Some people enjoy making their own jam preserves, others love to bake and then there are those amongst us who simply cannot resist mixing their own delicious cocktails! Unlike standard alcoholic beverages, cocktails provide a feast for the senses with their unique burst of flavours, colourful garnishes and exquisite glass wear. No wonder, cocktail happy hour is such a popular choice for a girls’ night out!
With the season of gift giving fast approaching, everyone will be searching for thoughtful presents to give their loved ones. When browsing for cocktail gifts for your giftee’s ever-growing cocktail kit, the choices are undeniably vast. To help ignite your inspiration, we’ve compiled a list of 15 incredible gifts for cocktail lovers that they are sure to love. Ranging from cocktail shakers to recipe books and AeroGardens, each item is guaranteed to help them build a well-stocked home bar they will be proud to show off at their next cocktail party.
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Top 15 Gifts for Cocktail Lovers
1. Cocktail Shaker
As any cocktail enthusiast would confirm, no cocktail making kit would be complete without a good cocktail shaker! For cocktails that need a good shake to be thoroughly mixed and chilled, it is possible to use any of three different types of cocktail shakers:
- Cobbler shaker. The cobbler shaker is perhaps the most popular choice for making cocktails at home. Consisting of 3 parts: a metal tin, a cap, and a built-in strainer, the cobbler shaker is designed for ultimate ease of use, especially for cocktail lovers who are just embarking on their cocktail making journey. It even measures out the liquid in 1oz, eliminating the need for a jigger and is available in different colours and designs.
- Boston shaker. This glass-on-tin shaker is the go-to shaker for the majority of bartenders and expert mixologists. Although this type of shaker requires more skill and extra attachments, when handled well, it is also faster and considerably more efficient.
- French/Parisian shaker. The Parisian shaker is a mix between the Cobbler and Boston shaker but boasting a distinctly stylish design. Despite having been around for centuries, it is only recently that this shaker gained the recognition it deserves. Like the Boston shaker, it misses the built in attachments – which merely offers the opportunity to purchase the best attachments on the market – but is as easy to use as the cobbler!
2. Double Jigger
Of course, precision is a key element of cocktail making. A double jigger is a bar essential that allows for accurate liquid measurements when brewing a delicious cocktail. Acting like a small measuring cup which may be held between the fingers, a double jigger ensures swift and precise measuring and more efficient pouring. Once the technique is mastered, any cocktail lover will enjoy how professional wielding a double jigger makes them look.
3. Bar Spoon and Mixing Glass
Stirred not shaken, please! Whilst some cocktails need to be properly shaken, others must be stirred to produce a clear drink which is considerably more dense and less diluted. In such cases, the cocktail shaker must be set aside in favour of a long bar spoon and a mixing glass. When gifting a mixing glass and spoon, there are some finely crafted options to choose from, some of which are stunningly made out of precious material such as crystal or antique copper.
4. Ice-Cube Tray
There is something thoroughly satisfying about dropping a couple of ice-cubes in a glass and hearing their merry chink as one sips. A well-chilled cocktail is certainly more delicious, which is why any cocktail lover would appreciate a good ice-cube tray to make the best of cocktails. Indeed, not all ice-cube trays are made equally, some are made of silicone for easy extraction whilst others are made of solid metal and sold with their own stand.
5. Ice Ball Maker
For a more luxurious choice, forgo the traditional ice-cube trays altogether and opt for an ice-ball maker instead. Instead of common cubes of ice, this produces perfectly round and crystalline clear ice balls that are ideal for whisky and tantalising gourmet cocktails. From smaller ice-ball moulds to large ice-ball makers, a variety of ice-ball makers may be found on the market ready to transform an ordinary drink into a posh experience.
A muddler is also quite an important bartender’s tool. When fruits, herbs and spices are squeezed in the bottom of the glass using a muddler their unique taste is released, yielding a delicious cocktail that is packed with flavour. Mojitos, the Old-fashioned and the Caipirinha are amongst the most popular classic cocktails for which a muddler is needed.
7. Cocktail Strainer
When using a Boston or a Parisian shaker, a good cocktail strainer is one of the most essential tools needed. This helps to sift out solid materials such as ice, fruit and other solids that should not be part of the final cocktail.
- Hawthorne Strainer. This strainer is possibly the most commonly used strainer. Featuring a flat piece of holed metal, the Hawthorne strainer is lined with a flexible spring that is designed to filter out any unwanted solids. It fits perfectly on mixing tins and is easily adaptable to differently sized shakers.
- Julep Strainer. The Julep Strainer is the original strainer dating back to the mid-1800s. Featuring a a long handle and a perforated bowl-shaped cup, this strainer is easily held over a mixing glass.
- Fine Mesh Strainer. When dealing with small solids, a mixologist will find that a fine mesh strainer is needed to ensure that the cocktail is properly strained. This is typically used in addition to the Hawthorne and Julep Strainer to achieve a maximum level of filtration.
