The Mixologist’s Guide to Holiday Shopping

It’s that time of year again, folks. The time where we need to start thinking about the tedious ordeal that is holiday shopping. If done right, shopping for the holiday season can be a fun way to show people you care. If done wrong, shopping for the holiday season can be a hellish experience that results in hurt feelings, hurt egos, and hurt wallets. 

So, how do we avoid all of that yuletide nonsense? While I can’t give you all of the answers, I can help you out by saying that holiday shopping doesn’t have to be as intimidating as we make it out to be - especially if you’re shopping for a mixology master and/or alcohol aficionado! 

This guide is here to help you on your journey to become a Gifting God. A Present Professional. A Holiday Hero. So read on if you’re looking for tips on what to get the serious sippers in your life, and amazing gift ideas (from great whiskey brands to the right cocktail and whiskey gift sets) to give your loved one this fateful season.

So how do you do holiday shopping for someone who is big into mixology? Well, let’s start with the basic tools and supplies to get your mind going:

What Every Drinker Needs in Their Home:

  • The Right Sets. Our college days are behind us (probably), and it’s time to ditch the solo cup. I know it’s hard. But we’re better than that. The glasses with which we serve our beloved alcoholic cocktails or liquors are just as important as the liquor itself! Luckily, I’ve come prepared. We’ve got whiskey decanter sets, beautiful glasses, and even beakers for some extra creative flair! Check ‘em out and find something for you or your loved one! 
  • Alcohol (Duh!): Any mixologist-to-be knows that having a diverse array of liquor and bubbly beverages is a must. Plus, who doesn’t love being given some grade-A booze? Find quality clear and brown liquors, or find out your significant other’s or friend’s preferences, and put them on your Christmas shopping list! Who knows, maybe you’ll find some for yourself! 
  • The Right Tools: Having the right bartender kit on hand will make anyone’s day! Give your bar beginner or pro pourer a set to get them started, or just give them a little inspiration! Here are the best tools to have on hand that should be on any bartender’s utility belt: 

What Makes a Good Cocktail Kit?

If you’re looking to make your own beginner bartender kit for your friend or S/O, here’s what you need to know, and more importantly, what you’re going to need!

  • A jigger: According to my grandpa, people used to drink ‘a jigger of gin’ before bed. While it may have been just him that did that, it doesn’t make this nifty little tool any less essential! Jiggers usually come with exact measurements to pour out portions, so you don’t accidentally pour too much gin in your tonic and wake up in the parking lot of a Chili’s in Ocean City, MD. 
  • Some mixing spoons: Don’t get caught mixing your drinks with a normal spoon like an ape. Mixing spoons are designed to mix your alcohol perfectly, with that fun spiral design that makes everyone look equal parts professional and badass. Do not overlook them when shopping for a bar tool set. Don’t do it! 
  • A martini shaker: Grab one of these for someone to get the opportunity to say “shaken, not stirred” the next you ask them for a drink. Also, it mixes and cools down beverages, so that’s a big plus. 
  • Strainer: Round out your DIY bartender Christmas gift box with a tool that is easy to use, essential to have, and makes you look like a pro. Strainers are used for mixing fruity drinks that might have a bit too much pulp, or for straining ice! 
  • Mixing Beaker: Beakers may share their name with a popular Muppets character I was scared of growing up, but they’re nothing to laugh at (or fear, in my case) - they’re necessary for muddling, mixing, and doing other complicated alcohol-related sciences. For an elegant touch, add this crystal cocktail mixing glass beaker to your shopping basket! It looks amazing in any kitchen, and can even be used as a cup when you’re running low on clean cups, which happens to me often. 

The thought of making your own DIY bar kit a little intimidating? Or, maybe, you’re running a little low on holiday shopping time? Worry not, my dear friend - we here at Mixology & Craft have a whole section on our website dedicated to this common problem. Read on for our recommendations: 

What Are the Best Mixology Kits?

Best Beginner Bar Kit: The Starter Cocktail Set

This suave, chic, and oh-so-sleek cocktail kit is every beginner bartender’s dream. With an elegant wood holder, this stainless steel kit includes a rust-proof 18oz martini shaker, a double-sided jigger (with markings!), a mixing spoon, a Hawthorne strainer, ice tongs, a bottle opener, AND a set of extremely useful cocktail cards for practicing perfection! This is one of the most perfect gift sets there are.

