The Best Gifts for Cocktail Lovers to Elevate Their Bar Cart
From handcrafted bitters to a professional ice machine, these gifts go beyond basic to bring any bar set-up to the next level.
If you have a budding mixologist on your gift list, you know you can’t just buy them any old cocktail shaker and expect to win any gifting contests. If you’re looking to go the extra mile and help bring their bar cart up a few notches, you’ll need to dig a little deeper.
Thankfully, we’ve done the digging for you, and come up with 13 items that are sure to impress any home bartender, including a chic insulated ice bucket, a sparkling water making machine, and the viral ice maker that TikTokers are obsessed with. Best of all, once your gift recipient has their new product(s) in place, you can await your invite for handcrafted cocktails at their place.
Investing in a high-quality set of bar tools instead of replacing a cheap one (or having it fail on you) every other year is worthwhile, especially if you’re gifting someone who’s really hoping to bring their cocktail-making skills to the next level. Cocktail Kingdom products are found in plenty of bars, and the makers also own bars, so they should know what they’re doing—and they do, often sourcing products from Japan. Included in this set is a glass engraved 550ml mixing glass, a stainless steel Hoffman 33.5cm bar spoon, a stainless steel Japanese-style jigger with 1- and 2-ounce pours, a set of Koriko weighted stainless steel shaking tins, and a Koriko stainless steel Hawthorne strainer.
The next generation of instant sparkling water is here, and this one doesn’t use a CO2 tank (it uses carbonator powder instead). It also offers superior levels of customization, from having five levels of carbonation to choose from to the possibility of adding virtually any ingredient (think fruit, tea, and herbs but also liquor and wine) to be carbonated. Want to make your own hard seltzer? Now you can! Oh, and did we mention it’s super slim and sleek, making it easy to fit on your cart or counter? And that doesn’t even cover the environmental bonus of reducing waste from buying seltzer cans and bottles.
Any mixologist worth his or her salt knows that bitters are just as important as the spirit. And while most home drink makers might have a bottle of Peychaud’s or Angostura, they’re sure to appreciate this set. Comprised of five unique small-batch flavors, each formula is produced with a particular spirit in mind and all are made with fresh, natural ingredients like fruit peels and whole spice. Each set includes a 1.7-ounce bottle of smoked chili, citrus, aromatic, orange, and ginger.
One of the easiest ways to elevate a bar cart is to add a classy ice bucket to it. This one comes from the geniuses at S’well who make excellent insulated water bottles, meaning its triple-layer insulation will keep your ice from melting for hours—and there is no drippy condensation either. Aside from being uber-functional, the design is sleek and sophisticated, with a stainless steel interior and tongs, and a teak or marble-print exterior.
Every amateur cocktail maker could use a rock-solid cocktail recipe book that will help them wow. This one, just out from the owner of renowned New Orleans bars and restaurants Cure (which won a James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Bar Program), Cane & Table, VALS, and Peychaud’s has 100 drink recipes from the classics (i.e. the Sazerac, Julep, and Vieux Carré) to more modern creations. Plus, local chefs have contributed recipes for snacks like Alfredo Nogueira’s Deviled Egg Cacio e Pepe, Nina Compton’s Pickled Shrimp with Celery and Buttermilk, and Justin Devillier’s Blue Crab Beignets.
Fresh juice makes a world of difference in cocktails. To save time and muscle, the Citristar has a quiet yet powerful motor and specially designed, high-clearance stainless steel spout to prevent clogging. Your recipient will be able to make quick work of all citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes—important ingredients in so many cocktails. Suddenly, there’s more time to enjoy drinking with friends instead of squeezing lemons all day.
Any bar cart worth its weight in booze needs a sturdy and superior corkscrew, but this elegant wine tool set from German knifemakers Zwilling goes a few steps further. The four-piece set includes a corkscrew, decanter, drop ring, and foil cutter, all presented in a refined gift box. The corkscrew features a robust hardened spiral with a high-quality non-stick coating; the decanter has an integrated spiral system that aerates the wine while pouring, plus it also has a stopper feature if they somehow don’t finish a bottle; the drop ring sports magnetic rings for a perfect fit to any bottle neck; and the foil cutter has a flexible hinge and four sharp cutting rings.
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Wine glasses are always a classy gift, and this set of four streamlined and tall 14-ounce ones work for multiple types of wine, thanks to their universal shape. Plus, they’re dishwasher safe so the gift recipient won’t have to spend time scrubbing and polishing them after each use. Cheers!
For the friend who loves olives in their drink, this set of 12 stainless steel cocktail picks will ensure their martini is never naked. The cylindrical holder will look great on any bar cart and will keep the picks at the ready. Make your gift extra fun by including a pack of plump lemon garlic green olives, ready to be jabbed.
Any next-level bar cart needs a super stylish decanter, and this one from a boutique glassware company is sure to bring on the compliments. The beautifully packaged set comes with a faceted decanter, two faceted glasses, a black base stand, and a glass-filling funnel (don’t lose a single drop of that alcohol!). Perfect for whiskey, bourbon, Scotch, and even wine, the unique shape allows a drink to aerate as it’s poured and swirled inside the decanter and accompanying glasses.
“Smells like good vibes and fresh gossip,” this candle proclaims on the outside of its glass jar, and the scent of citrus and bergamot definitely conjures up everyone’s favorite brunch drink. A candle is a chic and unexpected way to bring some fabulous flair to any bar cart, adding character and fragrance to the entire set-up.
An easy way to raise the, er, bar on a bar cart is to add a fashionable tray to put under glasses or liquor bottles. It instantly upgrades the set-up, and this handcrafted bone inlay and pine wood number comes in a stunning turquoise color and is available in either 12 x 12 without handles or 12 x 8 with handles.
Everyone knows that ice is integral to any cocktail, and the shape of the cube is nearly as important as the type of spirit used. This TikTok-famous ice maker churns out the essential nugget-shaped cube—#thegoodice—at a rate of 24 pounds per day. Nugget ice is ready fast and made from compacted ice flakes, making it chewy and crunchy at the same time, and it easily absorbs the flavors of its surrounding beverage, limiting the possibility of watered-down drinks. Plus, this sleek ice maker has an easy-to-use LED screen and built-in Wi-Fi with the SmartHQ app to monitor device status and schedule fresh ice, making it an ideal addition to a bar cart.