Available with or without the tools, this is a full on “bar in a bag”.
10 Piece Stirred Cocktail Kit
Most of us when we start getting into cocktails head straight for the shaker. When you think of cocktails that’s usually the first thing that comes to mind, and for good reason.
But as you start to learn more and explore other types of drinks, you’ll realize that there’s a whole separate world of stirred drinks a well.
If someone you know is ready to venture into that foray, then this 10 piece stirred cocktail kit is a great way to go.
This stirred cocktail kit from A Bar Above has everything you need to start making wonderful stirred drinks like manhattans, old fashioneds, or martinis (yes, martinis should be stirred).
Ice Maker ($35.99)
Maybe not a cocktail “tool” in the traditional sense but if you’re unfamiliar with clear
Besides having the practical benefit of melting more slowly than regular “freezer
This 10 cube maker is the easiest way to get the job done and produces 3 to 6 times as many cubes as others.
Side note: If you’re more of a do-it-yourself kind of person or are looking to do a slightly higher volume, check out our step by step article on making clear
Create beautiful artisanal clear ice at home. It's less expensive than other options and uses proportionately less space to make far more cubes than any other clear ice tray on the market
Solid Alternative: Glacio Crystal Clear Ice Ball Maker ($36) – Prefer solid
Best Bitters for Gifts
Bitters are sort of the salt and pepper of cocktails. They add that little extra spice and flavor to a drink.
Bitters are made by infusing a neutral spirit with any number of aromatics, including spices, tree bark, roots, seeds, fruits, etc. In short, bitters consist of liquor that’s sharply flavored with herbs and plant elements.
But here’s a little secret: There’s a lot more to bitters than just Angostura (although it’s always a solid “go to”).
Craft bitters can liven up a cocktail in ways you didn’t think possible.
And the best part? They make a great gift. Bottles are small, usually under $25, and with hundreds of different brands and styles, it’s easy to find one for the most discerning cocktail snob in your life.
Bittermen’s Xocolatl Mole Bitters ($24)
I bought these to make a drink out of the NoMad cocktail book – and man, I’m impressed! I now use them all the time, as they pack more of a punch of flavor than some more subtle types of bitters.
Who it’s for: The adventurist looking for a change of pace from “the usual”.
Who it’s not for: The traditionalist who can’t bear the thought of something other than Angostura.
Solid Alternative: Woodford Reserve Bitters Set. ($26) Any bitters gift set is a great option, but this one from Woodford Reserve has always been a favorite of ours.
This is just one recommendation I use a lot at home. You can literally go online, or pop into a liquor or specialty store and find so many different types of bitters. So pick something that suits the personality of the person you’re giving it to!
Best Cocktail Glasses to Give as a Gift
One of the most important parts of a cocktail is the vessel in which it’s served in. Here are some fantastic cocktail glasses that make great gifts.
Waterford Lismore Double Old Fashioned ($80 Each)
Can your choice of glassware actually make your drink taste better? Well, maybe not but anything you put in this crystal tumbler will certainly look great.
Arguably the most recognizable crystal pattern of all time, this classic will make a proud addition to any home bar.
Who it’s for: The purist who wants their favorite pour to look as good as it tastes..
Who it’s not for: The person who can’t imagine spending 65 bucks for a glass you can’t even put in the dishwasher.
These are the glasses that I use at home when making most of my old fashioned style drinks. They aren't cheap, but they're one of the most thoughtful cocktail gifts I've received.
Solid alternative: Venero Crystal Whiskey Glasses. ($30/Four) – Not quite as classy or classic as the Waterford glasses, these still make an excellent gift set. Lot’s of visual bang for the buck and dishwasher safe at a fraction of the price of Waterford.
Set of Copper Mugs: ($54.97)
The Moscow Mule, is among the simplest drinks you can make. A mix of Vodka, Ginger Beer and lime juice, It’s traditionally served in a copper mug packed with
This set includes 4 16oz. mugs and all the accessories you need for a full on “Mule Party” including.a copper shot glass, 4 copper straws and 4 coasters.
