Cocktail Hour
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12 Gifts for Aspiring Bartenders & Drink Lovers

tuenight gift guide brian quinn liquor

(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight)

Craft cocktails have skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade, moving some to try their hand at making these drinks at home for gatherings or for themselves; avoiding the $15 per drink cost. For those who want to revive the lost art of home hospitality and entertaining, or for those who just love the art of drinks, here’s a list of gifts that any expert or novice would love.
tuenight gift guide brian quinn liquor ice spheres

(Photo: Courtesy of Amazon.com)

1. Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds 

Ice is one of the most important things for bartenders to consider. If a stirred drink calls for a cube of ice or someone requests a whiskey on the rocks, a good bartender will reach for one solid hunk of clear ice both for appearance and to provide the slowest dilution rate possible — no one wants a watered down drink. Though bartenders in Japan will hand carve these spheres, these silicone molds are the easiest way to make them at home.

$10, amazon.com

tuenight gift guide brian quinn liquor cocktail case

(Photo: Courtesy of Huckberry.com)

2. Cocktail Kit with Canvas and Leather Tote

For those who love to travel and show off their cocktail making skills, transporting the appropriate gear can be a bit precarious. This canvas bag holds all of the necessary tools, including a shaker, jigger, muddler, linen napkins and two coupes. Throw in a bottle of gin, a little sugar and a few limes, and you’ve got the perfect gimlet carry-all.

$230, huckberry.com

tuenight gift guide brian quinn liquor vintage pineapple

(Photo: Courtesy of Etsy.com)

 

3. Vintage Brass Pineapple Ice Bucket

As much a decorative ornament as a functional ice bucket, these little brass pineapples are great for storing ice for the bar or as a large goblet for a tiki drink. Your recipient will think of you whenever they cool anything from a cocktail to a bottle of champagne.

$65, etsy.com

tuenight gift guide brian quinn liquor spirits barrel

(Photo: Courtesy of Thebrooklynkitchen.com)

4. Small Spirits Barrel

Barrel-aged cocktails have been a hit for several years, and they’re an exciting prospect for anyone who enjoys a spirited drink. Any Manhattan, Negroni, Old Fashioned, Vieux Carré or similar stirred cocktail will only improve over time as it sits in toasted oak, and these handmade in Mexico barrels let you experience the deeper taste at home. Plus, they can be used over and over. Comes with stand, spigot and stopper.

$70, thebrooklynkitchen.com

tuenight gift guide brian quinn liquor imbibe

(Photo: Courtesy of Amazon.com)

5. Imbibe! Updated and Revised Edition, By David Wondrich

Writer and historian David Wondrich is one of the most knowledgeable authorities and tireless researchers of the colorful history of American drinks, and now he’s literally written the book on the backstory of your favorite drink. The book includes hundreds of recipes and all of the context and anecdotal stories any aspiring bartender would need to entertain any patron.

$18, amazon.com

tuenight gift guide brian quinn liquor waterford old fashioned

(Photo: Courtesy of Waterford.com)

6. Marquis by Waterford

Add just the right amount of elegance to your fine single malt or Old Fashioned with one of these glasses. Many of the best cocktail bars would have been in hotels in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, and now you can gift the luxurious feel of a legendary bar like the Old Waldorf Hotel with these cut-crystal glasses.

$35, waterford.com

tuenight gift guide brian quinn liquor shaker

(Photo: Courtesy of Cocktailkingdom.com)

 7.  Usagi Cobbler Shaker

Gold-plated and “made to an exacting standard for easy separation after shaking,” the Usagi Cobbler is one of the best shakers you can buy. Cocktail Kingdom is one of the only stores craft cocktail bartenders trust, and these Japanese-inspired shakers are built for excellence. Add a jigger and antique-style Hawthorn strainer to complete this kit.

$77, cocktailkingdom.com

tuenight gift guide brian quinn liquor Yarai Mixing Glass

(Photo: Courtesy of Cocktailkingdom.com)

8. Yarai Sen Mixing Glass

For anyone making a stirred cocktail, this etched crystal is not only beautiful, it’s also efficient. As with many tools and technical obsessions, the Japanese have set the bar for what the rest of the world uses, and these mixing glasses are no different. Consider adding Cocktail Kingdom’s incredible Julep strainers and teardrop bar spoons to complete the kit.

$80, cocktailkingdom.com

tuenight gift guide brian quinn liquor bar cart

(Photo: Courtesy of Westelm.com)

9. Terrace Bar Cart

Fitted with four wheels, a glass top shelf and mirrored bottom shelf on a metal frame, this mobile Deco cocktail station might be a bit of a splurge, but it’s also a keepsake that won’t go out of style. The cart easily stores all of those bar items — from whiskey to bitters to decanters — and displays them gorgeously whether tucked in a corner or on display in the center of the room. Hint: Keep it well stocked for maximum effectiveness.

$399, westelm.com

tuenight gift guide brian quinn liquor knife set

(Photo: Courtesy of Amazon.com)

10. Henckels 3-Piece Knife set 

Even bartenders need good knives. Invest in a set that is built to last and stay sharp. Cutting fruit and garnishes can be a dangerous proposition with a dull blade, so it’s crucial to have something reliable. This set includes a four-inch paring knife, six-inch utility knife and an eight-inch chef’s knife, all made from high-carbon stainless steel.

$100, amazon.com

tuenight gift guide brian quinn liquor leather apron

(Photo: Courtesy of Mooreandgiles.com)

11. Leather Work Apron

Bartending can be messy work, so why not protect yourself with a supple leather apron? OK, it might be a bit over the top, but these Moore & Giles hides are gorgeous and the designers worked alongside New York cocktail bar PDT to craft the perfect look. The apron features two front pockets and kangaroo-style pouch, offering plenty of easy access storage for muddlers or straws. After all, shouldn’t your look be as artisanal as your spirits and cocktails?

$375, mooreandgiles.com

tuenight gift guide brian quinn liquor averna amaro

(Photo: Courtesy of Astorwines.com)

12. Amaro Averna

While your loved ones would probably appreciate any decent whiskey, you can impress an alcohol aficionado with an Italian amaro. Averna is not only one of the most popular, it’s also one of the most accessible. Eat too much at your holiday dinner? Well, just sip on this lovely dark herbal and bittersweet spirit, lay on the floor if you have to, and you’ll feel like new again in no time. Seriously — this stuff started as medicine, and it has healed millions since 1868. Want a cocktail? Try this fun Julep variation.

$30, astorwines.com

Filed under: Cocktail Hour

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Brian Quinn

Brian Quinn is an events curator and producer. He co-founded an underground supper club in New York dubbed “a new form of clandestine drinking” and has written weekly cocktail articles for FoodRepublic since 2012. Previously, Brian also curated the on-stage content for the Social Media Week conference from 2013 to 2015, and worked with the CreativeMornings team to build out their FieldTrip events in 2015. He started out his career in the music industry, and has helped to produce hundreds of concerts globally during his tenure managing world-renowned jazz artists for 10 years. Brian lives in Brooklyn and can be found on Twitter and Instagram via @brianquinn.

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