Shopping for the ultimate host or hostess in your life? This can be a daunting task, as their home is most likely stocked with everything needed to throw excellent home festivities. So, what do you get the host with the most? Cocktail enthusiasts will appreciate the essentials, such as bar tools and guide books, as much as gorgeous drinkware, decanters, and craft bitters.
Ahead are all the best gifts for home bartenders.
Best Cocktail Maker
Bartesian 55300 Premium Cocktail Machine
Adjustable alcohol strength levels
Mocktail options available
Automatic cleaning cycle after each cocktail
Cocktail capsules sold separately
A coffee maker that uses pods is a quick and convenient way to get a quality cup of joe. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a machine like that for cocktails? Good news: There is. Bartesian’s Premium Cocktail Machine can make delicious craft cocktails with the push of a few buttons. Make highly customizable drinks using your favorite liquor brands and control the strength level in each drink. For those who don’t imbibe, a mocktail setting allows you to create concoctions sans alcohol.
The machine self-cleans after each pour, and many parts are even dishwasher safe. Pour your favorite spirits into the glass capsules, pop in a pre-mixed cocktail pod, press a button, and enjoy.
Price at time of publish: $369.95
Included: 1 Bartesian premium cocktail maker, 5 26-ounce glass spirit bottles with labeled lids (vodka, whiskey, rum, gin, tequila), 1 removable power cord, 1 removable Bartesian bar mat (cocktail capsules sold separately) | Dimensions: 12.5 x 12.75 x 12.25 inches | Weight: 15.7 pounds | Warranty: 1 year
Best Way to Give Back
The Community Spirit Vodka and Cocktail Book
Affordable price tag
The set makes a great gift
Mission to serving the hospitality community
Limited release and retailers
The Spruce Eats Food Editor, Kristin Stangl recommends The Community Spirit Vodka and Cocktail Book limited-edition gift set, available exclusively on Reserve Bar.
"At under $30, this vodka and gorgeous mini-cocktail book gift set is both affordable and impressive," she raves. "The mission behind this spirit, which was launched during the pandemic, was to spotlight bartenders who are changemakers in the hospitality industry, making strides within their communities that go beyond the bar. I was lucky enough to taste some of these inventive vodka cocktails that include ingredients like fresh beet juice, dill infusions, and sugar snap peas."
Price at the time of publish: $27.99
What's Included: 750ML bottle of Community Spirit Vodka, a mini-cocktail book featuring 8 original recipes from bars and bartenders from around the country.
Best Party Gift
Twisted Alchemy Ultimate Holiday Margarita Kit
Includes a jigger and shaker
Variety of interesting flavors
Cold-pressed juices make for the freshest tasting cocktails
Alcohol not included
Heading to a holiday party and want to gift your bartender host with the ultimate party mixer set-up? Opt for quality ingredients and the guarantee that it will please the host and the crowd with Twisted Alchemy's cold-pressed juice based Ultimate Holiday Margarita Kit. Bartenders know that fresh juice is always key to a well-crafted cocktail and margaritas are no exception. Each kit contains enough mixers to create 30 margaritas—just add booze!
Price at time of publish: $99
Includes: 3x 25.4oz bottles of 100% Cold-Pressed Juice - Pomegranate, Three Citrus, Blood Orange; Dried Citrus Wheel Garnish; 3 Packs Gourmet Rimmer Garnish - Habanero Salt, Hibiscus Lime Salt, Gold Sugar; Stainless Steel Cobbler Shaker; Stainless Steel Jigger; Twisted Alchemy Cooler Bag
"I can't rave enough about these cold-pressed juices that serve as the perfect cocktail or mocktail mixer. I love their creative flavors and fresh taste. I highly recommend a mezcal margarita with the Blood Orange and a splash of Three Citrus and Hibiscus Lime Salt!" — Prairie Rose, Drinks Editor
Best Art Prints
Sept and Fly Art Retro Cocktail Posters
Beautiful retro aesthetic
Includes five classic cocktail prints
Digital download only (must print it yourself)
Every home bar needs a bit of décor. If you have a retro aesthetic, these beautiful cocktail posters are for you. The set includes prints of five classic drinks: sangria, espresso martini, Aperol spritz, mojito, and negroni. If other beverages are more your style, there are a whole host of prints to choose from in sets or individual prints—daquiri, piña colada, cosmopolitan, you name it.