The extra good news is there there are an endless range of Mule variations you can make with whiskey, tequila, gin and a host of other ingredients and flavorings.
We’re currently enjoying a “Mexican” variation using Tequila and a splash of Margarita mix.
Not only are Moscow Mules easy to make, but nearly everyone likes them! But if you're going to make it, you better do it in a copper mug. This is a fantastic, and affordable set.
Stainless Julep Cup: ($13.00)
They may not be as trendy as Mules, but the Mint Julep is a long standing traditional drink that deserves it’s own special container. No need to wait for the Kentucky Derby for this one.
Like a Mule, a Julep just seems to taste better in a proper cup and this one fits the bill nicely.
Similar to a Moscow Mule which MUST be served in a copper mug, you can't serve a mint julep without a julep cup. Often these can be very expensive, but here is a solid option you can do on the cheap.
Vintage Glassware: ($??)
This one will require a little more work on your part, but the rewards can be well worth it. Check out thrift stores or your local Goodwill to find a treasure trove of amazing cocktail glassware – for cheap.
It’s a little bit more of a personal gift, but trust me, the right person will appreciate it (I know I always have!)
These days there are more amazing
But knowing which one is best for which person may not be quite as easy as it seems. Fortunately we’ve chosen a few of our favorites to help you nail down the best book to give as a gift.
If you want to see all of our recommendations check out our rundown of the best cocktail books available.
Best Overall Cocktail Book: “Cocktail Codex” ($28)
This should be a very difficult question to answer, but when people say “I’m going to buy one cocktail book, what’s the best one?” Cocktail Codex is the answer..
Its secret lies in how it educates you on the fundamental construction of the 7 most common styles of cocktail: old fashioned, daiquiri, martini, sidecar, sour, highball, and flip.
It teaches you why those style of drinks work by giving you the concepts of the “core,” “balance,” and “seasoning” – and how to use each to create a cocktail.
Once you know the formula for say a standard daiquiri, you’re then able to take that knowledge and create any number of variations of your own.
If you’re only going to own one cocktail book…this is the one to have.
Best Coffee Table Book: “The Aviary Cocktail Book” ($85)
The original Aviary in Chicago is the bar portion of 3 Michelin star restaurant, Alinea, which is known for its molecular gastronomy techniques, and total over the top presentation. Aviary does the same thing, just in bar form.
And the Aviary book is just as impressive as the bar and the drinks themselves – it’s also just as expensive.
The Aviary cocktail book is one of the most expensive
The presentation is phenomenal, and the more expensive version that comes in a presentation box is stunning.
The photos inside are just as beautiful, and it will have you repeatedly saying: “I want one of those.”
The only downside? This book also wins the award for “the book you’re most likely to make
Most are very elaborate and require tools like a water circulator, vacuum sealer, immersion blender or even more obscure tools to be able to make the drinks.
Many of them will take quite a bit of time, patience, and skill to create – but if you do?
You’ll be greatly rewarded.
The bougiest (and most beautiful) cocktail book there is. If you want the ultimate challenge in cocktail creation, this is the book for you. It ain't cheap, but it's one of the definitive books any true cocktail connoisseur should have in their collection (even if you never make a single drink from it).
Best For the Advanced Bartender: “NoMad Cocktail Book” ($23)
Not necessarily a book we’d recommend to a total newbie, but if there’s someone in your life who is ready to up their drink game a bit, this is the place to go.
And then every once in awhile you find the rare book that hits the sweet spot. It has some drinks with ingredients you probably have, and are easy to make, but also feature some more elaborate drinks that will be an adventure to create.
The NoMad book strikes this balance perfectly.
The NoMad Cocktail Book hits that perfect balance of wildly unique drinks, that are still accessible for home bartenders to make at home. There are some simple classics, and some that are more involved, and it's this balance that makes it one of my favorite cocktail books out there.
