Every friend group has the resident "drinks person" — whether that's the cocktail nerd who speaks of celeb bartenders in a fawning tone or the wine expert who was singing the praises of organic wines long before they started appearing in your Facebook ads.
If someone you love falls into one of the above categories, chances are they receive the same gifts over and over again every year — a bottle of that tequila they mentioned liking that one time, or yet another set of whiskey stones. The spirit (no pun intended) of these gifts is in the right place, but this year, we're highlighting what they really want to receive — from mixers that are far from the average checkout-line fare to cool tools they'll love showing off.
For the home bartender who loves an excuse to get creative: 18.21 Bitters Blackberry Peppercorn Shrub, $23
Even your most experimental home mixologist probably doesn't have a bottle of artisan Shrub — that's a vinegary, infused mixer — on their bar cart. Atlanta-based 18.21 Bitters corners the market on unexpected flavor pairings, from its bitters to its ultra-concentrated cocktail syrups, but we're partial to anything that will make your neighborhood cocktail pro have to dig out his Prohibition recipes.
For the friend who misses their favorite cocktail bar: Hella Cocktail Co Hella Harvest Highball Kit, $40
If your gift recipient missed out on savoring ice-cold Moscow mules this summer, no worries — Hella Cocktail Co's rendition is apple-y and bright, making for a warming winter flavor profile. Just add booze to this kit — or keep it low-ABV without it, so you can start sipping earlier in the day.
For your cousin who drinks only one glass of wine per night: Eto Wine Decanter in Copper, $168
Zoom happy hours (and the general emotional climate of 2020) have lead to us un-corking the occasional bottle at home and not being able to finish it in a single night ... which is just wasteful if you ask us. Eto's incredibly high-design decanter lets you serve in style, while also preserving leftover wine, with its award-winning vacuum seal, for up to a week. No more "Does this taste off to you"? (2020 leaves a sour enough taste in our mouth as it is.)
For the sister who drinks rosé year-round: Melanie Abrantes Cork Wine Cooler, $110
Help your friend keep things chill when entertaining or enjoying some rosé with dinner with this artful wine cooler collar. The understated combination of natural cork and walnut wood looks vaguely Scandi in the best way, and you can pick a light or dark option to suit your recipient's decor taste.
For the mixologist who's all about having the right bar cart aesthetic: Stelton Collared Cocktail Shaker & Jigger, $75
Looks aren't everything — but they're definitely part of the equation, as this handsome cocktail shaker and jigger set from Swedish brand Stelton proves. True to its nordic roots, it's highly functional and hardworking, but it also looks great perched next to your bottle of Hendrick's.
For the hostess who has a separate shelf for "the good stuff": Spartan Shop Hand-Blown Glass Decanter, $225
Smokey glass for their smokiest Scotch — or whatever their liquor of choice is these days. These stunning hand-blown decanters are finished with gold-leaf stoppers, an even more glam finishing touch.
For your "let's split a bottle" BFF: Fort Standard Stainless Steel Wine Stopper, $66
Make novelty wine stoppers a thing of the past. These surprisingly substantial, high-shine stoppers are a great stocking stuffer for any wine enthusiast. (Try saying that five times fast.)
For the aperitif buff: HAUS Spiced Cherry Aperitif, $35
Modern aperitif brand HAUS has made waves with their low-ABV (but no less celebratory) drinks, but this year's addition really takes the cake. Spiced Cherry is a delightful blend inspired by the classic Manhattan, and it's both delectable and looks great in your glass this time of year. Upgrade it with a splash of Rye or just a bit of soda.
For the low-ABV experimenter: Soho Home Clear Head Non-Alcoholic Martini Box, $175
The low-ABV movement is gaining steam even among those who cherish cocktail hour the most — and that's a good thing because it means more flavorful, exciting, and experimental potions for non-drinkers and drinkers alike. Soho Home's NA Martini Box includes two of Lyre's award-winning, alcohol-free "British spirits," as well as olives and a duet of their signature glassware for a timeless tipple, without the hangover.
For the craft beer bud: W&P The Capper, $5
We've all deliberated over opening a barrel-aged Bomber when all we really wanted was a taste, right? W&P's genius tool has a "recap" function — which, to our surprise, doesn't pithily summarize the latest episode of Succession for us, but rather puts the lid back on your most prized and nerd-out-worthy beers. Problem solved.
For the sentimental bartender: Nicole Rhea Sertodo Handmade Copper Bar Spoon, $28
Listen, nobody needs a handmade copper bar spoon. But if you want to see your favorite cocktail buff get a little teary-eyed this holiday season, slip one of these beauties in their stocking.
Emily Bihl is a freelance writer and sometimes-songwriter who can invariably be found rearranging furniture in a domicile somewhere along the Mississippi River. She lives with her black labrador Selkie and a small army of homemade ceramics, and has not willingly closed a browser tab since 2011.