Bartenders Tell Us The Best Boozy Gifts To Give This Holiday Season


Bartenders always seem to be in the giving mood. They give us life advice as we sit across from them on our bar stools. They mix up the cocktail ingredients and give us our favorite mixed drinks (as long as we pay for it). Sometimes they even give us extra bar nuts if we look really hungry. But all this giving year round doesn’t stop them from handing out gifts to friends, family, and favorite customers during the holiday season. And, since they make cocktails for a living, they know a thing or two about cool, bar-related, sometimes booze-related gifts.

Who better to ask about these types of gifts, right? That’s why we hit up some of the most well-known bartenders in the country to tell us the boozy gifts they’ll be giving this holiday season. Check them out below. Maybe you’ll get some ideas for the home-bartender (or professional bartender) in your life.

Cocktail barrel

Megan Ardizoni, Beverage Director at VANDAL in New York City

“I love giving friends a small barrel and a recipe card for their favorite boozy cocktail to barrel age. (think Negroni, old fashioneds, manhattans, etc…). It’s the gift that keeps giving.”

Buy it here for $84.95

Koriko Shaker

Clayton Mannix, head bartender at The Lodge at Gallow Green in New York City

“A Koriko shaker set and a Hawthorne strainer. They are good for making anything and weighted nicely.”

Buy it here for $16.98

Ice bucket

Mike Jones, head bartender at Sable Kitchen & Bar in Chicago

“An ice bucket—a really nice ice bucket. Whether your recipient drinks cocktails, wine or beer, everyone can use an ice bucket. When entertaining, I am forever looking for a vessel for ice service. My ice maker can never keep up and it keeps the ice close to the bar.”

Buy it here for $29.99

German beer stein

Johnny Livanos, Bar Program Director at Ousia in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC

“I think the best gifts are those hard to find items that you have to find on a trip or vacation. Like a bottle of Mezcal from Oaxaca, or a rare Grappa from Italy! Or maybe some special beer mugs from Germany! I think those are the most thoughtful and memorable.”

Buy it here for $117.85

Jerry Thomas’s ‘The Bartender’s Guide’

Tomas van den Boomgaard, bar manager at Travelle Kitchen + Bar in Chicago

Jerry Thomas’ The Bartender’s Guide is a must-have in every household. It’s a great gift for everyone – especially people with no bartending background.”

Buy it here for $15.98

Tiki book

Jason Kirmse, Partner at Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group in San Francisco

“I can’t stop flipping through Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean by Jeff Berry. Even if you’re not into swilling fruity rum drinks, the pictures and stories of Tiki lore alone would be a joy for anyone to receive.”

Buy it here for $29.47

Sizzler bottle re-capper

Jim Meehan, partner and bartender at Prairie School in Chicago

“The Sizzler (a stainless steel tool to seal a bottle shut).”

Buy it here for $8.21

Barware roll-up

Sean Potter, director of food and drink at Stoke in Charlotte, North Carolina

“On the expensive side – the Cocktail Kingdom Barware Roll-Up Kit. It has pretty much everything you need to get going. On the inexpensive side – a really good quality wine cork screw. Nothing can be worse than trying to open a nice bottle of wine for the holidays and butchering it because your wine key sucks.”

Buy it here for $42.75

Large ice cube trays

TJ Annese, bartender at Ani Ramen House in Jersey City, New Jersey

“You can give a man a syrup.. Or you can teach a man to make a syrup and he can make all the syrups ever known to man.. Or something along those lines… But in all seriousness give them large ice cube trays. People go crazy for them for no reason.”

Buy it here for $12.97

Copper mugs

Roman Tartakovsky, Beverage Director at Hudson’s Pier 81

“My best recommendation is to get your friends some copper, like mugs or dinnerware. This fun and luxurious push is a nice look for the modern household, despite the vintage look of the material.”

Buy it here for $21