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. 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 truly love. Whether you’re looking for a teacher gift, something for family hosting you for the holidays, or a little something for yourself, this should cover the presents for the cocktail lovers in your life. If you’re less of a shop online person, check out these awesome local cocktail shops.
Post originally written in October 2020 and was fully updated September 2021.
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: This monthly subscription comes with everything you need to make 12 drinks (three different recipes). Each month, the recipient needs to purchase a bottle of the featured spirit. Read my full review of a year’s worth of boxes here, and save $10 off your subscription with this link.
- Flaviar: This subscription service offers Tasting Boxes that allow two people to sample three spirits. You can choose from a variety of spirits including whiskey, rum, and tequila. You can choose from a Club Membership or just order by the box or by the bottle.
- El Guapo Bitters of the Month: From the heart of New Orleans comes El Guapo bitters and cocktail mixers. Their Bitters of the Month subscription makes for the perfect gift. Choose from 3-, 6-, 9-, or a 12-month subscription. Or, order some of their delicious pecan orgeat or ginger syrup. Use the code COCKTAILSAWAY for 15% off your first order.
4. Why not take a trip to a place where you can learn all about your favorite spirit? This hotel in Tequila, Mexico will have you sleeping in a giant wooden barrel. They also offer tequila tastings, guided tours, and have an on-site museum. If you’re more into bourbon, check out this amazing property in Louisville, Kentucky. Plus, if you give the gift of a trip to a person you like to travel with, you both win!
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 Black-owned spirit brands from all over the world. While it’s certainly not the same as traveling, it can give you something to look forward to when you do get there. Many distilleries are open for tours. Feel free to drop in a comment if you’re stumped on matching a locale with a spirit to gift.
- Gin Mare is from Spain and has a lovely salinity to it.
- Cumbé is from Colombia and has a unique flavor. I used it in a delicious arrack-based cocktail.
- Cruzan Black Strap rum is from the US Virgin Islands and is perfect for your favorite tiki drinks.
Ice Makers for Home Bartenders
One of the keys to making great drinks is proper dilution. These gifts will ensure you or your gift recipient has plenty of stylish ice to get the jobs done.
- I think any drink with clear ice looks super classy. The True Cubes Clear Ice Cube Tray is a game changer. It really works. I made cubes with a standard silicone mold (left) and True Cubes (right). Although it only makes four 2″ cubes every 18-22 hours, that’s all I really need.
- The On the Rocks clear ice maker makes both ice spheres (above) and cubes. I got one for my birthday. It makes five spheres and six 2″ cubes in roughly the same amount of time as the True Cubes maker.
- This silicon freezable cocktail maker will turn your cocktail into a perfectly blended drink. No blender needed. I love it for a frosé or a frozen French 75.
- This countertop nugget ice maker from GE will have all your 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!
Give the Gift of Cocktail Tools
I have a full guide on the essential barware you need to set up your home bar. If you have the basics covered and want to level up your toolkit, I would suggest adding one of these:
- Complete Bar Set from A Bar Above: This 14-piece set has everything you need if you’re looking for a matching, all-in-one kit.
- Stirred Set from Crew Supply Company: This stirred set has a great vintage feel. Perhaps best of all, the mixing glass in the set is shatterproof.
Gifts for Mixologists Trying to Keep Tidy
These are the best gifts for the bartenders in your life who want to keep things neat and tidy. Give them as a gift or surprise them with a bar makeover.
- This bar mat is my all-time favorite bar tool. It keeps my counters clean, holds spills well, and creates a set place for making drinks. I keep it out all the time.
- Crew Bottles are genius for making everything from infused spirits (or olive oils) to simple syrups.
- Pour Spouts help keep a clean, fast pour from the Crew Bottles, or your favorite spirit. And now they come with covers!
- To organize a collection of cocktail books, look for some vintage book ends. I love my vintage brass pineapples that I got from Etsy. You can find ones like them here.
- Finally, it’s the little things that can really make your bartender heart happy. This bitters rack is affordable and durable.
Gifts for Cocktail Lovers Who Love New Flavors
If you are getting bored of your go-to drink, kick them into a new direction by adding in a new flavor. Whether you use bitters or a flavored syrup, you’ll keep your tastebuds happy. All of these items are made by small businesses.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you’ve never tried non-alcoholic spirits, you should. Even if you just use them in cocktails, it’s great to have some on hand for those who don’t drink. Three Spirit Drinks are not only non-alcoholic, they also contain herbs that help you relax or get ready for a party. (You can read my review and get recipes with them here.)
- Vena’s Fizz House Itty Bitters Bundle: With a wide variety of flavors from pine to Indian spices, Vena’s has you covered. The small bottles allow you to experiment with lots of flavors without filling your shelves with bottles.
- Vena’s Spirit Sippers: Vena’s also offers 16 flavors of their infusion jars that you just need to add alcohol to. It’s a bar in a jar!
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: Nothing is better than discovering a spirit you love in the place where it’s made. If you’re not sure where to start, here are my guides for Kansas City, Hawaii, Charleston, 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 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. Find a spot and make a plan to take your favorite person or people soon! (Pictured is one of my new favorites in Kansas City, The Mercury Room.)
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.
- 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.
- Travel Bar Set: I love taking my cocktail gear to a friend’s house. I love my own bar tools and want to make sure I have everything I need to make great drinks. This set is beautiful and makes the perfect gift.
Small Gifts for All Cocktail Lovers
Whether you’re stuffing stockings, or looking for a small gift, these are some of my favorites. Put a few of these together into a basket and you have a bigger present.
- Enamel Drink Pins: With 17 cocktail designs to choose from, it might be hard to pick one for a friend or yourself. Go ahead and order a few.
- Glass Straws & Cocktail Picks: For an environmentally 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 very affordable and 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.
- Cocktail Ornaments: Who wouldn’t want a tiny negroni or whiskey on the rocks hanging on their tree or their mantle. Or use one to trim a package with a bit of holiday spirit. (Pun intended!)
Glassware for Cocktail Lovers
- Rémy Savage Low Ball Glasses: I bought these glasses last year and they are still my favorites. 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.
- I love agave spirits, so when I was researching copita glasses, I was thrilled to find this one from Denver and Liely. It’s not only a work of art but it helps you nose tequila and mezcal like a pro.
- If you’ve never walked into a Crate & Barrel looking for glassware, maybe don’t start. They have an amazing selection of beautiful and affordable glasses, like this etched glass, that are hard to resist.
Brand New Cocktail Books to Gift
Earlier this year I wrote about books that were coming to print in 2021. As the year winds down, two more iconic books are getting ready to be released in November. You can bet both of these are on my wishlist.
- The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails: This is the first major reference work to cover spirits and cocktails from a global perspective. It will join the two other bestselling books in the series, Companions to Wine and Beer.
- Death & Co Welcome Home: the third volume of cocktail knowledge to come out of the famed bar, Death & Co. The other two have topped many cocktail lovers lists of best books since they were released.
And there you have it—39 great gifts for mixologists. 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!