Best Portable Bar Kit: The Travel Bartender Kit & Bag

This is the bartender’s equivalent of a doctor’s medicine bag. No holiday shopping is complete without it.This unbelievable set comes with 2 rustproof 18 and 28oz Boston cocktail tins, a double sided jigger, a wooden muddler, a 10” mixing spoon, a Hawthorne strainer, a julep strainer, a fine strainer, 2 liquor pourers, a lemon squeezer, a lemon zester, ice tongs, a bottle opener, a double lever corkscrew, a Lewis ice bag, and an unbelievably stylish canvas carrying bag to put it all in.

Most Stylish Bar Kit: The Rose-Gold Copper Kit w/ Wood Stand

Not only does this set perfectly match the Christmas aesthetic, it has everything you need to make delicious drinks and look good while doing it. This set practically sells itself - it includes a rust proof 24oz cocktail shaker with a built in strainer, 2 double-sided jiggers, a mojito muddler, a mixing spoon, a Hawthorne strainer, 2 liquor pourers, ice tongs, a double lever corkscrew, a rustic box stand, and an added rustic rope for the final touch. Get this for anyone who wants their drink stand to match their vintage vibe. 

Didn’t see anything that quite fit the vibe you were looking for here? No sweat - here’s our full list of cocktail sets for you to peruse!

What is a Good Gift for a Whiskey Lover?

Whiskey lovers are a different breed, and honestly, have a lot more requirements to ensure a good drinking experience (if you’re a whiskey lover, you’ll know what I mean). Getting a gift for a whiskey lover doesn’t just mean finding the right whiskey, it means finding the right whiskey glass set with stones to give them. 

As a whiskey advocate myself, I’ve got the top-tier recommendations right here: 

Best Types of Whiskey to Give

For a Serious Bar Upgrade: Bulleit Bourbon, Johnnie Walker Black Label, or Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey

  • These high-grade, higher ABV liquors are high quality, but won’t break the bank. They’d make an excellent centerpiece for any holiday gift baskets.

For Someone With Worldly Taste: Lagavulin 16 Year, Suntory Toki Japanese Whiskey, or Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whisky

  • Know a big whiskey fan with international interest? These top 3 whiskies from around the world will not disappoint. 

For a Bottle That’s Beautiful All On Its Own: Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon or Basil Hayden Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

  • These bottles don’t just have what it takes, they look like a million bucks. All you need is a little bow on these bottles to make them presentable and ready to give. Give them a whiskey decanter set with it to show your loved one you know they have good taste!

Perfect Holiday Whiskey Gift Sets

Don’t worry, we don’t only cater to cocktail lovers. We have incredible whiskey sets, too! Here are the top sets for the mixologist in your life: 

Best Classy Whiskey Gift Set: This Suave Whiskey Glass & Stone Box

  • This whiskey gift set doesn’t hold back! Form meets function here, folks - with 2 10oz whiskey glasses, ice tongs, 6 round granite whiskey stones, a wooden tray, 2 slate coasters, and even whiskey cards, all in a classy black box, this is the ultimate gift for the Bond in your life. 

Best Badass Whiskey Gift Set: This Bullet Chilling Stones Box

  • These turn the party. I can’t get over how cool these are. This set comes with 6 amazingly detailed bullet chilling stones in a wooden army-style crate. Give them to a friend who wants to take their whiskey sipping experience from a 3 to a 300. 

Best Combo Whiskey Gift Set: This Whiskey Decanter Combo Box 

  • This whiskey decanter set has everything a whiskey lover needs. They may never need another whiskey-themed gift again! With a classy liquor decanter, 2 10oz whiskey glasses, ice tongs, 8 Granit whiskey chilling stones, and whiskey cards, this set sits nicely in a gorgeous rustic wooden stand. 

Best Whiskey Gift Set for Beginners: This Rustic Whiskey Combo Box

  • This is one of those perfect gift sets for men and women who just want to sip a whiskey sour now and again, or are experimenting with their love for whiskey. In a (super freaking cool) burnt rustic box, your loved one will find 2 10oz whiskey glasses, ice tongs, 8 granite stones, a wooden tray, 2 slate coasters, and whiskey cards. The incredible box not only fits it all, but it looks great as a centerpiece for any kitchen or living room. 

Final Thoughts

I hope this has made your holiday shopping a little easier this year - take some of these ideas and incorporate them into some seriously cool holiday or Christmas gift baskets, or just give them on their own - either way, you’ll be hailed as the best gift giver in the friend group/family, possibly the world. Don’t forget to get on our website to find more gift ideas, and accessories your loved one might, well, love! 

Now get shopping, and get sipping!



Contributing Writer: Aurora Detor