The Ultimate Bar and Barware Gift Guide
It’s one thing to have the best booze on the block, but if you don’t have the equipment to best utilize that booze, you’re going to be S.O.L.
Sure, you can make the argument that all you need is the bottle and a glass (or just the bottle), but if you’ve got a significant other coming over, why not add a little extra zest to your drink game? From tools to books, we’ve got you covered with a selection of some of the best bar accessories we’ve found this year.
A channel knife is essential for any bartender. If you’ve ever seen an elegant citrus peel twist, chances are you can thank a channel knife (and the bartender who wields it, of course) for it. Resembling a vegetable peeler, a channel knife has a V-shaped cut at the end of the blade that you pull across a surface to cut out what you need from the rind or other material. This knife, by Victorinox, is affordable, well-made, and a beauty to look at. If you or someone you know considers himself a bartender, but doesn’t have a channel knife, it’s time to change that.
If you’re going to be making multiple cocktails at a time, you’re going to want an ice bucket handy. Simple and elegant, this handmade, glass-blown ice bucket will class up your bar top while also providing a much-needed ice cube receptacle. If you’re not making cocktails, you can also chill a bottle of Champagne in it.
Intended for easy transportation of a laptop or other objects around a city, we took Timbuktu’s bag name a little more literally. While it perfectly fits and secures a laptop, this bag is also great for toting around alcohol, shakers, and everything else you might need to mix up cocktails on the go.
The After 5 Bar Cart ($400)
Designed by Greta de Parry of Chicago in collaboration with Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, this bar stainless steel and oak bar cart is perfect for any bachelor pad or man cave out there. The cart comes with a removable serving tray, and enough storage for multiple bottles and glassware. Better yet, only ten of these were made, so if you want to stand out this holiday season (and every time someone comes over from now on), pick this cart up while you can.
The Whiskey Wheel ($469)
Another special edition from Basil Hayden’s holiday collection, this time designed in collaboration with Reclamation Etchworks of San Francisco, The Whiskey Wheel is made from white oak and detailed in copper to match the Basil Hayden’s label. The rotating wheel fits six rocks glasses (which are included) around a bottle of Basil Hayden’s, making it perfect for sharing. Only fifteen Whiskey Wheels were made, making it collector’s item as much as something to use every day.
Made with bamboo and stainless steel, this bar set by Italian designer Cedes Milano is as much a piece of art as it is a functional tool. Housed in a leather carrying case, the set provides everything you need to make practically any cocktail you can imagine. Obviously not in everyone’s price range, think of this bar set as the gift you give someone after you take their 1963 Modena Spyder out for a cruise and they find out.
Aging and Flavoring Equipment
ParTea Booze Infusers ($15)
If oak isn’t your thing (if it is, scroll down!), but you still want to play with infusing flavor into alcohol (while avoiding potential messes by trying to make your own infusion sachets), then ParTea booze infusers are for you. The infusers, which look like giant tea bags and come in a variety of flavors—jalapeño, mocha, ginger, and orange spice—and also come with a mason jar to infuse in. Simply pour the alcohol of your choice over the bag, screw the lid on, wait a day or two, then you’re good to go. It really doesn’t get easier than that.
The Oak Bottle ($79.95)
Billed as the “World’s Fastest Oak Aging Vessel,” The Oak Bottle is perhaps one of the easiest ways to impart oak notes into pretty much anything you want (the handy guide that comes with the bottle lists everything from the obvious choices such as whiskey, wine, or tequila to other options like hot sauce). All you need to do it put your liquid in, let it sit for anywhere from a few hours to a few days and voila, oak flavor. If you want oak flavor in your liquids, but don’t need that much as a time, The Oak Bottle also comes in Mini ($59.95) and Micro ($39.95).
Cannabis Cocktails by Warren Bobrow ($14.71)
In his latest book, Warren Bobrow redefines what it means to get a buzz from a good drink. No stranger to creating cocktails and writing about them, in this book Bobrow provides a wide range of both cocktails and mocktails, as well as how to properly infuse cannabis into what you’re working with. Learn more in our interview with Bobrow here.
Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas by Brad Thomas Parsons ($16.11)
If you’re looking for a book that not only will educate you about an integral part of the cocktail world, but also provide you with beautiful imagery and easy-to-recreate cocktails, then Amaro is for you. Brad Thomas Parsons dives into the world of Amari, much like he did with bitters, in an easy-to-read, highly-enjoyable manner. A must for anyone who has a shelf for cocktail books.
Hackamore Energy ($26.99)
Let’s face it, the days of staying up late, using the caffeine from Jäger Bombs is past most of us. Now, when we need caffeine, we need to look elsewhere. Hackamore is an energy supplement that can either be served as a shot or mixed into other drinks to provide the needed boost to make sure you see the sun come up. On its own, there’s a slight citrusy flavor, which also goes pretty well in some mixed drinks. A shot of Hackamore is equal to a can of energy drink, allowing you to drink more without filling up.
The Bitter Truth Drops & Dashes ($19.99)
Bitters, we can all agree, are essential to most great cocktails. This year, to celebrate their tenth anniversary, The Bitter Truth has released four special edition bitters, their Drops & Dashes set. Root (burnt licorice, gentian root, and sweet spices), Wood (oak, sandalwood, and spice), Blossom (jasmine, hibiscus, lavender, and iris), and Nut (walnut, raisin, and hazelnuts) all come in limited edition glass decanters with cork stoppers and additional black droppers. Not only can you up your cocktail game, but you’ll do it in style.