Buying gifts can be an overwhelming experience. To help you out, we’ve put together three gift guides to the perfect spirit gift for everyone on your shopping list, including Great Spirits to Give as Holiday Gifts, Spirits That Look Expensive But Aren’t and this one, Spirits Related Gear. Among the three, we hope we can help you take care of everyone on your holiday gift list.
One of our favorite spirit-related gifts is the Soda Stream Instant Soda Maker ($100). We’ve known about this product and its soda making capabilities for a while, but it didn’t click as an ultimate bar tool until we saw noted mixologist Adam Robinson using it to make his own tonic water behind the bar at Park Kitchen. Many great cocktails require soda or tonic water (including our favorite Ramos Gin Fizz) and the Soda Stream system makes it extremely easy to make them when you need them. The Soda Stream Instant Soda Maker is an extraordinarily easy to use and functional gift: fill the special litre bottle with cold water, push the carbonating button a few times, and add your favorite syrup or ingredients and you’ve got a freshly made, delicious product.
If you aren’t up to making your own tonic syrup, you can pick up Tom’s Handcrafted Tonic or John’s Premium Tonic, both excellent choices. The best thing about the Soda Stream is that when you aren’t making your own tonic or soda water, you can make your own soda, root beer, or flavored soda water. This versatility makes it our top recommended spirits related gift.
The Glencairn Scotch Whisky Glass ($12-$19) – When it comes to drinking spirits, the glass you put them in actually makes a difference. How a glass concentrates or dissipates the nose of a spirit, and how it’s shaped, impacts your experience of what’s inside. The Glencairn Scotch Whisky Glass was custom designed for drinking scotch whisky. The unique shape showcases the color of the spirit and concentrates the nose so you get more pronounced notes from the nose as you drink your whisky. We’ve done many side-by-side comparisons with other glassware (including the standard tumbler and snifter style glasses) and there’s no comparison – the Glencairn Scotch Whisky Glass consistently delivers a superior experience. This is one of the reasons why most scotch whisky distillers use this glass and it’s the glass used at all the Whisky Fest events.
The Glencairn Scotch Whisky Glass is also a great companion gift to most of the spirits we recommend in our Great Spirits to Give as Holiday Gifts guide. If you’re giving someone a bottle of $100+ whisky, it’s great to spend the extra $12 to get them an amazing glass to put it in.
Fred Cool Shooters Shot Glass Mold ($10-$20) – If you are looking for something fun or perhaps a stocking stuffer, the Fred Cool Shooters Shot Glass Mold is a small gift that makes a big impression. Made out high grade silicone, the Cool Shooters lets you make shot glasses out of ice. We’ve found that these ice shot glasses are a consistent hit at parties and are a perfect vessel to shoot spirits that are best ice cold (like the Agwa de Bolivia). Because they melt, the Cool Shooters encourages people to actually shoot their shots rather than stand around holding them.
The Fred Cool Shooters Shot Glass Mold is one of those simple but inventive gifts that is a sure-fire hit.
Uber Bar Tools Pro Jig ($12) and Oxo Soft Works Double Jigger ($8-$12) – If there is one secret to making great cocktails at home, it’s accurate measuring of ingredients. Can you imagine someone trying to bake a cake without measuring cups? Cocktails are as sensitive to measurements and ratios (maybe even more so) than baking, yet many people still ‘eyeball’ their measurements. If you’ve never jiggered (the device used to measure your spirits) your cocktails, you’ll be blown away at the difference once you start really measuring your ingredients.
While there are a lot of jiggers out there, we’ve found two that work exceptionally well and are well worth their purchase price. Uber Bar Tools Pro Jig is an inventive take on the jigger, with one side that measures 1 1/4 oz and another which has 3 measuring areas for 1/2 oz, 3/4 oz and 1/4 oz. We’ve found the Pro Jig to be easy to use and clear enough that it’s hard to mess up your measurements (read an expanded review of the Pro Jig). For people who enjoy a more traditional style jigger, the Oxo Soft Works Double Jigger has stepped measurements – 1 1/2 oz, 3/4 oz and 1/3 oz on one side and 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz and 1 oz on the other. The Oxo Jigger is great for speed, but more difficult to use than the Pro Jig.
No matter which style you chose, giving a great jigger to a cocktail enthusiast for the holidays is one of the best affordable gifts you can get.
MyPressi Twist Portable Espresso Maker ($149) – The essential element to any great coffee-based cocktail is good, fresh coffee. Sometimes brewing up a pot or rolling out a big espresso machine simply isn’t practical (or you’re somewhere where you don’t have access to either). The MyPressi Twist Portable Espresso Maker enables amazing espresso almost anywhere – just add ground coffee, boiling water and then pull. The results we got from this little machine were nothing short of outstanding. The MyPressi Twist uses small CO2 chargers (like you use to make whipped cream) to replicate the pressure of a commercial-style espresso machine and enables this little ball-shaped device to pull shots with beautiful crema on top.
The MyPressi Twist Portable Espresso Maker is well priced, exceptionally designed, and makes a fantastic gift. The fact that you can easily take it on the road and enjoy commercial grade espresso is simply amazing.