Photo copyright A Bar Above

While it seems like 2021 has been yet another total time-warp, we’re already swapping out summer rum for winter whiskey. Which means…it’s almost the holidays.

I don’t know about you, but I think we are all missing out on in-person foodie and cocktail bar experiences, so we thought…why not bring that experience home with these gift ideas? (Spoiler: We definitely included some of our own stuff because, well, it’s the best.)

Here’s our list of top gifts for cocktail lovers, professional bartenders, and cocktail novices alike. We even have a few recs for those who prefer their cocktail recipes sans alcohol. Enjoy!

Cocktail and Mocktail Book Gifts

Sure, you can look up recipes for an array of cocktails online (ahem, such as on our blog). But there’s something about having a beautifully-curated book in your library, on your counter, or casually laid across your bar. It’s the perfect backdrop for a great Instagram post. Here are a few that are sure to inspire your cocktail creations..

Photo courtesy of Natalie Migliarini of Beautiful Booze

We are saps for well-developed cocktails. We are even BIGGER saps for beautiful cocktail photography. This cocktail recipe book has both. It features easy-to-follow recipes that are well-written, drinks for all different experience levels, and gorgeous photos, which make this book a work of art.

Photo courtesy of The Alinea Group

So, everything we just said about “Beautiful Booze,” copy here– except these refreshing cocktails are non-alcoholic. Whether you’re planning on participating in dry-January or just interested in that teetotaler lifestyle, this book has hundreds of cocktail ideas and BEAUTIFUL photos. Again, art.

Stock photo courtesy of Kingston Imperial

You weren’t expecting this one, were you? I’ll say this one is for your friends with a good, somewhat naughty sense of humor. 

Also featuring absolutely gorgeous photography and a wide variety of drinks based on the names and lyrics of T-Pain songs, it’s not necessarily suitable for work– unless, of course, you work at a company like ours where we pass this book around quite readily and then dance to T-Pain while drooling over the drinks. You know you want in!

Small Gifts for the Cocktail Lover

A BAR ABOVE COCKTAIL PICKS: STAINLESS STEEL, COPPER, OR GOLD

Photo copyright A Bar Above

Whether you need a host gift, a stocking stuffer, or a gift for Hanukkah, these cocktail picks are a great…pick (see what I did there). Perfect for stuffed olives, fruit, other garnishes, or even for hors d’oeuvres, this compact and affordable gift item is both thoughtful and useful for the foodie in your life and your cocktail-obsessed friend.

COCKTAILS2GO MINI COCKTAIL KIT

Photo courtesy of Cocktails 2 Go

So, here’s the deal. MANY companies like ours might find pre-made kits too “basic.” But we don’t like to take ourselves too seriously!

Sometimes, there’s the need for both portability AND a mixed drink, and this carry on cocktail kit fits the bill. Plus, they’re pretty darn cute. Who knew you could fit all the mixing ingredients you need for some of your favorite drinks in such a small package?

PUFFIN DRINK WEAR

OK, this is just too fun to not include. If you have people on your gift list who love beer, wine, or canned mixed drinks, Puffin drink wear is sure to make them smile! Way cuter than a traditional koozie, Puffin also claims to keep your drink 20% colder– but that’s just a bonus in our books!

You can buy online and in several different stores (listed on their website’s store locator), including REI. Please tag us in pictures if you put these on any of your drinks!

Bougie Home Bar Gifts

A BAR ABOVE STIRRED COCKTAIL SET: STAINLESS STEEL, COPPER, OR GOLD

Photo copyright A Bar Above

Is there anything more beautiful for your home bar than a mixing glass and some sleek bar spoons? Nope. And lucky for you, we’ve put them both into one kit (along with a strainer, jigger, and cocktail picks!), making it the perfect present to help make stirring drinks that much easier– and more stylish!

This kit was a labor of love for us, and we’re excited to make it the best gift your loved one receives this year.

Photo courtesy of onepartco.com

So, we all have that friend who is impossible to shop for, right? Maybe YOU are that friend? Maybe they’re not the biggest cocktail purist, but they sure love something that looks–and tastes–luxurious.

Enter infusion kits. These come in a bunch of different flavors and are truly a unique way to switch things up and make an amazing drink when your “friend” is stuck in a rut… (We get it: You’re the friend).

BAR CART

Photo by Blake Carpenter via Unsplash

What’s more swanky than a gorgeous bar cart? Very little, really. And it’s so functional for holding both booze and your always-necessary bar tools. You can buy new or shop vintage at your local antique store.

Gifts for the Cocktail Novice

A BAR ABOVE 4-PIECE CRAFT BAR SET: STAINLESS, GOLD, OR COPPER

Photo copyright A Bar Above

The best of the basics! For the person who doesn’t know where to start, we’ve included what is needed to create most cocktails in this barware kit. This set comes in three beautiful finishes; plus, it will last for a REALLY long time. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

GLASSWARE

Photo by Rick Barrett via Unsplash

If you know someone just starting out in their home bar journey, amazing cocktail glassware is a very thoughtful gift. Don’t know what kind to get? We have a comprehensive guide on our blog to get you started! There are some really affordable glasses on Amazon and at Crate & Barrel, but vintage glassware is also a lovely gift for cocktail lovers who like to show a little personality. 