Please keep in mind that the purchase gives you a digital download only, so you’ll need to print the pictures at home or go to your local print shop. The upside of printing it yourself is that you have total control over the size and dimensions of the piece, so you can find the perfect fit for your space.
Price at time of publish: $12
Includes: 2 zip files with PDF and high resolution JPEG files of each design
Best Gift Card
Cocktail Kingdom Gift Card
Message can be customized and sent by email
Gift Cards can take 2-3 business days to validate before delivery
For the home bartender who seemingly has everything, sometimes a gift card is the way to go. Cocktail Kingdom is the industry favorite for professional barware and glassware. Even the most casual cocktail enthusiast would be stoked to get a gift card to this mecca for bartenders. The lucky giftee can count on scoring custom barware and retro-style glasses, as well as small-batch bitters and artisanal syrups.
Price at the time of publish: $10-$1,000
What's Included: An e-gift card with a customized message
"A gift certificate to Cocktail Kingdom will leave any home bartender feeling like a kid in a candy shop. From shakers and strainers to opulent and practical glassware, punch bowls, and cocktail books, this online retailer has it all." — Kristin Stangl, Food Editor
Best Wine Rack
West Elm Honeycomb Wine Rack
Holds six wine bottles
Two colors available
A wine rack is much more than just a way to store your favorite bottles—it should be as much a statement as the wine itself. This metallic rack from West Elm holds up to six standard bottles, features an eye-catching honeycomb shape, and comes in two colors: polished brass and matte black. It’s a modern, minimalist piece that will add flair to any room.
Price at time of publish: $60
Holds: 6 standard bottles | Material: Steel | Dimensions: 13.25 x 6.75 x 12.75 inches
Best Bar Cart
West Elm Mid-Century Bar Cart
Beautiful walnut veneer
If you want to take drinks to the deck, backyard party, or any other room in the house besides the bar, you’re going to need a way to transport everything, and this partially wheeled bar cart is a fantastic solution. It has two shelves for booze, glassware, ice buckets, and plenty more.
Since there are only two wheels, the cart is sturdy and won’t roll away, and it has a sleek, modern design. Made of kiln-dried eucalyptus wood, it has an acacia veneer and some walnut finish to boot. Not only does it look good, it will make you feel good, too, since it’s made in a certified fair trade facility using sustainably sourced or recycled wood materials.
Price at time of publish: $549
Material: Brass, acacia, eucalyptus | Weight: 75 pounds | Dimensions: 32.4 x 19.9 x 32 inches
Best Ice Mold
W&P Cocktail Ice Bundle
A variety of molds & trays
Stylish and elegant patterns
Lids don't always attach
W&P has been making modern kitchenware with an eye for contemporary design and sustainable living since 2012. Their eye-popping ice molds continue to land on The Spruce Eats "Best of" lists and have garnered a cult following over the years. This bundle of 4 different trays and molds with intricately patterned designs etched into each one, makes for an elevated evening of cocktails and fancy sips.
Made from 100% LFGB-certified food-grade silicone, these ice molds are easy to release, dishwasher-safe, and odor resistant. There's a reason why their trays and molds have become so popular.
Price at the time of publish: $70
What's Included: Prism Cocktail Ice Mold: 2” over-sized cube with an etched pyramid design; Ripple Cocktail Ice Mold: 2.5” ice sphere featuring a Prohibition Era-inspired ripple pattern; Petal Cocktail Ice Tray: 4 large, 2.5” ice spheres, etched with an Art Nouveau styled petal design; Crystal Cocktail Ice Tray: 4 very large, 2.25” ice cubes with a cut crystal design.
