When it's the holiday season, alcohol-related gifts tend to be guaranteed crowd-pleasers. Most hosts will be swimming in actual booze from their guests, but you can stand out from the crowd with a bar cart–worthy drink accessory, be it a decanter and glassware set or a remarkably classy looking carbonation system (or, if you're feeling especially generous, a straight up bar cart). Our collection of gifts for drinks lovers pair attractive design with the kind of functionality that'll last far longer than a bottle of wine. Here are a few of our time-honored favorites, along with some new items we've fallen in love with in 2018.
This year we were delighted by the release of not one, but two excellent cocktail books written by Serious Eats alums. Organized by spirit, Maggie Hoffman's The One-Bottle Cocktail is all about making the most of your favorite booze—or whatever lingering bottle you happen to have on-hand—by combining it with easily accessed supermarket ingredients for simple and elegant party-ready drinks at home. Meanwhile, Carey Jones and husband John McCarthy recently published Be Your Own Bartender, a fun, interactive book featuring over a dozen flowcharts to guide you to the perfect drink for every mood and occasion. Both options will delight cocktail-making newbies and mixology nerds alike.
A Nice Mixing Glass and Stirrer
Treat your giftee to a refined cocktail-making experience with an etched mixing glass and bar spoon—essential items that happen to look mighty good set atop a bar cart. This stirrer is particularly useful for stirred cocktails—its slender profile will easily navigate ice while minimizing splashing and spilling. Now, instead of gathering at the sound of a dinner bell, guests will hear the delicate clinking of a good cocktail in progress and know that it's time for a party.
A Pretty Pitcher
I consider a nice pitcher a super versatile gift. Sure, it's wonderful for pouring big-batch cocktails, decanting wine, and for holding water handsomely for group dinners. But when you're not entertaining, pitchers make fabulous vases. Given its versatility and recognizable name brand (hello, Waterford), this pitcher will please grandmothers, newlyweds, and roommates alike.
Punch Bowl Set
Speaking of big-batch cocktails, this punch bowl set has been a major hit at the Serious Eats office. It's elegant, functional, and pretty affordable considering it's from Crate & Barrel. Most recently, we used it to make this Aperol gin punch, which I highly recommend as a party cocktail that will help even the most awkward guests (cough, me) loosen up.
A Corkscrew That Actually Works
We've all been there when the party is getting started—you grab a bottle of wine, twist in your corkscrew, and...the cork breaks. Twenty messy minutes of cork-pushing and wine-filtering ensue, dashing everyone's hopes for a nice, crisp sip. Avoid this situation with a corkscrew that actually works. We tested quite a few and found this lever model to work smoothly and easily, puncturing only corks and never dreams.
A Beautiful Wine Carafe
Once you've successfully opened your bottle of wine, let it breathe in this gorgeous carafe (with a seriously handsome oak stopper). Or just pour it into a nice glass, like this one, which happens to be dishwasher-safe and nice enough for any oenophile.
Get the rest of our gift recommendations for the cocktail and drinks lover in your life right here.