Best Non-Alcoholic Book: “
It may seem a little counterintuitive but cocktails without alcohol are now actually a thing.
Printed and bound using cutting-edge fine art technologies it’s another pricey option but will look.great in your kitchen, your bar, or on your coffee table.
This post is specifically all about best cocktail gifts. And compared to other books on the market, I think this makes a phenomenal gift.
The bougiest non-alcoholic cocktail book in the world. But honestly? While it's expensive, this book is a work of art. And the drinks aren't half bad either.
Best Cocktail Gifts: Unique Liqueurs
Venturing into the world of liqueurs can be a little intimidating, particularly since a lot of recipes call for relatively small amounts of often pricey spirits.
But this is also why I love giving liqueurs as a gift. Think of this as a way to get something special for someone who might not buy it for themselves but has a favorite drink they might make if they had the “right stuff”.
Keep in mind, prices listed below will vary wildly depending on where you live.
A Traditional Amaro
Amaros (Amaris?) are a category unto themselves and you may already be familiar with some of the more mainstream labels like Campari, Aperol or Cyanar.
One (or more!) of these should have a place in any complete home bar, and can make a great gift.
Crème de Violette: ($25)
If haven’t yet experienced the flowery taste of crème de violette, stop what you’re doing and go buy a bottle.
Made with violet buds and blossoms, crème de violette is one of the oldest and most unique tasting liqueurs. Best of all, once you get your hands on a bottle of the purple-tinted spirit, you can make one of the most underrated cocktails of all time: the Aviation.
Made with gin, lemon juice, crème de violette and maraschino liqueur, the Aviation is the perfect blend of sweet, sour and floral.
We like the Rothman and Winter version but there are several other great options out there.
Green Chartreuse ($34 for 375ml)
Green Chartreuse is the only liqueur in the world with a completely natural green color.
Distilled by Carthusian Monks in the mountains in Voiron French, their pale green elixir is essential in classic cocktails like the Last Word where it’s stirred with gin, Maraschino Liqueur and lime juice.
On its own it can be a bit harsh and astringent but the liqueur’s botanical punch from 130 herbs takes on a subtle sweetness that can balance out the tart and the bitter in your drink, making it far more useful than you’d think.
A 375ml bottle ($35ish) of this can be a great smaller gift, since big bottles are pretty spendy.
Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur: ($39)
Marasca cherries. It originates from the eastern coast of Croatia. It is still produced there as well as in northern Italy and other countries, including the U.S. The liqueur has a bitter-dry flavor profile and is enjoyed throughout the world. It’s a popular ingredient in the bar and essential in a number of drink recipes, particularly
Another key ingredient in both an Aviation and a Last Word. We like the Luxardo label.
Best Unique Cocktail Gifts
Have someone on your gift list that you just don’t seem to be able to come up with a “wow! I hadn’t thought of that!” kind of idea for? Then these might just do the trick.
Cocktail Smoking Kit
Over the last few years smoked cocktails have become very trendy at some of the world’s best bars. And being someone who loves smokey anything, I’m totally cool with this trend.
There are a few options out there for doing this at home.
There are the cheap $40ish versions, that I honestly haven’t had a great experience with.
I personally recommend the $69 Smoke Boards Kit. It’s an all-inclusive kit, works great, and gives you options for flavor with three different types of wood chips.
Our Review: Here’s why we think it’s the best cocktail smoker for most people.
Who it’s For? Those who love smoky drinks, and also like a little bit of flair in their cocktail presentations.
Who isn’t it for? Those weird people who don’t like smoke flavor 🙂
Solid Alternative? Fortessa Cocktail Smoker. It’s expensive, but for those true smoke connoisseurs, it would certainly be cool to have!
Flavour Blaster ($400)
Looking for something truly unique? The Flavour Blaster is about as unique as it gets.