"These are not your ordinary ice molds, no. They are ornate multifaceted Prohibition-Era-style shapes that melt slowly and evenly with minimal dilution. Cheers!" — Kysha Harris, Editor News & Features
Best Cocktail Picks
Williams Sonoma Stainless-Steel Cocktail Picks, Set of 6
Each pick has a different design for easy identification
Not a uniform set
Cocktail picks are to drinks what cherries are to sundaes–the perfect topper. Williams Sonoma has a beautiful set of stainless steel cocktail picks that look pretty in any drink you craft. Great for spearing a garnish, such as olives or a lemon peel, the picks can lay over the top of the glass or in it.
These particular cocktail picks come in a set of six, and each one features a slightly different design. It’s great for when you’re throwing a party or gathering with friends and need an easy way to differentiate everyone’s glass.
Price at time of publish: $19.95
Material: Stainless steel | Includes: 6 cocktail picks
Best DIY Cocktail Kit Collection
Saloonbox Favorites Collection
Comes with six cocktail recipes
Box can include or exclude spirits
Spirits may ship separately
Relatively small yield
Meal kits delivered to your door have gained massive popularity over the past couple years. Maybe it’s no surprise, then, that cocktail kits have followed suit. SaloonBox offers cocktail box subscriptions, but if you want to test it out before committing, try the popular Favorites Collection. The box features six cocktails and comes with enough ingredients to make two drinks each, for a total of 12 signature cocktails. Currently, tasty selections include a fig jam old-fashioned, “That Zing” (with tequila), “Teagroni,” “Bird’s Eye” (with bourbon), “Coming Up Roses,” and orange blossom martini.
You can choose whether or not to include the booze with your purchase–if you do, please note that the spirits ship separately and may not be available in all states. If you order without the booze, you have the power to pick your favorite brands or put a tasty twist on the included recipes.
Price at time of publish: $123.99 (without alcohol), $168.99 (with alcohol)
Includes: Mixers, ingredients, recipe cards, and (optional) spirits for 6 popular cocktails
Best Bitters Set
Hella Cocktail Co. Bitters 5-Pack Set
Bitters add depth and flavor to any cocktail they’re put in, and Hella Cocktail Co. makes a variety of them. This neat set includes both classic flavors, such as orange and aromatic, and more uncommon flavors, such as smoked chili and ginger. Whether you want to add spice or sweetness, this set has you covered.
Price at time of publish: $36.95
Includes: (5) 1.7-ounce bottles of cocktail bitters | Flavors: Citrus, smoked chili, aromatic, orange, ginger
Best Soda Maker
SodaStream Fizzi One Touch Sparkling Water Maker
Includes full-sized CO2 cartridge
Needs an outlet
No drip tray
Sparkling water (also known as soda or seltzer water) adds effervescence to many drinks, including popular cocktails, like the mojito or Tom Collins. If you’re interested in making some of your favorite bubbly cocktails at home, the SodaStream Fizzi One Touch could be a great investment.
The sleek machine makes consistently carbonated seltzers and is simple to use. Available in black or white, the SodaStream secures bottles in place and fills them quickly. Our testers loved the attractive design, consistency of bubbles, and how secure everything felt.
Price at time of publish: $129.99
Material: Metal, plastic | Dimensions: 5.5 x 17 x 5.5 inches | Warranty: 2 years, limited
“On a manual soda maker, you would be pressing a button or pulling a lever to trigger the CO2, but with the Fizzi One Touch, the machine does it automatically.” – Julie Hershman, Product Tester and Writer
Best Shot Glass Set
Tony Holman Handmade Tequila Shot Set
No two designs are the same
Optional handmade tray
Hand wash recommended
This eye-catching shot glass set by Tony Holman is handmade in Texas entirely from stoneware clay, and no two are the same, which makes it easier to keep track of your own. The set comes with six glasses and an optional matching stoneware tray.