A BAR ABOVE 14-PIECE COCKTAIL SET: STAINLESS STEEL, GOLD, OR COPPER

Photo copyright A Bar Above

Is the cocktail newbie in your life suddenly REALLY interested in mixed drinks? Got a friend who needs a new hobby and likes to go “all-out?” Well, give the gift of a perfectly-balanced cocktail! Our complete set has everything needed to measure, shake, and strain the perfect drink– a shaker, spoon, strainers, jigger, muddler, and picks. Oh my!

It’s the exact same tools we sell to high-end cocktail bars – the real deal! Pair it with a mixing glass, and your friend will be all set for years to come.

Gifts for the Cocktail Expert

A BAR ABOVE 14-PIECE COCKTAIL SET: STAINLESS STEEL, GOLD, OR COPPER

Photo copyright A Bar Above

This isn’t a mistake… What’s good for the novice is good for the professional bartender! There’s nothing better than getting new bar tools if you’re a cocktail lover. And we might be biased, but ours are the best. Designed for mixologists, this kit has everything to make the perfect bartender gift.

Photo courtesy of Tovolo

For a true cocktail enthusiast or experienced bartender, ice is so much more than ice. The clarity of a large, slow-melting cube in your favorite mixed drink elevates the experience. There’s no simpler way to take your cocktails to the next level. Plus…Tovolo has some molds in fun shapes!

Photo courtesy of Clearly Frozen

So, this may not be the most aesthetically-pleasing gift you’ll give to your bartender buddy. But if you have a true cocktail lover in your life, they won’t care. The benefit of this version is volume–some of the more refined-looking clear ice makers will only get you four or maybe six cubes–whereas this bad boy makes you ten lovely, clear ice cubes.

Photo courtesy of Smoke Top

We recently covered smoked cocktails on our podcast and why we’re loving them as the temperatures drop. Your favorite career bartender will certainly appreciate the ability to take their drinks to the next level, which makes this one of our top gifts for bartenders.

Pair it with a smoking torch or check out one of the many smoking guns on the market if you want to go that route. No campfire required.

Photo copyright A Bar Above

Have someone in your life who could use a drink? Like a gooood drink? Let them pick out their own perfect bar gift by getting them a gift card for new bar tools. It’s the perfect gift…especially for the last-minute shopper.

Black-Owned Spirits

Like many of you, we’ve really opened our eyes this year to the lack of diversity in the bar business. So we’ve picked a few great bottles crafted by Black spirits producers to try to highlight the work these companies are doing that so often goes unnoticed. 

You can enjoy your spirit of choice while celebrating Black distillers. Here’s to finding your new favorite bottle!

Stock photo courtesy of REX whiskey

Launched in 2017 by Chaunci King, Rex Whiskey is the second spirit by the Royalty Spirits company, and it is the first spirits company owned by a Black woman in the Pacific Northwest. (We love women in the bar and alcohol industry!) 

Rex Whiskey is the perfect bottle to add to your bar for the holidays with its warm aromas of apple, toffee, and red wine. Its taste combines caramelized brown sugar, rye spice, and vanilla, making it an easy sipping rye whiskey or a great base for an old fashioned and other classic cocktails. 

Whiskey lovers will thank you ten fold for such a thoughtful gift!

Photo courtesy of Ten to One Rum

The mission of Ten to One Rum is to create “A contemporary and elevated blend, created to challenge expectations and reinvigorate the way people taste, experience, and talk about rum.” Founder Marc Farrell successfully brought his Caribbean roots and culture to the US through both the bright white and complex dark rum. 

If you’re not already sold, I also noticed that neither variety has sugar, color, or flavoring added–making them an amazing base for a multitude of delicious cocktails. 

So scratch what we said in our intro about swapping out whiskey for rum–This one is staying on rotation when we need to feel a touch of the islands on cold winter nights.

Stock photo courtesy of Loft & Bear Vodka

This L.A.-based distillery produces an award-winning bottle of vodka that has the spirits world raving. It’s buttery and vanilla-forward, a great example of “new” vodka with lots of character  and– gasp!– actual flavor (and an excellent gift or the perfect addition to your next cocktail party). 

If you’re not so sold on vodka, this may actually be the one for you! They identify their spirit as “the whiskey-drinkers vodka,” and it is distilled from organic winter wheat, giving it light, wheaty flavor notes that mix with the sweetness of vanilla. 

FROM YOUR AMATEUR BARTENDER FRIEND TO THE MIXOLOGY EXPERT: WHICH GIFTS DO YOU CHOOSE?


We hope you’re able to find the perfect cocktail gift for cocktail lovers in your life and that we’ve helped make this stressful year a little brighter for your loved ones. Or for you. It’s been a rough year, so treat yourself to your favorite spirit, essential bar tools, or any other special gift you have your eye on.  

Buying something from our selection of cocktail gifts? We’d love to see it, or better yet…the cocktail you make with it! Be sure to tag us on Instagram at @ABarAbove. And if you’re looking for more inspiration, motivation, or even a community to talk about cool bar things with, join our Craft Cocktail Club on Facebook!

Happy Holidays… and happy mixing!

 

Julia Tunstall

Julia Tunstall is the co-founder of A Bar Above and Chief Cocktail Taster. She's in charge of keeping things running smoothly around here, but you'll also find her stopping by on the Mixology Talk Podcast or hanging around the Craft Cocktail Club.