Finding the best gift for the budding home bartender in your life isn’t always an easy task. There’s a lot of crap out there, from thin tin cocktail shakers to cocktail “mixes” that add sugar and not much else to your base spirit. This year, let’s go a little bit bigger and better with our gifts for the whiskey, gin, and vodka enthusiasts in our lives. Let’s show some love to our favorite cocktail drinkers, too.
We’ve put together a list of some seriously good tools and booze that we like to use and are thrilled to recommend. This is a mix of great box sets of whiskey, high-quality bar tools, experiences, and even some serious swag for going out on the town and hitting up a bar or two.
Hopefully, the ten gifts below will be just right for that cocktail- or whiskey-minded person in your life. Let’s get into it!
Bevridge American Single Malt Box Set
This is one of the best-looking whisk(e)y box sets we’ve seen in a while. The lineup in this box includes whiskeys from Balcones, Virginia Distillery Co., Westland, Colkegan, Westward, and Boulder. The kit also comes with custom digital content that will take you behind the scenes at each distillery with expert guides providing tasting notes.
The fact that this comes with “custom digital content” is the clincher. Yes, the whiskeys are all fantastic too (we’ve had them all and can vouch for that). But the fact that you’ll be guided through tastings and see where these whiskeys come from (and the people making them) takes the whiskey gift box set to a whole new level.
Elyx Martini Gift Set
A great mixing glass is crucial for making stirred cocktails. This glass from Poland is a great mixing jug that comes with a copper barspoon, jigger, and julep strainer — literally everything you need to get mixing. The glass has unique damask detailing to help it really stand out and match the copper bar tools.
This is made by pros for everyone. The jug is a single piece of crystalline glass, which means it needs to be hand washed and is not dishwasher safe. Otherwise, this is pro gear for anyone looking to up their cocktail game. It also comes in a nice box for presentation and storage.
Michter’s Copper Shaker
A solid shaker is a must for any budding home bar chef. This 500ml Parisian-style shaker is made with stainless steel and plated in copper — giving the shaker a real heft while also making it very solid.
Having a good shaker means you’re able to make great cocktails. You need that heft to stand up to the ice getting beaten around inside the vessel when you shake a drink. Those tin shakers you see at the check-out counter in liquor stores or on sale for $5 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond will crack and fall apart after a while.
This one will last.
Aberfeldy 12 Herbed Honey Smash Cocktail Gift Set
Cocktail gift sets are always a good way to go. The gift of a bottle of good whiskey (or any spirit) with the bespoke ingredients needed to make a specific cocktail is like an adult Lego kit. While we’re calling out an Aberfeldy set that you can get on Reservebar.com, there are a lot of options out there. The point is to get a set that comes with a nice bottle, a nice box, some good glasses, and… maybe something unique. In this case, that means seeds to grow your own herbs for the cocktail and bespoke honey for mixing.
This makes a mean cocktail with a very fresh vibe. The best part is that it’s something interactive and will help build essential cocktail-making skills.
The Markham Collection Marquis by Waterford Double Old Fashioned Glass Set
Great glasses are essential for any home bar. The best place to start is with a set of Old Fashioned (or rocks) glasses. They serve as both a cocktail glass and a regular pour glass. As with the bar equipment above, don’t skimp. Crystal means that the glasses are non-reactive and (as long as they’re cleaned correctly) will not impart any unwanted flavors into your neat whiskey pour or cocktail.
These Double Old Fashioned glasses are big and hefty. You really feel like you’re holding something important in your hand when you’re holding one of these. They’re the sort of glasses that take any whiskey or cocktail-drinking game up from passive to pro.
Todd Synder X Legent Bourbon Selvedge Jacket
This collab between Todd Snyder and Jim Beam celebrates one of our favorite bourbons from last year, Legent. That expression married Kentucky bourbon with Japanese blending to create one of the most unique expressions we’d seen in a while. This year, Todd Snyder crafted this denim jacket to celebrate that feat. The outer denim is died to be reminiscent of whiskey. It’s also very low-key. There are no ostentatious logos on the outside of this one, so whoever is wearing this won’t be a walking advertisement. The inside of the jacket does have a print on the back that explains the collaboration, which is way more our speed.