While each piece is technically dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended for keeping them in tip-top shape. After all, you’ll want this beautiful set to last a long time. If you end up loving the tray and aren’t interested in the shot glasses, it’s available on its own to use as a serving board, too.
Price at time of publish: $65
Material: Stoneware clay | Shot Glass Dimensions: 1.75 x 2.5 inches | Tray Dimensions: 10.5 x 8.25 x 0.5 inches
W&P Bartender's Knife
Polished walnut handle
Full tang construction
Hand wash only
A good knife is a handy, versatile tool. W&P’s gorgeous bartender’s knife is great for slicing lemons, creating a curlicue from an orange peel, spearing ingredients, and chopping up herbs—whatever your drink requires.
Featuring full-tang construction and a walnut handle, the knife is both sturdy and appealing to look at. The blade itself is 7 inches long and has a forked tip. Hand washing is recommended to preserve the longevity of your knife, and it even comes with a sharpening stone to keep things slicing seamlessly.
Price at time of publish: $35
Material: Stainless steel, walnut, brass | Blade Size: 7 inches | Dimensions: 9 x 2.5 x 1.25 inches
Best Stemless Glass
Uncommon Goods Recycled Stemless Flutes
Hand blown in Morocco
Made from recycled wine bottles
Wide, sturdy bottom
Hands will warm drink quicker than stemmed glasses
Stemmed flutes are great for serving sparkling drinks, such as Champagne or a French 75, since the narrow mouth slows the loss of carbonation. Stems also keep drinks cooler for longer, since the bowl of the glass is away from the warmth of your hand. That said, stemmed glasses can be flimsy and prone to falling over.
If you want a sturdier flute, go stemless. This set includes six flute glasses with a wide base that isn’t easy to knock over. Made from recycled wine bottles, each glass is dishwasher safe and holds about 6 fluid ounces.
Price at time of publish: $42
Material: Recycled glass | Glass Capacity: 6 ounces | Set Count: 6 glasses
Best Vodka Cocktail Kit
Mouth Just Add Vodka
Includes mixers, tote, and 2 old fashioned glasses
Curated syrups from popular brands
Doesn’t come with recipe cards
Vodka lovers will rejoice at this tasty cocktail box. Mouth’s Just Add Vodka kit includes several mixers, including ginger beer syrup, tonic syrup, bloody mary mix, and cucumber mint cocktail syrup. There are also two unbreakable old-fashioned glasses and a cotton tote to carry everything in. All you need to do is add the vodka of your choice for a number of tasty adult beverages.
Price at time of publish: $95
Includes: Ginger beer syrup (16 ounces), tonic syrup (17 ounces), bloody mary mix (32 ounces), cucumber mint cocktail syrup (8 ounces), 2 old-fashioned glasses, cotton tote
Best Ice Molds
W&P Peak Silicone Everyday Ice Tray w/ Protective Lid
Includes protective lid
Comes in multiple colors
Lid doesn't latch shut
Many cocktails call for ice cubes–whether to keep things cool, enhance the aesthetic, or both. Specialized ice cube molds elevate the drink even further with cubed or spherical ice that looks great in a glass. W&P has a great silicone ice tray that creates 1.25-inch square cubes perfect for any kind of on-the-rocks cocktails.
W&P’s tray is made of flexible silicone, which makes it easier to remove ice without fear of cracking the tray. You can actually just flip each compartment inside out to release a cube. One of our commerce editors has owned this tray for years and would never go back to the flimsy plastic version. To top things off the tray comes with a protective lid that keeps ice fresh and free from any freezer smells. It’s available in multiple colors, including charcoal, blue, and speckled pink.