Dubbed the” first piece of cocktail equipment ever standardized, and carefully safety tested to make beautiful bubbles with ease, infuse your drinks with aromatic mist, and create aromatic clouds for a dramatic effect.”
This thing ain’t cheap, but if you’re looking to elevate the presentation of your cocktails and do some wildly unique stuff? This is the tool to help you do it.
How do I know it’d make a great gift? Because I’d love it if someone gifted one to me 🙂
Masterclass Video Tutorials ($180/Year)
To be able to have a video course that takes you from A to Z, rather than just bouncing around between blog posts or YouTube videos really is a useful medium and make it worth the expense.
Some of the biggest names in the world have incredibly high quality courses on everything from cooking to film making to storytelling and, oh yes, mixology.
The mixology tutorial is by Lynette Morero and Ryan Chetiyawardana, and no, don’t ask me how to pronounce his name.
You see, Ryan is more commonly referred to as Mr. Lyan – and he’s one of the most successful bartenders in the world.
You’ll get their insight into everything from cocktail culture to pairing cocktails with food not to mention their take on a full range of cocktail preparation.
Best Stocking stuffers
Sometimes you just need a handful of small gifts to fill out a stocking, or to be a part of a larger ensemble of gifts. These are some fantastic cocktail stocking stuffer ideas that are both affordable and portable:
Whiskey Stones ($8.95)
This unique cocktail gift suggestion brings a whole new level of meaning to “on the rocks”. A common issue with spirit connoisseurs who like to retain the full flavor of their drink from first sip to last is that the
If even your lovingly created, hand crafted clear
These non-porous soapstone blocks go in your freezer and come out instead of the
Chills your favorite whiskey (or any other spirit or cocktail for that matter) to just the right sipping temperature.
Inexpensive enough to be a great stocking stuffer but enough “cool factor” to please the hard to buy for person on your list.
Who it’s for: The whiskey lover who wants their last sip to taste just like the first.
Who it’s not for: The traditionalist who wants a colder drink and enjoys the look of a rugged block of
For the purist who hates ice diluting their spirits, these whiskey stones keep your drink chilled without the dilution of ice.
Bar Spoon: ($15)
Every home bartender needs a long
You can tell the difference between someone who takes their drinks seriously and one who doesn't simply by their spoon. Seriously.
Hawthorne Strainer: ($16.99)
If you’re stirring drink in a mixing glass, or using a Boston shaker, you’ll need a way to strain the drink into a glass. This is how you do it.
For someone just getting started in the world of home bartending, this is a must have.
This hawthorne strainer is about as essential as it gets for a home bar. Whether you're using a Boston Shaker or stirring drinks in a mixing glass, this will come in extremely handy.
Chinois Fine Mesh Strainer ($15.99)
Leveling up the “pretentious” level on your cocktails, you should double strain to keep little
This is essentially just a tiny mesh strainer. You’ll pour out of your shaker or mixing glass using Hawthorne strainer, into the chinois for a “double strained” drink. A cheap way to move up to pro level.
Japanese Jigger ($9)
Another fantastic small gift for the beginning home bartender is a stainless steel jigger.
Basically a jigger is a fancy word for shot glass. They’re usually double sided with one side being larger than the other.
I love this Japanese style one that is tall and skinny, and has 2oz on one side and a 1 oz on the other. Not to mention the fact it has marks inside by the 1/4 ounce to help for exact measurements.
Cocktail Picks ($10)
This is one of those underrated items that can truly level up your drinks. Not only will it make your garnishes look better, but these make excellent gifts for everything from a stocking stuffer to a hostess gift at your next holiday dinner party.
What Cocktail Gifts Did We Miss?
We’ll be going back and updating this list on a regular basis as we come across more gift worthy cocktail items, but this should get you off to a really good start.
But now my question to you? What did we miss? What’s the best cocktail gift you’ve either given or received? Drop a comment below and let me know!
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