When my friend asked for mixology gift recommendations for her husband, I knew I had to write a home mixology gift guide for the 2020 holidays. These are my top picks for the home bar, whether you’re shopping for someone just starting out or who wants to up their cocktail game.
Here are six awesome accessories for the home bar, priced from $15 to $70, that aren’t overdone like whiskey stones.
Learn Mixology Technique from a Master
Jeffrey Morgenthaler is an award-winning mixology master. In The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique, he writes that any good cocktail needs three elements: a good recipe, quality ingredients, and proper technique.
This book is Morgenthaler’s magnum opus on the third element: technique. He pours his heart and soul into every topic imaginable, from juice and syrups to infusions, ice, measuring, and mixing.
I learned most of my technique from this book and refer back to it frequently. It’s beautifully done with color photos, sprinkled with recipes, and filled with wry humor. I highly recommend it as the first cocktail book anyone should buy.
Make Clear Ice for Better Looking (and Tasting) Cocktails
Clear ice is beautiful and looks impressive in a cocktail, but did you know it also improves the taste? Because traditional ice molds freeze from all sides, impurities in the water get trapped inside the ice, creating the cloudy appearance. When the ice melts, these impurities escape into your cocktail and taint the flavor.
By using directional freezing, the True Cubes Clear Ice Cube Tray pushes the impurities out of the water and produces four stunning 2-inch square crystal clear ice cubes. Beautiful, clear ice is a serious home mixology upgrade.
Measure Precisely with the Heavy-Duty Jigger they’ll Love to Use
This is the crown-jewel of jiggers. Not only does the Barfly Bell Jigger have all the measurements you need in a single jigger – 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, 3/4 oz, 1 oz, 1.5 oz, and 2 oz – but it’s sleek shape and heavy weight make it a pleasure to use. I have four or five jiggers in my bar, and this is my absolute favorite.
It comes in a variety of finishes, but I have the stainless steel because it’s dishwasher safe. It’s easily my favorite jigger, and I reach for it first whenever it’s clean. This jigger upgrade is a perfect stocking-stuffer for the home mixologist in your life.
Shake in Style with Professional-Grade Weighted Tins
This Boston shaker set from Barfly contains both 18 oz and 28 oz weighted stainless steel tins. The weighted caps provide stability and thickness to the shaker to keep hands comfortable and cocktails cold.
The set is made from food-grade heavy-duty 18/8 stainless steel, which won’t impart any unwanted flavors into your cocktails. It’s made for professional bars, but affordable enough for use at home.
Barfly offers a variety of finishes, but I got the basic stainless-steel because it’s dishwasher safe. And it looks like the real deal, because it is.
Garnish Extravagantly with delectable Luxardo Cherries
For drinks like the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and countless others, the “cherry on top” is a delicious Luxardo Cherry. The little black cocktail cherries from Italy are sought after by chefs and bartenders worldwide for their flavor and texture. These cherries are delicious!
I wrote a whole post about Luxardo cherries because it’s hard to justify spending nearly twenty bucks on a jar of cherries, but they’re worth it. So give your home mixologist a little encouragement and gift them a whole jar of scrumptious cherries. They might even make you a cocktail in appreciation.
Make Liquor Infusions with a Cocktail Infusion Vessel
The Alkemista Infusion Vessel infuses liquor with the flavors of fruits, herbs, spices, and botanicals to craft unique custom spirits. Simply add a blend of spices – or try one of theirs – to the stainless steel filter, screw on the base, and add alcohol. Over time, the alcohol will extract the flavors.
You can conveniently pour your infusion straight from the Alkemista. The filter keeps any particles out of the liquid, so there’s no need to strain or filter.
The Alkemista is a little more expensive than the other ideas on the list, but it’s such a cool product I had to include it.
Transform Home Cocktails with a Smokey Flavor and Aroma
The Gramercy Cocktail Smoker brings a smokey touch to whiskey, rum, or cocktails in under a minute – all without leaving the kitchen or bar! This handheld indoor smoker imbues the cocktail with cool smoke, transforming the flavor based on the wood chips, herbs, or spices chosen.
Whether using the included wood chips or smoking whole cloves, the cocktail smoker makes it easy to transform an ordinary drink into something unexpected and exciting. Cocktail smokers may be the hottest mixology gift of the season!
Happy holidays, and good riddance 2020! I hope these suggestions help you find the perfect home mixology gift for the cocktail lover in your life. Because we all need a good drink.