Price at time of publish: $16
Material: Silicone | Cube Size: 1.25 inches | Tray Dimensions: 7.63 x 5.63 x 1.63 inches | Colors: Charcoal, blue, white, speckled pink, speckled white
Le Chateau Wine Decanter
Slanted spout makes for easy pouring
Easily fits 750 milliliters of wine
Simple to clean
Tricky to fully dry
While a decanter may feel like merely a showpiece, there are two reasons wine lovers enjoy breaking out a decanter: The curved design is specifically crafted to aerate and oxygenate a wine, releasing aromas that were closed off in the bottle. Secondly, pouring a wine into a decanter will filter out the sediments present in older, cellared wines.
The design of this lead-free, hand-blown decanter does both of these things, plus it adds visual flair to a happy hour and holds an entire 750-milliliter bottle of wine. A special slanted lip also ensures that you won’t spill a drop when you’re pouring the wine from the bottle to the decanter or from the decanter to your glass, and the flat bottom with a large surface area showcases the nuanced colors of each wine.
Our tester used an inexpensive 2016 Chianti, which, before decanting, smelled acidic and had an overwhelming bitter taste. After two hours of airing out in the Le Chateau, "the wine’s acidic burn softened and the texture became velvety smooth."
Price at time of publish: $43
Material: Handblown crystal | Weight: 2.16 pounds | Dimensions: 8.5 x 8.5 x 10 inches
"Its 100 percent lead-free, handblown crystal construction is lightweight enough that it’s not too cumbersome to pour when filled, but sturdy enough that you won’t fear breaking it with the slightest touch." — Caroline Goldstein, Product Tester
Best Wine Glass Set
Riedel Ouverture Red Wine Glasses
Set of two
Every drink enthusiast—even those who prefer cocktails—needs a solid set of wine glasses. But forget the notion that you need different-shaped glasses for reds, whites, and Champagne—Riedel’s Ouverture glasses are sommelier-approved options for any and every grape varietal.
Many of the glasses from the 300-year-old glassware brand are pricey, but this budget-friendly set is designed for the everyday drinker. They are whisper-thin, gorgeous, and low-effort: Pop them in the dishwasher when you’re done drinking—no tedious hand-washing required.
Not a wine drinker? These versatile, smaller-stemmed wine glasses can just as easily hold beer and cocktails. There’s a reason you will spot these glasses on the bartops of high-end restaurants!
Price at time of publish: $39.97
Material: Crystal glass | Capacity: 12.35 ounces | Height: 7.36 inches
Best Cocktail Set
Cocktail Kingdom Essential Cocktail Set
Great basic set
Comes with mixing glass
Durable stainless steel
Cocktail Kingdom has a fantastic set complete with stainless steel shaking tins, which are weighted for a good, thorough shaking, a Japanese-style jigger for measuring ingredients, a bar spoon for smooth stirring, a strainer, and a mixing glass. If you love cream- or fruit juice-based drinks, then this sturdy shaker will make sure everything is blended properly.
Price at time of publish: $115.94
Includes: Mixing glass, barspoon, jigger, weighted shaking tins, strainer
Best Smoking Gun
Breville PolyScience The Smoking Gun Pro
Includes sample wood chips
Flexible hose allows precision smoke placement
Adjustable smoke intensity
A smoking gun will take an average home bartender to the next level. You may have seen these fancy gadgets in cocktail bars, but they aren’t all for show—they can add some serious flavor to your drinks. If you have someone on your list who loves experimenting and entertaining, this is a gadget they’ll seriously appreciate. This smoking gun from Breville is a bit of a splurge, but it can be used in the kitchen as well to give added flavor to meat, cheese, and more.
Price at time of publish: $149.95
Fuel Type: Electricity | Includes: smoke gun, nozzle extender hose, batteries, replacement smoke screens, instructions, sample wood chips (apple and hickory)
“Smoked bourbon Old Fashioneds is what got me hooked, but now I use this tool to smoke butter, deviled egg filling, and whipped cream for a hint of earthiness that only this smoke show can impart.” — Kristin Stangl, Food Editor
Best Moscow Mule Mugs
Advanced Mixology Moscow Mule Copper Mugs
Classic mule look
Includes copper bar spoon, shot glass, and straws
Also includes coasters
The Moscow Mule is an uber-simple cocktail: just ginger beer, vodka, and lime juice. But there’s one more ingredient many people forget about: a proper mug. Moscow Mules traditionally are always served in a 100 percent copper mug because the metals keep the drinks icy-cold for far longer than regular glass, regardless of the temperature outside or the heat of your hand.
