Repeat after me: You can never have too many cocktail tools. Or glasses. Or bottles of interesting spirits. Or cocktail books. Or …
Well, you get the picture. Wondering what to get the cocktail aficionado on your holiday list? Start right here.
Stock the liquor cabinet
Gift something interesting: an exclusive whisky, perhaps, or a sophisticated vermouth such as Antica Formula Carpano or a gorgeous gin like the fabulously floral Botanist. Or go local with Okanagan Spirits’ “Ultimate Gift Pack,” which includes its sold-out Coldstream Rye along with the Essential and Family Reserve Gin and Vodka and BRBN Bourbon-style Whisky for $295 (okanaganspirits.com).
It’s better with bitters
A bartender can never have too many bitters, the intense infusions of spices, herbs, fruit and flavour that make a cocktail a cocktail. Vancouver’s Bittered Sling offers gift packs (six 30-mL bottles for $50, bitteredsling.com), while Ms. Better’s Bitters has flavours like the piney Cypress Bowl ($26) as well as her Miraculous Foamer ($30), a vegan alternative to egg whites (msbetters.com).
Something to sip from
Impossible to resist, the Nick and Nora is the most elegant of cocktail glasses. Named for the hard-drinking main characters of The Thin Man book and movies, these are sleek, retro-style glasses halfway between a small wine glass and a martini V. Order yours from Crate and Barrel at $10.95 a stem (crateandbarrel.com).
This year has seen a bumper crop of great cocktail books ranging from Robert Simonson’s superbly simple 3-Ingredient Cocktails (Ten Speed Press) to the elevated Meehan’s Bartender Manual by Jim Meehan (Ten Speed Press). Get one, or get them all.
Every couple of years, it seems, there’s an evolution in bar tools and suddenly all the old jiggers and shakers will simply no longer do. This year, look for tools in luxurious hues of copper and gold, such as the hammered copper jigger ($16) and vintage-style glass cocktail shaker with gold details ($29.50) from Indigo.
A swellegant straw
For the stylish sipper who has everything, there is the glamorous “Crazy Straw” from Tiffany’s Everyday Objects line. Available in sterling silver ($340) or 18-karat gold ($475), and adorned with a Tiffany Blue enamel accent, it’s the most swishly sustainable way to enjoy crushed ice drinks like juleps and Moscow Mules (tiffany.ca).
What better way to show off the gleaming amber hue of a great single malt whisky than an elegant cut crystal decanter? Nothing could look more beautiful on your bar cart. We especially love the dazzling Waterford Lismore spirits decanter, $370, at Atkinsons of Vancouver (atkinsonsofvancouver.com).
The person who loves their drinks with a tropical twist will also crave tiki mugs and swizzle sticks, scorpion bowls, paper umbrellas and bendy straws. Find a mother lode of MaiTai-mobilia ranging from $10 tiki mugs to a $79 conch shell bowl online at Cocktail Emporium (cocktailemporium.com).
Roll an instant Gatsby-esque glamour into any room with a bar cart. You can find versions for as little as $35 at IKEA, or you can spend thousands of dollars on a truly luxe version. Two great in-between options with timeless Art Deco styling are the $899 Home Details round nickel trolley at Hudson’s Bay (thebay.com) and the US$399 Terrace cart from West Elm (westelm.com).
A trip to London Cocktail Week
London is, arguably, the world capital of cocktails, and a must on any cocktail lover’s list. The best way to experience it fully is at London Cocktail Week, which in 2018 runs Oct. 1-7. Gift your cocktail lover with a pass, which ensures £6 drinks at 300 top bars, as well as access to discounts, pop-ups, parties and advanced booking for the week-long Cocktail Village. Just download the DrinkUp.London app to buy and activate your pass. It only costs £10; sadly, flights and accommodation are extra (drinkup.london).
—by Joanne Sasvari