11 gifts for the amateur mixologist

Your chances of getting a cheap, top-notch cocktail this holiday just skyrocketed.

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She’s that friend who can’t taste a new spice without insisting it would put a new spin on an Old Fashioned. He’s the guy who leaves bags of sugar and citrus peels on your kitchen counters, swearing that they’re going to be used for something delicious later. You’ve got that friend who aspires to be a mixologist, and this holiday season, you want to give them something besides the usual a bottle of booze.

First of all, inquire after the basics. Chances are your friend already has a cobbler shaker and a hawthorne strainer (for those who prefer their drinks stirred, not shaken). Other must-haves to keep an eye out for include a good bar spoon and jigger. Assess the gaps in their toolkit and buy accordingly.

If you’re looking for a big gift for the true beginner, pick up a set of basic barware tools, or start a tradition, and get them one or two pieces at a time over the next several gift-giving occasions.

Chances are, however, if they’ve expressed interest in cocktail-mixing, you’re looking for something that goes a little deeper. Here are 10 picks that will get their creative juices flowing.

Porthole Infuser
Literally on the rocks
Drink it all in
Round out the evening
Gin and Ton-kit
Water A Crowd
AeroGarden herb garden
Handheld citrus reamer
The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique
BDX Cocktail Cube