These mugs boast the aesthetic of a classic Moscow Mule mug, with a rounded cup and a hammered finish. Each of the brand’s mugs is made with 100 percent copper and finished with a food-safe lacquer to prevent drinkers from copper tarnish.
Perfect for the home entertainer, the set comes with all you need to whip up a batch of refreshing cocktails, including a stirring spoon, coasters, copper cocktail straws, a shot glass for measuring, and, for when it’s time to call it a night, a special brush for cleaning copper.
Price at time of publish: $49.97
Includes: 4 mugs, 4 straws, 4 coasters, 1 shot glass, 1 spoon, 1 cleaning brush
Best Whiskey Stones
Barleo Whiskey Stones Gift Set
Reusable and won’t dilute drinks
Pack of nine
Dark stone aesthetic
A little small
This set is excellent if you’re shopping for someone who loves their sipping spirits: rums, whiskeys, and more. Though whiskey stones are a bit controversial among purists, some people prefer using them so as not to dilute drinks with melting ice cubes. Simply chill them in your freezer for at least two to three hours and place them in your drink for a slight chill that will not affect the taste or quality of your spirits.
This set includes nine small chilling stones made from FDA-approved and BPA-free soapstones, a handsome wood box in which to store them, and a black velvet pouch. We recommend storing them in the freezer so you’re always ready for a drink.
Price at time of publish: $13
Includes: 9 whiskey stones, velvet storage bag, wooden gift box, instructions
Best Punch Bowl
Mikasa Akimbo 8 Piece Punch Bowl Set
Punch bowls are a classic feature at barbecues and holiday parties, and this one is as fashionable as it is functional. This glass bowl has a simple, yet elegant shape and generous 11-quart capacity. The accompanying drinkware mirrors the shape of the bowl, as well, making it a nice matching set.
The clear plastic ladle has small pointed spouts on the sides to help pour drinks smoothly, whether you’re making a summery sangria or a cozy mulled wine.
Price at time of publish: $109.99
Materials: (Bowl) Glass, (glasses) crystal, (ladle) plastic | Capacity: (Bowl) 11 quarts, (glasses) 10 ounces, (ladle) 6 ounces
Best Whisky Glasses
Norlan Whisky Glass
Stunning double-wall design
Reduces ethanol burn
Designed for aeration and funneling aromatics
Pricey for only two glasses
These glasses are not your standard snifters. These innovative whiskey glasses were born out of a small Kickstarter and turned into a wildly successful full-blown brand. Instead of carefully crafted crystal or hand-blown glass, designer Sruli Recht, brand director Brian Fichtner, and CEO Shane Bahng use a 3D printer to create a glass that perfectly showcases the notes of Scotch.
They worked with a panel of whiskey experts to craft the perfect glass, using biomimicry and fluid dynamic modeling to create a hybrid of a tumbler and a nosing glass. The 7-ounce glass has a double-walled design to protect the liquid from the heat of your hand. The round outer wall fits easily in your hand, just as a tumbler would, but the tulip shape of the inner glass highlights the nose and flavors of your favorite sipping spirit.
Price at time of publish: $48
Material: Borosilicate glass | Capacity: 5.9 ounces | Weight: 4.4 ounces
“These are a fun way to share a dram with friends. They actually feel sturdier in the hand than you’d expect. But because Norlan doesn’t recommend them for the dishwasher, I probably wouldn’t use them on a daily basis.” — Nicholas McClelland, Product Tester
Best Coupe Glasses
Riedel Veritas Coupe Glasses, Set of 2
Made of crystal glass
Only a set of two
If you’re a fan of cocktails like sidecars, daiquiris, Manhattans, or gimlets, you’ll need some reliable coupe glasses at home. Meant for drinks that are shaken, strained, and served without ice, the coupe’s tall stem prevents your hand from warming the drink. This pair from Riedel has an elegant appearance and 8.5-ounce capacity. Made of crystal glass, they’re a bit fragile, but will make any cocktail picture-worthy.
