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The best bar gifts for a home mixologist

From the cocktail-curious to a seasoned spirit slinger, these are the best bar gifts for every drinking buddy on your list.

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift.

Like any other practice, the more you slip into the world of cocktail making the more fun stuff you'll discover. Those includes ingredients, gadgets, barware and books. There's a very wide world of mixology and bar gifts waiting for the budding bartender on your list, so if your buying for someone's who is cocktail-curious, count your blessings -- you've got options. 

There are loads of foolproof bar gifts perfect for an at-home shaker and pourer will appreciate no matter their skill level. Good barware is always a hit including retro cocktail coupes or handsome highballs. There are also mixology ingredients to experiment with; even a well-placed bottle to mix concoctions are examples of easy gifting wins for the amateur bartender. (If you're looking for a bottle suggestion, Kastra Elion Greek olive vodka was the best new thing I tasted this year, followed closely by this Willet 4-year rye.)

These past few years may well be remembered as the golden age for honing our home mixology skills. Left with few options, I took to the bottles and shaker and quickly learned there are some accessories that make bartending a lot more enjoyable -- and others that really kicked the creative juices into gear.

This list features a range of giftable home bar accessories from the pretty to the practical, all of which will make happy hour, well, happier. Plus, there are cocktail-related bar gifts for every budget, from stocking stuffers to splurges. So whether you fancy yourself the cosmopolitan type or it's something more old-fashioned you're after, these are some of the best bar and cocktail gifts to give this holiday season.

Read moreThe best kitchen gifts for a home cook or foodie

Fee Brothers

As the spice of the mixology world, there's probably no more fun ingredient for a home bartender to experiment with than bitters. Fee Brothers makes a five-pack with some unique cocktail bitters like mint and peach in addition to the more traditional recipes. 

Flaviar

This one may need to be delivered a little before Christmas but it's a gift that keeps giving (a buzz) all season long. Flaviar's Whiskies of the Galaxy Advent calendar has a thoughtful mix of American bourbon, Japanese Whiskies, Scotch and more with one to open each day of December until Christmas. Each vile is 1.7-ounces of brown spirit goodness. 

Slainte!

High Camp

It's rare that a cocktail shaker excited me all that much anymore but the High Camp shaker is special. It's loosely designed with camping or outdoor drinking in mind since you can either shake and pour or leave it and the shaker transforms into an easy-drinking highball. 

It also looks great available in copper, stainless steel or gunmetal and it all fits together securely and compactly. You can (and should) get it engraved for $20 more. 

Libbey

One thing a home bartender will always appreciate is good glassware. These Libbey coups are sturdy enough to slide them down the bar but delicate enough to make your Sidecar or Brandy Alexander really pop. 

Etsy

Certain cocktails and, especially those with an underlying sweetness, lend themselves to a nice salty rim. Give your home bartender a set of three salts designed to punch up a tangy margarita, classic martini or another libation being served for happy hour. There are more than 15 salt recipes to choose from. 

Verve Culture

These handblown Morrocan glasses come in four color choices and two sizes. The smaller glasses are incredibly versatile and perfect for an old fashioned, margarita or even just some scotch on the rocks. Their also durable and the inward cone prevents spillage making them great for parties,

Bloomingdale's

I know that Halloween is over but these skull ice molds are fun all year round. They are easy to use and work great (you can really see the skull clearly). For a bartender who likes a little kitsch, pair this with a bottle of nice booze to mix with.

Bonne Maman

A good jam or jelly is my all-time favorite cocktail hack: High-quality fruit preserves, like these infused with booze from Brooklyn Preserves, are fun and underrated mixology ingredients. A little apricot jam in a whiskey old-fashioned or raspberry jalapeño in a margarita will give sweetness and some distinct fruit flavor so you can forgo that laborious squeezing and simple syrup-making.

Pair these jams with a nice bottle of rye or bourbon, and you've got a very excellent gift for the budding mixologist on your hands.

Amazon

Spice things up with this small yet sturdy cast-iron mortar and pestle set. This bar tool will eliminate the need for ground spices, pulverizing whole peppercorns and fennel seeds to ensure fresher flavor and stronger aromatics in your drink. In the process, you'll also get a fun workout and stress relief. There's a reason this ancient food processor has withstood the test of time.

Verve Culture

This is essentially a tequila tasting set disguised as an infusion kit, but it's a damn nice tequila tasting set. The handblown glasses are just large enough to hold a small margarita or tequila cocktail.

Sur la Table

A beautiful solution for the cocktail enthusiast who prefers drinks stirred and not shaken. Wondering why you'd need one of these at all? If you ask an expert, they'll tell you most cocktails made with brown liquors like bourbon, cognac and aged dark rum should be stirred -- not shaken.

Amazon

You can outfit a bar cart for around $40 with this sleek black matte-metallic Boston shaker set. It's got all the essential tools: shaker, strainer, jigger, muddler, bar spoon and tongs. It comes in copper and silver to coordinate with your home decor.

Another option is this 10-in-1 cocktail tool, which is essentially a Swiss Army Knife for happy hour. It makes a nice alternative if the person on your list is working with limited space, as in a small apartment or even an RV criss-crossing the country (safely), one cocktail at a time. I have one myself and use it all the time.

J.A. Henckels

I think a nice bar board makes an excellent gift for the home mixologist. All cutting boards are not created equally and if you're slicing a lot of juice lemons and limes, you'll want one with a reservoir to catch the juice. If you're nimble enough, you can even slant the board and pour it into a shaker.

This Henckel's board is fairly priced at $16 and comes with two utility knives -- one paring, one serrated -- for cutting fruit and making delicate garnishes. 

Kate Spade

This kit is tres chic and has all the bar essentials (except for the shaker) including a really retro-looking ice bucket. It's not cheap but the stylish home mixologist on your list will do flips for this collection.

It's available in copper and silver.

Amazon

For a pricier pick, this small Boos board is perfect for slicing limes, other citrus or small garnishes. Think of this as the Cadillac of bar boards with an actual drip tray to collect precious citrus juice to reuse for the next margarita. Brilliant, right? Plus, it's a John Boos so you can rest assured it's top-quality wood.

More holiday gifting gold