Wondering what to get for the cocktail connoisseur in your life? With cocktail culture booming in 2012, we are full of ideas! Following are some of our picks for great cocktail gifts in 2012. Have another idea? Let us know in the comments below.
1) Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Small Batch Tonic: $32 (for two 17 oz bottles)
We had the pleasure to visit Charleston, SC this year, and we made sure to spend an evening at the bar at Husk, the outstanding restaurant run by James Beard award-winning Chef Sean Brock. Behind the bar was an impressive array of homemade bitters, syrups, and infusions that go into their unique and delicious cocktails (and we know... we tried them all). Among the bottles, we discovered Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.'s Small Batch Tonic, a concentrated tonic syrup handcrafted in Charleston. Just mix with soda to create a delicious tonic water, or use it on its own for a unique addition to your cocktails. Get started with their recipes. Buy here.
2) Leather Bar Kit by Society Fair: $185
This lovely leather bar kit will delight the home bartender in your life. It includes all of the essential tools, in a convenient and stylish leather case. This is a great way to get a new home bartender started on the right foot. Admittedly, the kit is a bit on the pricey side, but these classic tools have survived the test of time and will last forever (we use a similar set inherited from a grandfather). Plus, just imagine the many happy (hour) returns that will result... a very clever investment on your part. Buy here.
3) To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Philip Greene: $16.32 (hardcover)
Released in November 2012, To Have and Have Another made its way on to both our gift lists and wish lists this year. In this unique take on the cocktail book, author Philip Greene (co-founder of The Museum of the American Cocktail) explores Ernest Hemingway's drinking habits, offering fascinating history, folklore, and dozens of recipes connected to his literary works and personal life. Read about "Papa" Hemingway's life and lore while sipping on one of his favorite cocktails. Each recipe includes references to passages from Hemingway's works or aspects of his personal life, giving readers a new way to get in touch with the beloved author. Buy here or at your local store.
Bottled in Brooklyn, these small batch syrups are divine in cocktails and mocktails. Help the home bartender in your life expand their possibilities with these excellent mixers. Too hard to choose just one, the gift box is the way to go. For the month of December, their gift boxes include three 8 oz. bottles of Spiced Apple Syrup, Preserved Lemon Syrup, and Ginger Syrup, plus a selection of their favorite seasonal cocktail recipes. Buy here.
5) Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All by Brad Thomas Parsons: $16.31 (hardcover)
Spread the bitters gospel. This excellent book by author Brad Thomas Parsons includes fascinating bitters history, plus dozens of homemade bitters recipes, cocktail recipes, and tips. A great primer on bitters for any cocktail enthusiast, which will grow your appreciation for these celebrated ingredients. A quick read that does not disappoint. Buy here or at your local store.
6) Stainless Steel Shiny Mini Cocktail Shaker from CB2: $7.95
A good cocktail shaker is an indispensable tool in the home bartender's cabinet. This mini shaker is a great option for mixing up cocktails at home, as it takes up minimal space, and allows you to make one cocktail at a time. This is ideal when experimenting with your own recipes, serving guests or family members with distinct preferences, or when drinking alone after a long day (or any time of day... we don't judge). It is also a great deal at $7.95. If you are looking for a more substantial shaker, there are many options out there. Personally, we are obsessed with our machine-age, stainless steel, glass-lined Thermos cocktail shaker, which you can find from time to time on eBay or Etsy. Buy the CB2 mini cocktail shaker here.
7) Leopold Coupe Glasses from Cocktail Kingdom: $35.95 for 6 (7.5 oz)
Help your favorite home bartender sip in style with these timeless coupe glasses, now available from Cocktail Kingdom. The Leopold Coupe Glass comes in two sizes, a 7.5 oz. "drinking size" and a 4.5 oz. "tasting size." Dishwasher safe and designed for commercial use, these beautiful glasses are ideal for many of our favorite cocktails, like the Manhattan, Martini, and Aviation, and are sure to impress your guests. Buy online here.
8) A DIY Bitters Kit from Dash Bitters: $34.99 for kits, $9.99 for recipe refills
What can we say? Of course, we think our DIY Bitters Kits should be on every cocktail gift guide this year. They give you everything you need to start making pro-quality bitters at home, without the hassle of tracking down hard-to-find ingredients and tools. Our most versatile kit is 1889 Aromatic Bitters, a classic style that pairs especially well with bourbon, our favorite. Add in a recipe refill to make our Orange Hop Bitters and your lucky gift recipient will be brewing up homemade batches of the two most widely used bitters styles out there. Check out our store for details. Orders placed by December 18 are guaranteed to arrive by December 24.
Have your own cocktail gift ideas for 2012? Let us know in the comments. Happy Holidays!!