21 Gifts for Cocktail Enthusiasts
For classic cocktails, a stainless steel shaker is essential. This set from Fortessa is one of the best on the market, and it comes with everything, including a classic Boston shaker, Hawthorne strainer, jigger, and wooden muddler. If you’re looking for something more durable (and portable), take the show on the road with Brumate’s shatter-proof shaker that doubles as a tumbler. (They even sell insulated highball glasses now).
Brumate Polished Shaker Pint, $35 at brumate.com
Bar Spoon and Mixing Glass
For classic drinks that are stirred rather than shaken, a bar spoon and mixing glass are key. Fortessa’s spoon is the perfect choice, and the crystal mixing glass from Reidel is beautiful on a bar cart but still dishwasher safe.
Crafthouse by Fortessa 12.5" Stainless Steel Twisted Bar Spoon, $15 at amazon.com
Riedel Drink Specific Glassware Mixing Glass, 22 oz, $60 at amazon.com
Ice Cube Trays
We could chat all day about ice molds and the ice itself, but the bottom line is that great cocktails always involve great ice. Large cubes and spheres are always great to have on hand—they’ll melt more slowly and won’t dilute the drinks.
Ticent Ice Cube Trays (Set of 2), $12 at amazon.com
Aside from bitters and fresh citrus, the key to plenty of traditional cocktail recipes is a handful of fresh herbs. What better way to have access to mint leaves, rosemary, and basil than with a miniature hydroponic garden right in your kitchen? This is a multi-purpose gift that will delight any home cook or home bartender.
AeroGarden Bounty Basic Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden, $199 at amazon.com
Page through any cocktail recipe book and you’ll find that many of your favorite cocktails are best served in coupes. Crate & Barrel has excellent standard coupes that are also dishwasher-friendly. For special occasions, the thin stems and delicate look of Schott Zweisel’s coupes are a real treat for gimlets and sidecars.
Coupe Cocktail 5.5oz Glass, $5 each at crateandbarrel.com
Schott Zwiesel Air Coupe Glasses, Set of 6, $108 at surlatable.com
Small-batch cocktail syrups from Pratt Standard are an easy way to elevate any drink. Gone are the days of the low-grade Tequila Sunrise—with real grenadine syrup it will taste like trying one for the very first time. The tonic syrup will make a G&T like never before, and the rich simple syrup (made with Demerara sugar) is plenty for dozens of Old Fashioneds.
For spritzes and sangria, some decent-sized wine glasses are great to have on hand. For all-purpose glasses, Libbey’s signature set holds 16 ounces for versatility. For Aperol spritz lovers, Crate & Barrel’s glasses hold 22 ounces for plenty of extra ice (or prosecco). Both are dishwasher-safe, of course.
Spritz Cocktail Glasses, Set of 4, $20 at crateandbarrel.com
Libbey Signature Kentfield Estate All-Purpose Wine Glasses, Set of 4, $40 at amazon.com
For fans of frozen drinks like piña coladas or strawberry daiquiris, a good blender goes a long way. Vitamixes are incredible tools worth the investment, but for an affordable option that does great work on crushing ice and making smoothies, the Ninja Pro Countertop Blender is a smart buy.
Ninja Professional Countertop Blender, $115 at amazon.com
No one wants to sip a fine mixed drink through a plastic straw, nor do they want the experience of a paper straw turning into a soggy mess after five minutes. If you’re serious about highball drinks and tiki cocktails, a good set of metal straws goes a long way. Hiware’s pack comes with multiple lengths and styles, or if metal isn’t your favorite, a glass set from Villeroy and Boch is both attractive and easy to clean.
Hiware Stainless Steel Straws, $12 at amazon.com
Villeroy & Boch Glass Straws - Set of 4, $14 at macys.com
Every great home bar deserves a nice decanter and rocks glasses, and this Viski three-piece set is the ideal gift. Lead-free crystal is key for a good decanter, as well as a proper seal to keep the contents from oxidizing. Whiskey doesn’t need to breathe the same way wine does, so be sure to only add the amount you intend to drink within a day to the decanter. Think of the tool as a means of serving, not storage.
Viski Admiral 3-pc Decanter Set, $50 at surlatable.com
There is plenty of great cocktail literature out there, but start with these three books for your home bar library. The Joy of Mixology is great for history lovers, Cocktail Codex is a delight for learning cocktail fundamentals, and for discovering new options, Be Your Own Bartender is a coffee table page-turner.
The Joy of Mixology: The Consummate Guide to the Bartender's Craft, $26 at amazon.com
Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions, $25 at amazon.com
Be Your Own Bartender: A Surefire Guide to Finding (and Making) Your Perfect Cocktail, $19 at amazon.com
If margaritas are a monthly (or weekly) necessity at home, a proper salt rimmer is a smart investment.
Tablecraft Glass Rimmer Set, $12 at amazon.com
For a proper Manhattan cocktail, the right rye whiskey is a must. Sagamore Spirits makes award-winning American cask strength rye that is served best neat, on the rocks, or in those classic cocktails.
Sagamore Spirit Cask Strength Rye Whiskey, $75 at reservebar.com
Another classic cocktail element that should never be overlooked: the bitters. To balance out simple drinks as well as more complicated mixes, these three bitters are the basics that can take care of most cocktail recipe needs. Angostura, Peychauds, and Regan’s Orange are bartender staples and should be at any home bar too.
Bitters Triple Play, $35 at amazon.com
Olive Serving Bowl
Any real cocktail bar serves up bar nuts and olives, so having a proper olive serving tray on hand is an underrated move. This stoneware piece has a spot for discarded pits as well as toothpicks.
Stoneware Olive Server, $38 at uncommondgoods.com
There are tons of beautiful rocks glasses out there, from Dorset to Trellis patterned styles. Reidel’s set is the perfect marriage of style, durability, and functionality. These crystal glasses were designed for rocks cocktails in mind, they stack with an interlocking base, they can go in the dishwasher, and they look gorgeous next to any bottle or decanter you might buy.
Riedel Drink Specific Glassware Rocks Glass, Set of 2, $30 at macys.com
If you’re working with a wood sideboard or coffee table, a bar tray is a perfect way to protect surfaces and add an element of design. Go with a lacquered version for an understated option, or elevate the space with a glass mirror tray that reflects Art Deco bar style. Both are easy to clean with handles for carrying.
Geo Lacquer Tray, $44 at westelm.com
Bleecker Glass Bar Tray, $75 at potterybarn.com
Tequila or Mezcal
Forget the plastic red cherries of your youth, these sour marasca cherries preserved in Luxardo liqueur are the secret ingredient to a world-class Manhattan. For an added bonus, use them to top sundaes or even cheesecake for dessert.
Luzardo Maraschino Cherries $20 at williams-sonoma.com
For something special, an aged bourbon is a real treat. Widow Jane does some of the best small batches. You can get this one engraved, too.
WIDOW JANE 10-Year-Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey, $68 at flaviar.com
For a big gift or major bar upgrade, a gorgeous bar cart is a great way to display your liquors and tools. West Elm’s Terrace Bar Cart has that old-school aesthetic, but if that’s beyond your budget, the Kinley Cart on Wayfair has the same vibe for a quarter of the price tag.
Kinley Bar Cart, $75 at wayfair.com
Terrace Bar Cart, $400 at westelm.com