As a cocktail content creator, I regularly get asked for my recommendations on bar tools, glassware, booze, books, and more. I’ve teamed up with my good friends at Chef’s Paradise to curate a comprehensive Taste & Tipple Ultimate Starter Kit that includes everything you or the aspiring home bartender on your list will need to shake and stir up some cocktail magic for years to come. Use code “Tipplekit” to get this suite of bar essentials for $175, a savings of $40 off the marked retail price of $215.
In addition to this incredible package deal that Chef’s Paradise and I have compiled for you, I’m sharing my top gift picks for the amateur mixologist in your life.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something through some of the links in this post, you won’t pay a penny more, but we’ll get a small commission, which helps keep the bar stocked.
If you’ve been tuning in to my popular Virtual Happy Hour series on Instagram you’ll know that the secret to looking good while shaking is a killer smile. But a toothy grin will only get you so far if you don’t have the right tools. I’ve partnered with my friends at Ottawa’s pre-eminant destination for kitchenware and barware, Chef’s Paradise, to hand-select the best bar tools to get you or your lucky recipient mixing in style.
This comprehensive kit includes a beautiful Parisian shaker, mixing glass with bar spoon, Hawthorne strainer, jigger, Y-peeler, citrus juicer, fine-mesh strainer, cocktail picks, aromatic and orange bitters, and king cube ice tray. On offer for $215 – this is a great deal. As a dedicated Taste & Tipple blog reader, you can get it for even less; use code “Tipplekit” at checkout to get everything you see here for $175.
For the home bartender who wears their heart on their sleeve, these Old Fashioned cufflinks from Love & Victory are a great choice. If they’re more of a Negroni person, there’s cufflinks for that too. This Brooklyn-based brand also has a wide array of pins, cocktail picks, socks, apparel and glassware for the barfly.
Whisky lovers will rejoice upon unwrapping this handsome decanter from the Ontario-based artisans at Studio50. Their Rock Bottom Vessel collection comes in several sizes with different options for the stone base and leather wrap at the neck. Their bar cart is about to get a lot better looking.
This one is on *my* list this year. The fine folks at one of the world’s best bars have released a new book specifically designed for home cocktailing. Boasting more than 600 recipes created by the mad geniuses at Death & Co, the “Death & Co Welcome Home” will keep the mixologist in your life inspired and well-seasoned for quite some time. Plus, you’ll likely get to sample the fruits of their labour, so this gift is really a win-win.
Barware, liquor bottles, and cocktail books are often functional pieces of art, deserving of a pedestal. Help them display their top-shelf booze in high-style with this Tiered Bar Cart from West Elm that is currently on sale for the affordable price of $539 CAD. As you may be aware, I have a comprehensive liquor library due to the sheer volume of bottles and glassware I have in my personal collection but if I had the real estate, you can bet your bottom dollar I’d be adding a bar cart like this one to my home.
The charm of vintage at an affordable price point – these reprints of classic spirits posters are available in a set of three for as little as $15. You get to choose the size format that will work in your gift recipient’s home. These would make a great addition to any kitchen, dining room, or even home office – especially if they want to signal to their coworkers that they take 5 o’clock very seriously in their household.
Save their wood, marble, or glass coffee table from smudges and watermarks with gallery-worthy coasters from Jonathan Adler. Add a bit of whimsy with these eye coasters in pretty pastels. If you’re looking for something more moody, opt for these “full dose” coasters instead.
For the home bartender who hates fussing with garnish, these dehydrated lime wheels are a beautiful finishing touch for any sour or Tiki style cocktail. In addition to looking good, this citrus is dehydrated at peak ripeness so they impart great lime scent and flavour upon rehydration. If lime isn’t their thing, opt for orange or lemon wheels.
Much like wine, cocktails are best served in drink-specific glassware that enhances the drinking experience. For the home bartender who loves to whip up a Ramos Gin Fizz or other long frothy cocktails, the Riedel Fizz Glass is the perfect implement. I have these glasses and love the design, weight, and size. Riedel also makes matching Rocks Glasses, Sour Glasses, and a gorgeous Whiskey Set – all available at Chef’s Paradise. Use discount code “Tipple2021” at checkout for 10% off your order.
Bartenders can get pretty particular about their ice. Why, you may ask? Well, aside from the tremendous visual appeal of a crystal clear king cube, clear ice is free from impurities and means you can chill and dilute your cocktail without adding weird freezer flavours to your best spirits. Clear ice is both a form and function kind of thing. This clear ice cube maker is one of the more affordable, well-reviewed, and compact options on the market.
Pro tip: if your favourite home bartender is hosting a fête, bring ice. You can never have enough ice. Maybe considering gifting them a stylish ice bucket to keep all that ice in too. This Mae Champagne Gold Ice Bucket from CB2 adds a gilded touch to any home bar and ensures that ice storage isn’t an afterthought.
Say my name, say my name. Give them the gift of personalization with a monogrammed muddler in your choice of wood – walnut, oak, maple, or acajou. This sleek muddler will help ensure their mojitos are deliciously fragrant and there won’t be any confusion as to who it belongs to.
Let them wear their cocktail pride with this embroidered cotton sweatshirt from the Taste and Tipple Shop. This cozy sweater will keep them warm all winter long and signal to others that they’d rather be drinking a combination of whisky, bitters, sugar, and water.
The Star Wars fan will be over the moon for this Hawthorne strainer modelled after everyone’s favourite heap of junk, the Millennium Falcon. Mover and Shaker Co has a cult following amongst cocktail enthusiasts and are known for their cool and edgy bar accessories and apparel.
If it’s not their first rodeo, the home bartender in your life will likely already have the essential bitters: aromatic, orange, and Pecyhaud’s. I like to call bitters the “spice rack of your home bar” – so help them spice up their life with this Scrappy’s New Classics Mini Bitters Set. Lavender bitters are a requirement for the classic Bee’s Knees, I often put cardamom bitters to good use, and they can get adventurous with the black lemon and Orleans flavours.