Holiday Gifts - Drink Gadgets and Tools 2015 Edition
Holiday shopping is in full swing. Though it feels a little late in the season (Hanukkah 2015 is now in the books), modern technology allows us to get in a vast amount of shopping in the next several days. As we did last year, our team has combed through the internet to find some unique gifts for the wine, beer, and cocktails. The gifts we selected last year are still available and still worth sliding under a tree or in a stocking near you, but there's a slew of new gifts we are suggesting for this year’s edition.
Tools Of The Trade
DIY Bar Cart From a Vintage Suitcase – Varies – What makes a gift more special than making it with your hands? Apartment Therapy offers this set of instructions to turn an old trunk into a rolling home bar, perfect for entertaining through the rest of the holidays. If this is not your style, Home Wet Bar offers twenty other suggestions for a home bar cart.
MAC Santoku Knife - $90 - Is it pricey for a knife you may be using mainly for cutting fruit? Yes. But it is an outstanding knife for other kitchen tasks. This style of knife is small and easier to use, and will last an incredibly long time. And as the bar and kitchen keep getting closer and closer from a culinary perspective, you may need a good knife to cut through tougher ingredients.
Root 23 Flavored Syrup Gift Pack - $25 – Flipping through any cocktail book out there, you’ll find that syrups (along with shrubs and bitters) are incredible vehicles for delivering unique flavors. I have used Root 23’s Grapefruit Basil in a few cocktails and enjoyed it greatly. This gift pack comes with preselected syrups; they have a Drink Local gift basket that you can specify which syrup you want to try.
iSi Soda Siphon - $70 for the Bottle, $10 for 10 Soda Chargers – Many practitioners of the cocktail crafts are familiar with this tool. There are a wide variety of uses for it, from quick infusions for liquids to making uniquely flavored sodas. Maybe with your new Root 23 syrups! Or, if you have to, just making your own soda water.
V-1 Wine decanter and vacuum storage - $75 – Decanting wines, especially reds, aids in opening up the deeper flavors those wines possess. Periodically you will decant one too many bottles at a dinner party, and have a little leftover wine. This decanter also doubles as a vacuum storage container, keeping the extra red ready-to-drink as long as possible. This one in particular is a favorite of sommeliers, which is how it made the list.
Fun and Education
Swizzlekit – Starts at $40/mo. – We would never turn down a subscription to a cocktail-of-the-month club. We even suggested one from Crafted Taste last year. What makes Swizzlekit different is the educational dimension it offers. In addition to the cocktail, you receive some tools of the trade and knowledge about the cocktail you are making. It is the little things that add to the experience.
Love With Food – Starts at $10/mo. – With all of the cocktails you’ll be making with your monthly subscription, you may need some snacks. There are many options for healthy, delivered to your door snacks, but only one that donates to charity for each box. Love With Food has several options for your delivery, including a gluten free option. You can browse through their shop to see what snacks they have to offer.
Soberdough – Starts at $27 for a three pack – What is beer other than liquid bread? Soberdough offers six different bread recipes, from a classic bread recipe to gourmet flavors like Rosemary and Green Chili Cheddar. All you need to do is add the beer and it is ready to bake. With the number of craft beers that are out there, the variety of flavors you can create is a wide one. Heck, throw in a six pack to pair with the bread make sure they invite you back to try it!
Brewin’ USA - $50 – Most liquor and beer related games are tests of skill to see how much you can drink and still keep some semblance of coordination. You can drink while playing Brewin’ USA, but the idea is to build a beer empire by releasing three beers. Players have to gather the resources and work on the distribution to win the game. Break this out when Settlers of Catan or Terra Mystica gets a little old.
Cocktail playing cards - $4 – Hello stocking stuffer! This is a nicely designed deck of 54 playing cards, each with a classic recipe on it. The recipe is accompanied by an image of the cocktail, so you know what it should look like when you complete the drink, what glass it goes in, etc. I was pleased to see that the cocktails used classic recipes (I did not see sour mix at all) and the art was well executed.
The Uncommon Green City Barware – Starts at $12.50 – How much do you love your city? Or do you have a friend in another city that likes little reminders of home? Uncommon Green has an expansive selection of cities and college towns in their current glass collection, but are willing to do some custom work if your city is not represented. They offer some delightful bar tools to go with your new glasses.
Star Wars Glasses - $50 – Remember the hullabaloo that went down when the planets (even Pluto) were given their own glass set? They were hard to come by for the holidays. The planets of the Star Wars universe now have their own set of glasses. With The Force Awakens about to burn through the theaters soon, now would be a good time to order these.
Beer Cap Map (All 50 states) - $40 - Craft breweries are going to keep growing. They are nowhere near where their peak was in the late 19th century (roughly 4,000 breweries), but they are getting there. Show some pride in your state’s craft brews, or just show off the beers you have tried from all over the country. They have that map as well.
Cocktail Kingdom Shaken Set - $65 – You have at least one friend who is building a home bar. Cocktail Kingdom has put together two excellent packages, one for shaken cocktails and one for stirred cocktails. The biggest difference between the two is receiving a shaker set OR getting a nice mixing glass and bar spoon. Of course, you can always purchase the pieces individually, or add to the order. Cocktail Kingdom has lovely barware and accessories.
While checking out the sites above, you’ll find many other ideas for gifts for the cocktail enthusiast, wine connoisseur, or beer lover in your life. There are many gift ideas for liquors and other drinkables on the New York International Spirits Competition, Berlin International Wine Competition, and New York International Beer Competition lists of winners. You need something impressive to pour into those Star Wars glasses, right? Enjoy your holiday season!