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2020 has been an especially difficult year for bartenders. If you have one on your gift list, hopefully this guide will provide some inspiration for ideas that can help make 2021 far, far better!

Gift Ideas for the Professional Bartender

Waterproof Fitness tracker

As bartenders, we are on our feet most of our shift, walking from one end of the bar to the other multiple times in an hour. It can be fun to track how many steps you take during a busy shift and it might be easier to justify that extra piece of chocolate cake or end of the night beer if you hit your 10,000 steps 2 hours into your shift emoji

Bonus: This one (the Fitbit Charge 4) is fairly waterproof and low profile so it’ll be up to the challenge of any bartending shift!

COCKTAIL RECIPE NOTEBOOK

This is one of the best bartender notebooks that I have discovered. It has plenty of room for many cocktails, including the glass that it is meant to be served in, the garnish and notes that you can use for recording any ingredient creation if needed. This is an especially good gift for beginning bartenders.

THE MUDDLER THEY WISH THEY HAD

Why are so many muddlers so terrible? They’re either too short (and make you shred your knuckles every time you make a mojito), made of stuff that’s not dishwasher safe (ahem, wood), and / or they have pointy spikes on the end which ruin your mint and make your drinks bitter. All bad for great drinks.

After years of painful knuckles and bitter mojitos we found a factory to make this muddler for us and I LOVE it. I have, like, 8 of them. They are bomb proof, make great drinks, and depending on your sense of humor, hilariously similar-looking to something else.

Intro to Molecular Mixology Kit

Alright I’ll be honest, I put this on the list for myself. The kit contains all the chemicals and tools that you need to get started experimenting with caviars, and foams. You get some new toys to play with that could elevate your cocktail program as well, what’s not to love?

DIY Bitters Kit

This definitely falls into the “nerdy gift” category along with the molecular mixology kit. You can choose between 8 different “bitters” flavors to make (or give more than one for even more options!) While I haven’t personally tried this kit, it looks like High Desert Botanicals knows what they’re doing. (Bonus: it totally makes you look like a bit of a mad scientist.)

BARWARE OF THEIR OWN

Chances are pretty good, your bartender friend has SOME barware. But do they have really high-end stuff? Maybe they’re just using the equipment from their bar and don’t have a great kit at home.

Solve that problem with our trusty 4-piece kit. This is the same barware we sell to high-end craft cocktail bars, all bundled into a reusable and giftable box. Your bartender friend will LOVE these, I promise.

A SMOKING GUN FOR SMOKED COCKTAILS

Smoked cocktails are really popular right now and I’m surprised how many bartenders said they wanted one of these. This torch comes with wood-chips and has plenty of firepower. (Sorry, couldn’t help it.) This one’s in the “cocktail nerd” category for sure, but a great choice for bartenders who love to experiment.

COMPRESSION SOCKS FOR HAPPY FEET

I know, I know. Socks. But hear me out! Compression socks are perfect for anyone who works on their feet all day – AKA bartenders.

We all know that bartending is a very physical job, and really good compression socks reduce the pain and swelling that’s oh-so-common after a long shift. Plus, they’re super soft and have fun polka dots! Yeah, I like polka dots, #dontjudge.

Edible Flower Garden and Book

Edible flowers are expensive and they don’t last very long when you buy them. If your favorite bartender has a bit of a green thumb, give them the gift of endless edible flowers for their cocktails!

Having edible flowers available to gussy up your latest Instagram creation would be a great gift. Grab the book and pair it with a few seeds or flowers and this could be a great multi-piece gift for the botanically-inclined.

Let’s face it the lifestyle of a bartender makes it very difficult to eat right. Our diet usually consists of whatever is for family meal or whatever we can shove down our face at work. Having fresh ingredients with a plan on how to cook them would be a huge benefit for most of us. Just look at that picture above. Vegetables!!

SPIRITS FOR MIXING & SIPPING

No surprise this is on the list – but booze can also be one of the more intimidating things to buy for a spirits professional. Don’t worry I got you covered! Links below take you to “https://Drizly” where you can order each product to deliver straight to your recipient’s door!

There are 2 basic categories of spirits that you can buy for a bartender: spirits that are functional and less expensive, and spirits that are a bit higher end – intended to be sipped and enjoyed.

Functional Spirits: In the functional group we have some bartender favorites, spirits like Tapatio Blanco 110 (Tequila), Jameson and Rittenhouse Rye would all make a bartender pretty happy. These are great spirits at a good price point – great for mixing but good enough on their own as well.

For the “sipping” group you could aim for the $50 price point and be pretty happy with a lot of spirits.

…Of course a bottle of Green Chartreuse would be a welcome gift, especially if you are going to spiking any hot chocolate during the holidays. (I don’t have a Green Chartreuse problem. I don’t know what you’re talking about.)

A (really) Pro Barware Kit

Most bartenders I know have a barware problem. Whether they collect Hawthorne strainersshakers or bar spoons, chances are pretty good that they would welcome any and all good quality bar tools to add to their collection. Now I’m totally biased, but I think our tools are some of the best! Consider the Set of Three strainers, a couple heavyweight bar spoons or even some cocktail picks to step up their garnish game. Or go hog wild and get the full set!

A Massage

After a long week on your feet, bending over an ice well for 8 hours a day, a massage sounds like the perfect gift to unwind. Even if your favorite bartender isn’t working at the moment or just doesn’t feel safe getting a massage, these gift cards are valid forever (they never expire) so it’ll give them something to look forward to in 2021.

Vintage Bar Equipment

Whether you are looking for old hawthorne or julep strainers, cocktail shakers or seltzer bottles, old bar equipment is like kryptonite for craft bartenders. Take a look through ebay or Etsy to see if you can find a few gems for your favorite bartender this year.

The Gift of Mixology

For bartenders with a few years under their belt, a bit of education can be a great gift – and a great investment. Consider giving the gift of our Mixology Certification Program – an in-depth and fully online video course that teaches you how to design your own balanced and delicious cocktails from scratch!

Learn more about the program here, and use this link if you’d like to buy it as a gift. Oh, and since you made it this far, use coupon code “HOLIDAY2020” for 20% off!

 

 

Chris Tunstall

Co-Founder of A Bar Above and career bartender and mixologist. I love experimenting, creating cocktails, and drinking Green Chartreuse.