Back in July, I heard friends start talking about putting up their holiday decorations and calling it a year. Regardless of what holidays you celebrate, I think we can all agree that we could use a drink. Whether it’s a toast to better days ahead, or a quiet cocktail fireside, these gifts for mixologists are sure to bring joy to the home bar. Plus, if you live in the same house as your favorite cocktail lover, it’s also a gift for you. I have purchased almost everything listed here and only include the things I actually love. Whether you’re looking for a teacher gift, something for family hosting you for the holidays, or a little something for yourself, I think this should cover all the cocktail lovers in your life.
Gift Subscriptions for Mixologists
Subscriptions are a great way to keep the giving going! Depending on your budget, you can find great ways to gift your friends and family year-round. Here are a couple of my favorites:
- Shaker & Spoon (Cocktail Box): This monthly subscription comes with everything you need to make 12 drinks (4 of three different recipes). Each month, the recipient needs to purchase one bottle of the featured spirit. You can read my full review here, and save $10 off your subscription with this link.
- Imbibe: This magazine is one of my favorite things I gifted myself a year ago. While some argue that print is dead, I strongly disagree. I also hang on to every issue when I’m done reading it as it is full of recipes, places I want to remember to visit, and great charts and maps.
- Flaviar: I have yet to try out this service, but not because it’s something I wouldn’t like. They offer Tasting Boxes so two people can sample three spirits without investing in a whole bottle. You can choose from a Club Membership or just order by the box or by the bottle.
4. I received this Gin Advent Calendar as a gift from my husband last year. It was a fantastic way to sample 24 gins from around the world. I sipped some on the rocks, and others I turned into tiny gin cocktails. The company also makes advent calendars with other spirits like bourbon, rum, whiskey, and vodka.
5. Missed your trip to Spain, Columbia, or the US Virgin Islands this year? Pick up a bottle of a spirit from the locale you wanted to visit, or something to relive a past trip. With so many places distilling something unique to their region, you’ll have plenty to choose from. (You can also support lots of Black-owned spirit brands from all over as well. Here’s a list from my blogger friend, Ashlee.) And, while it’s certainly not the same as traveling, mixing up something with local flavor can take the edge off a little. Feel free to drop in a comment if you’re stumped on matching a locale with a spirit to gift. If you were wondering, Gin Mare is from Spain, Cumbé is from Colombia, and Cruzan Black Strap rum is from the US Virgin Islands.
Barware Gifts for Mixologists Going Pro at Home
Last year, I wrote about the essential barware you need to set up your home bar because a few friends were asking for gift ideas. I won’t repeat myself, except to say that if you want to set up a professional nook in your home to create cocktails, you need:
- This bar mat (pictured above) is probably my favorite bar tool. It keeps my counters clean and creates a set place for making drinks. I keep it out all the time.
- I also think any drink with clear ice looks super classy. The True Cubes Clear Ice Cube Tray is a game changer. It really works, see my comparison above using a standard silicone mold (left) and True Cubes (right). Although it only makes four 2″ x 2″ x 2″ cubes every 18-22 hours, that’s all I really need.
For the bartenders in your life who really want to take things to the next level, these pairings are perfect.
- Crew Bottles and
- Pour Spouts: These bottles are genius for making everything from infused spirits (or olive oils) to simple syrups. The Pour Spouts help keep a clean, fast pour from the Crew Bottles, or your favorite spirit. (Use COCKTAILS-AWAY for 10% off your purchase at Crew.)
- Ice Mallet and
- Lewis Bag: I do not own these items, yet, but hoping they might show up in my life soon. These gorgeous, hand-crafted items are for the creation of crushed ice for drinks. While I love buying Sonic ice, sometimes you need to make some on your own.
- Malic Acid and Citric Acid: Admittedly, these are gifts that if paired together might confuse the recipient. However, if the mixologist in your life is into cocktail science, they’ll totally appreciate these. Their very own set of fruit acids to adjust the acidity of fruit juices and cocktail syrups for drinks.
Gifts for Cocktail Lovers Who Want to Take it Easy
There are many levels of home bartending. If some of the suggestions I’ve made so far seem too complex, here are some items that make drinks easy. All five of these items are made by small businesses, which I love!
- Boozy Botanicals: With a range of delicious flavors from Lavender Earl Grey to Three Pepper, these fancy simple syrups make drinks easy. Just add two ounces of a spirit to 0.5-0.75 ounces of Boozy syrup, shake with ice, and you’re done!
- Vena’s Fizz House Spirit Sipper Infusion Jars: A bar in a jar! Vena’s has you covered. All you need to do is add liquor to a jar of freeze dried fruits, herbs, and bitter infused sugar cubes. With 16 flavors, there’s bound to be something for everyone on your list.
- Kansas City Canning Company Shrubs: Shrubs are also referred to as sipping vinegars. You can use them in drinks, both cocktails and mocktails. Adding this slightly sweet but sour addition to club soda and your favorite spirit gives you a lovely spritzer. KC Canning carries four standard and occasional seasonal flavors.
