While it seems like 2020 has been a total time-warp, we’re already swapping out rum for 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? (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, cocktail enthusiasts, and cocktail novices alike. We even have a few recs for those who love a mocktail or two. Enjoy!

Cocktail and Mocktail Book Gifts:

Sure, you can look up drink recipes 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. Here are a few that we’re loving.

Beautiful Booze by Natalie Migliarini 

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

So, everything we just said about “Beautiful Booze”, copy here. Except these drinks are non-alcoholic. Whether you’re planning on participating in dry-January, or just interested in that teetotaler lifestyle. This book has hundreds of recipes and BEAUTIFUL photos. Again, art.

Small Gifts for the Cocktail Lover

A Bar Above Cocktail Picks: Stainless or Copper

Whether you need a host gift, a stocking stuffer, or a gift for Hannukah, these cocktail picks are a great…pick (see what we did there). Great for stuffed olives, fruit, or even for hors d’oeuvres, this compact and affordable gift item is both thoughtful and useful for the foodie and cocktail lover alike.

Cocktails2Go Mini Cocktail Kit

So, here’s the deal. MANY cocktail companies 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 these fit the bill. Plus, they’re pretty darn cute.

Bougie Home Bar Gifts:

A Bar Above Stirred Cocktail Set: Stainless or Copper

Is there anything more beautiful for your home bar than a mixing glass and some sleek 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 for the martini, old fashioned, and manhattan lover. 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.

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 when your “friend” is on their eighth-night of vodka drinks since we’re all stuck at home…(we get it, you’re the friend).

Gifts for the Cocktail Novice:

A Bar Above 4-Piece Craft Bar Set: Stainless or Copper

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. Comes in two beautiful finishes, plus it will last for a REALLY long time. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

A Bar Above 14-Piece Cocktail Set: Stainless or Copper

Is the cocktail newbie in your life suddenly REALLY interested in cocktails? Got a friend who needs a new hobby and likes to go “all-out”? Well, our complete set has everything needed to measure, shake, and strain the perfect drink. (It’s the exact same tools we sell to high-end cocktail bars – the real deal!)

Gifts for the Cocktail Expert:

A Bar Above 14-Piece Cocktail Set: Stainless or Copper

This isn’t a mistake…what’s good for the novice is good for the expert! 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 pickiest cocktail lover very happy.

For some…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 fun shaped molds!

So, this may not be the most aesthetically pleasing gift you’ll give. 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 cubes.

We recently covered smoked cocktails on our podcast, and why we’re loving them as the temperatures drop. No campfire required.

Gifts for Everyone:

Have someone in your life who you know could use a drink? Like a gooood drink? Let them pick out what they need and get them a gift card for new bar tools. It’s the perfect gift…especially for the last-minute shopper.

Black-Owned Spirits

This year, like many of you, we’ve really opened our eyes 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 folks are doing in the spirits world that so often goes unnoticed.

Launched in 2017 by Chaunci King, Rex Whiskey is the second spirit by the Royalty Spirits company. And it remains the only Black woman owned spirits company 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 is caramelized brown sugar, rye spice, and vanilla, making it an easy sipping rye or a great base for an Old Fashioned.

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 any cocktail. 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.

We hope you’re able to find a gift or two here for someone in your life, and we’ve made this stressful year a little brighter for you and your loved ones. Or for you. It’s been a rough year, so treat yourself.  

Buying something off this list? 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.