Price at time of publish: $79
Material: Crystal glass | Capacity: 8.5 ounces | Dimensions: 9.75 x 5 x 11.2 inches
Best Margarita Glasses
Libbey Cactus Margarita Glasses, Set of 4
Dishwasher- and freezer-safe
Cactus color won’t fade
A bit large
A staple of many Mexican restaurants, these fun cactus-themed margarita glasses are a great way to start a party. They’re thick and durable, holding up to 16 fluid ounces each. Love a good frozen drink? You can safely put these glasses in the freezer to chill before serving. Better yet, they’re dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. The vibrant green of the cactus stem won’t fade or dull in color over time, so you can expect to party on for years to come.
Price at time of publish: $35
Capacity: 16 ounces | Weight: 1 pound | Dimensions: 4.38 x 4.38 x 6.25 inches
A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World
Features over 200 interviews
Contains 40 cocktail recipes
Writing can be stiff at times
This is undoubtedly one of the most detailed books on the history of the recent craft cocktail renaissance. Penned by The New York Times cocktail writer Robert Simonson, the book walks through America’s cocktail scene, detailing the most important figures, drinks, and bars that brought us the cocktails we drink today—covering everything from the neon-hued drinks of the ’80s to the suspender-and-mustache bartender era of the early 2000s.
The book also includes a list of 40 cocktails, including 25 modern classics and 15 must-know cocktails compiled from the famous figures mentioned in the book. For cocktail geeks, "A Proper Drink" contains engaging anecdotes and tidbits on drinking culture. It’s less a recipe book and more a colorful tale of cocktails old and new.
Price at time of publish: $27
Pages: 352 | Published: 2016 | Formats: Hardcover, e-reader
Best Coffee Table Book
Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
Focuses on contemporary craft cocktails
Contains 500+ cocktail recipes
Includes history and bartending tips
Some recipes impractical for home bars
Death & Co has long been lauded as one of the best cocktail bars in the world, known for boundary-pushing cocktails and tough-to-snag reservations. The bar has gathered much of this experience into a beautiful coffee-table book, filled with full-color photos, charming anecdotes on the bar’s history and favorite customers, and of course, some of the bar’s award-winning recipes.
Daniel Thomas, Bar Manager of Hilton’s San Diego Bayfront highly recommends Modern Classic Cocktails. “I enjoy this book because it includes a comprehensive summary of many tools, techniques, and inviting recipes that are so incredibly fun and important to the beverage enthusiast. It also includes stories and ‘regulars’ of the original Death & Co in New York City, which provides insight into the culture and vibe of D&C. Whenever I hit a creativity wall, I look to this book for inspiration.”
Price at time of publish: $40
Pages: 320 | Published: 2014 | Formats: Hardcover, e-reader, spiral-bound
Best for Crushed Ice
McSology Lewis Bag Mini
100 percent natural cotton canvas
Encased seams to prevent blowouts
Mallet sold separately
There’s just something special about a drink with crushed ice in it, and the McSology Lewis Bag Mini can help you make quality crushed ice at home. It’s made of sturdy cotton canvas, and the seams are both reinforced and encased so they won’t rip. After inserting ice into the bag, smash it to your desired size. (McSology sells a wooden mallet separately.) The bag wicks away moisture, so you don’t have to worry about wet ice watering down your lemonade, Moscow mule, or mint julep.
Price at time of publish: $35
Material: Cotton canvas, faux leather | Dimensions: 16 x 8.5 inches
What to Look for in Gifts for a Home Bartender
If you want to get someone a bar-themed gift, make sure they don’t already have the item you’re considering (or if they do have it and are in need of replacing, try to gift them a higher-quality version). For example, most home bartenders are already going to have a standard bottle opener, but do they have a muddler or set of coupe glasses? Cocktail books are always a good bet, too, since they contain interesting cocktail recipes for the recipient to try.