- Crude Bitters Sampler Pack: If your gift recipient is new to bitters, a sampler pack is perfect. This one from Crude Bitters is one my favorites. The flavors are unique and delicious. All you need to do is add a dropper or two for a twist on a drink you already know how to make.
- I had the pleasure of visiting Straightaway Cocktails during my last visit to Portland, Oregon. When I came across their pre-bottled cocktails on Instagram–I was super drawn to their graphic design. I haven’t had many pre-made beverages that I like, and I was SO impressed with the quality and taste. My two favorites are the Negroni and the Oregon Old Fashioned.
Booze and Cocktail Experiences
Spending time together is really the best gift. If you add cocktails and spirits to that, well, you’re a genius. Here are a few of my favorite experiential gift suggestions.
- Host a whiskey tasting: You can create fun and memorable experiences at home. Check out this easy guide on how to host your own. Try local spirits, or pick a region to explore.
- Tour a local distillery: If you want to venture out, many distilleries are hosting smaller tours, some with their own custom hand sanitizer. Getting your friends and family out of the house to learn something new is likely to be especially welcome this year. If you’re not sure where to start, here are my guides for Kansas City, Chicago, and Duluth. Most tours are affordable and include a tasting.
- Give them a MasterClass: So many of us learn by seeing and doing. If your gift recipient has exhausted YouTube for all the home bartending videos, MasterClass has you covered. James Beard honoree Lynnette Marrero and Ryan Chetiyawardana will teach you the essentials of cocktail making. Their 17-part series teaches how to mix a perfectly balanced drink for every occasion and mood.
- Make a reservation (for now or later) at that spot you’ve been meaning to try: We all have one of those cocktail bars or restaurants on our list we’ve been meaning to visit. This year is particularly important, as running a high-quality bar is difficult even without pandemics and recessions. Find a spot and make a plan to take your favorite person or people soon! (Pictured is one of my favorites, the Hey Hey Club. If you’re in Kansas City, you should add it to your list!)
Splurge Gifts for Mixologists
I have always been a gift person. The best part of Christmas for me growing up was the “big gift”. This was often the thing I really wanted but it seemed impossible that I was actually going to receive it. Not much has changed as I’ve gotten older. If you are looking for something really unexpected, one of these might be perfect.
- KitchenAid K400 Blender: When my 20-year old blender started to leak oil recently, I ordered this blender. With special settings just for drinks (icy, smoothy, etc), I couldn’t resist. Best of all, it senses when blending is done, making perfect drinks every time.
- GE Profile Opal: This countertop nugget ice maker will have all your cordials and tiki drinks looking professional. And while taking out your frustrations while making a bag of crushed ice can be fun, this ice maker is fast and easy. In just 20 minutes, you’ll have three pounds of ice ready to go. Bring on the holiday gatherings!
- Cantina Bar Cabinet: While this is a pricey gift, I think it’s worth it. It offers all the storage you need for a basic bar set up. Or, in my case, a little extra storage for the rest of my home bar. I love that it has a drawer for bar tools, racks to hang stemmed glassware, and shelves for bottles and extras.
Small Gifts for All Cocktail Lovers
Whether you’re stuffing stockings, or looking for a small gift, these are some of my favorites. Putting a few of these together into a basket and you have a bigger present.
- Enamel Drink Pins: I don’t own any of these pins yet, but it’s primarily because I can’t choose which ones to buy. With 17 cocktail designs to choose from, you’ll definitely find a few to give and get.
- Glass Straws & Cocktail Picks: For an environmental-minded friend, these reusable glass straws and cocktail picks from Surfside Sips are durable and beautiful. They come in a variety of colors and the straws come in five lengths. They are also very affordable; plus you can save 20% off your order with the code COCKTAILSAWAY.
- Cloth Cocktail Napkins: I love serving cocktails with fancy napkins. Not only do they help combat condensation, but they make things feel a bit festive. These flour sack cloth ones are perfect year-round.
- Rémy Savage Low Ball Glasses: I bought these glasses back in the Spring because I saw them in my Instagram feed so often. Not only are these glasses gorgeous, but they are highly functional and dishwasher safe. They work well with a variety of drinks and the 2″ clear ice cubes I love fit inside them perfectly.
- Easy Tiki: I recently wrote about the best cocktail books that you should buy in 2020. (And another cocktail book post in 2021 with more suggestions.) Out of all the books I’ve purchased this year, I have been using this one the most. I’ve been learning a lot about tiki culture lately, and have visited a couple of landmark tiki bars, and this place. This book makes tiki accessible to those of us who don’t own 100 bottles of rum.
- Tiki Coupe Cocktail Glasses: Speaking of tiki, I got these tiki coupe glasses for Christmas last year. They are beautifully made and hold 8.5 ounces, bigger than a standard coupe glasses. Plus, they are whimsical and dishwasher safe.
And there you have it—30+ gifts for mixologists in your life. If you’re the cocktail lover, send this link to your loved ones with your favorite items starred. Cheers to celebrating with fun and thoughtful gifts!