8. Cocktail Glasses
Part of the joy of sipping an appetising cocktail lies in the presentation. Somehow, a dirty Martini with two olives just doesn’t taste the same in a common water glass and nobody would dream of drinking their Piña Colada out of a coupe glass! This is why a set of cocktail glasses is always a welcome gift for cocktail enthusiasts and making sure that the type of glass suits their personal taste in cocktails will naturally elevate the gift’s thoughtfulness!
- Coupe glasses. This long stemmed glass is topped with a broad, shallow bowl and is ideally used for cocktails that are served chilled but without ice-cubes. The Manhattan, the Gimlet and the Sidecar are amongst the most popular cocktails presented in a coup glass.
- Traditional Martini glasses. As its name suggests, the martini glass was originally designed for Martinis. Nonetheless, there are a variety of other cocktails that are served in this classic long stemmed, v-shaped glass such as the Grasshopper and the Cosmopolitan.
- Margarita glasses. The Margarita glass is a variant of the classic coupe glass, and is typically used for Margarita cocktails. Featuring an additional bowl underneath the usual coup bowl, this glass offers more volume for Frozen Margaritas and, overall, makes for a more aesthetically pleasing cup.
- Wine glasses. Naturally, wine glasses are used to serve wine. These vary in size according to the type of wine, typically reserving larger glasses for standard red wine and white wine, and using glasses with smaller bowls for rose. Yet, some cocktails may also be served in wine glasses such as Aperol Spritz, Sangria and Bicicletta.
- Rock glasses. Whether opting for a single or double rock glass, these cocktail tumblers are designed for drinks that are served with one or two large cubes of ice, also referred to as “on the rocks”. Some classic cocktails include the Old Fashioned and Whiskey Sour.
- Highball or Collins glasses. Often used interchangeably, these glasses are typically used for cocktails that are served on the rocks and with a low alcohol content such as Tequila Sunrise, Long Island Iced Tea and Cube Libre.
- Piña Colada glass. Also known as the poco grande glass, piña colada glasses are big-bowled highball glasses specifically designed for Piña Colada cocktails.
- Nick and Nora glasses. Named after the characters from the classic 1934 movie “The Thin Man”, these beautiful stemmed glasses are used to present stirred or shaken cocktails that are more commonly served in coupe or Martini glasses.
- Tiki glasses. These tropical themes, ceramic cocktail glasses are typical of tiki bars. Used for fruity drinks, these glasses are usually served beautifully garnished with fresh fruit for a truly tropical feel.
When hosting a cocktail party for family and friends, it might be best to think big. Mixing drinks straight in a pitcher helps to mix and serve a larger quantity of cocktail mixture in record time, leaving the host time to mingle and enjoy the drinks as well.
10. Cocktail Recipe Books
Novices and experts can all appreciate a well-compiled cocktail recipe book. For those that are just starting to experiment with creating their own cocktails, a book of traditional cocktail recipes will help them find their footing and practice for their next cocktail party. On the other hand, experts are bound to appreciate well-written cocktail books featuring new and creative recipes they may try their hands at.
Instead of common disposable straws, why not get your favourite cocktail lover a set of reusable straws they can add to their finished cocktails? For some extra bling and a splash of colours, purchase a set of sparkly straws that will make any cocktail look more satisfyingly festive.
12. Salt Rimmer
Those who love their tangy Margaritas will have to concur, salt rimmers are an absolute must. The salt effectively balances out the natural bitterness of the liquid and simultaneously intensifies the cocktail’s sweet and sour flavours. With a salt rimmer, coating the edge of the glass with salt – or even sugar if preferred – becomes the easiest of tasks: simply wet the rim with a lime wedge and dip it into a generously filled salt rimmer. Presto, the glass is now well-salted and ready to be filled.
13. Wine and Whiskey Tasting Events
Quality ingredients are the corner stone of any good cocktail, which is why all cocktail lovers enjoy tasting different drinks and familiarising themselves with the best ingredients around. Surprising them with tickets to a wine or whiskey tasting event might just be the best and most unique gift they receive this year! Such events offer an enjoyable experience – one which may be shared with other cocktail lovers – as well as invaluable information about these delicious drinks. Indeed, which cocktail enthusiast can resist such a feast of flavours in one evening?
As most cocktails incorporate the enticing flavours of fresh herbs, being able to grow their own is a mixologist’s dream. AeroGardens are indoor garden systems which, using a combination of hydroponics and LED lights, help to grow plants quickly, with minimal effort and no messy soil. With a range of AeroGardens on the market, offering a variety in both size and price, this countertop garden makes an ideal gift for those who love fresh herbs picked from their own garden mixed in with their mouth-watering cocktail.
Finally, one should not forget one of the most fundamental cocktail ingredients: the bitters. Essentially, bitters are small bottles of spirits that have been infused with a blend of herbs and spices. They are used to make the flavour of cocktails more complex, as well as to balance out flavours in various drinks such as the classic Manhattan, Martini, Old Fashioned, Negroni and Sazerac. Bitters are classic bartending staples and one of the gifts cocktail lovers are bound to experiment with the most!
If you’re looking to buy the perfect gift for a loved one, be sure to check out our other gift guides such as the Best Luxury Gifts for Beach Lovers.
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