Want to buy your loved one a bottle? Make sure the drink fits their palate or interests. It’s always a sure bet to get them something you know they like, but it’s also interesting to find new drinks that are similar. An American whiskey lover might find Scotch whisky a neat change of pace, or someone who loves prosecco could enjoy a sparkling rosé.
Taste goes beyond just flavors, of course. If you know someone who loves Japanese history, for example, try giving them a bottle of sake. Someone who loves alcohol through the lens of American history might like a book about speakeasies. Additionally, you could look for gifts that fit their aesthetic. Maybe find a wine glass in a certain color or design that fits the recipient’s style.
When shipping anything of a delicate nature, safe packaging is important. Many online vendors will detail how their items are packaged and shipped. Common safe packaging includes styrofoam peanuts, bubblewrap, crinkle paper, bagged air, and foam blocks. In the unfortunate situation that something arrives broken, most vendors will also have a warranty or return policy and send a replacement.
What is a good gift for a bartender?
Many home bartenders will already have their own shakers or bottle openers, but how many do you know have cocktail smokers or food dehydrators? To take their home bartending up a notch, consider giving them helpful preparation tools, such as citrus juicers or microplanes. Items like decanters, whiskey stones, and ice molds are also great gifts, since they can enhance drinks to another level of tastiness.
What are the differences between cocktail glasses?
Though initially it may seem that a glass is just a glass, the design plays an important role. Some are made to keep drinks chilled and away from the heat of your hand, while others funnel aromas to your nose. Here are a few types of common cocktail glasses.
- Collins: Similar to a highball glass, the Collins is tall and narrow, allowing for more ice to keep drinks cold.
- Coupe: Coupes have long stems with shallow bowls—great for strained drinks served without ice.
- Flute: Iconic at New Year’s Eve parties, the flute’s long shape keeps sparkling drinks bubbly.
- Red Wine: These glasses have wide bowls to let the wine aerate and long stems to keep them from hands that will spoil the temperature and aroma.
- White Wine: Thinner than their red counterparts, white wine glasses funnel the aroma to the drinker’s nose.
- Rocks: Rocks glasses are wide and short, allowing for big ice cubes. Some people use the term lowball or old-fashioned glass synonymously with rocks.
- Martini: A classic V-shaped glass, this type is made to control temperature and deliver aromas with each sip.
- Margarita: These glasses are formed in a double-bowl shape and keep drinks cool with a long stem. The wide brim also allows for plenty of salt garnish.
Curious about which cocktails or drinks go in which glasses? Let’s cover a few.
- Collins: Tom Collins, paloma, gin fizz, Long Island iced tea, dark ‘n stormy
- Coupe: Daiquiri, bee’s knees, Manhattan, sidecar, corpse reviver no. 2
- Flute: French 75, mimosa, bellini, Champagne
- Red Wine: Sangria, jubilee, red wine
- White Wine: Aperol spritz, kir, white wine
- Rocks: Straight whiskey, old-fashioned, white Russian, negroni
- Martini: Aviation, lemon drop, gimlet, cosmo
- Margarita: Frozen margaritas, blue Hawaii, red guitar
Keep in mind, these are not hard and fast rules, but rather guidelines. Many of these drinks work perfectly fine in other types of glasses.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Kate Dingwall is a sommelier and spirits writer. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for five years and has her BarSmarts and WSET certification.
Allison Wignall, who updated this article, is a writer who focuses on food and travel. She’s traveled to vineyards around the world, learning about wine from the experts themselves. She also loves trying to recreate cocktail recipes at home with her friends–her absolute favorite being the dark ‘n stormy. Allison’s work has been featured in publications, such as Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Southern Living.
Food and Drug Administration. Bisphenol A (BPA): Use in food contact application.