This limited edition jacket is a winner for any bourbon fan. It’s sleek and not too light (like some jean jackets out there). Also, 50 percent of proceeds from every jacket sold will be donated to Stop AAPI Hate.
Glencairn Whisky Travel Case with 2 Standard Glencairn Glasses
If you really want to get into tasting whiskey or dark rum or any spirit like a pro, you need a Glencairn glass or two. The crystal glass was specifically designed by Scottish whisky drinkers to be the ideal vessel for nosing and tasting a spirit. The base is weighted just right while also providing a handle (so your hand doesn’t warm the bowl while holding it). The size is perfectly throughout to leave enough negative space that allows the spirit’s aromas to build and disperse into your olfactory.
It’s just a perfect sipping vessel — if your giftee is serious about tasting their aged spirits, this is a must.
Getting a set of Glencairns in a nice carrying case is a solid gifting move. Your grateful pal might invite you out for whisk(e)y tasting with these and share a nice bottle to boot.
Distillery Tour/Tasting Experience
Price: Varies ($10 to $60)
This is the gift that’ll keep on giving. A distillery tour is a great chance for your friend to see how their favorite spirit is made. A tasting experience is the delicious icing on the cake of that tour. There’s a deeper understanding and respect you get for a spirit when you see how and where it’s made and possibly meet the people doing all the hard work. That goes even deeper when you get to drink with those people too. It’s something that will really stand out as a great memory for the participant.
Look, we’re not saying buy someone a ticket to Louisville or Nashville, put them up in a hotel, and rent them a car. We’re saying check out what local spirits might be on your friend’s shelf and book them a local tour, maybe get two tickets in case they want to take a partner or even you.
There are distilleries all over America, so there’s a pretty good chance one isn’t too far away from you right now.
Meltdown Ice Ball Press
Okay, this is a crazy gift to buy someone unless they’re really far along their cocktail and spirits journey. The Meltdown takes big square ice cubes and (almost magically) turns them into perfect spheres for your whiskey pours and cocktails. The weight of the copper and the shape of the vessel do all of the work and make ice spheres in a matter of seconds. Then you can put them in a glass and pour your favorite drink over, just like in a fancy whiskey or cocktail bar.
Making perfectly spherical balls of ice might seem unnecessary but there is a good reason. The more surface area you have on an ice cube (or sphere), the less dilution you’ll get as the ice melts (because it’ll melt more slowly). You’re amping up the cooling aspects while lowering the dilution.
Plus, it looks cool. Now… whether it looks cool enough to spend a thousand bucks (or more), that’s up to you.
EDITOR’S PICK: Glenfiddich x Waraire Boswell Sweatsuit
Generally speaking logos on clothes are dumb. You’re a walking billboard. A shill. Forget paying Supreme for that box logo tee — they should be paying you. Where I make the exception is this Glenfiddich x Waraire Boswell sweatsuit. Both the Gledfidditch stag and Boswell’s butterfly “A” are so subtle that you don’t feel like you’re stanning a brand, rather you’re signaling your taste to fellow aficionados. Though the colorway looks like a deep red wine, true Scotch whiskey lovers will know that stag right away, while those in the fashion space will recognize the “A” that hovers above it.
The sweatsuit is 100% French Terry cotton and feels built to last in the way your old man’s crewneck sweatshirts used to feel and most of yours… don’t. It’s cozy yet classy — effectively merging the soothing elements of Scotch with its refined, upscale vibe. Better still, 100 percent of proceeds are directed to the GoFundMe Basic Necessities and Justice & Equality Causes, as well as the GoFundMe.org Small Business Relief Fund. Making this a good suit for a good cause.
Comfortable, stylish, well-cut, and benefitting a worthy nonprofit effort — this is a superb gift all around. The only downside is that very few of us will ever look as good as Boswell himself while wearing it.