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What do you get a gin lover “other than more gin?” laughs Crystal Chasse, the beverage director of Talk Story Rooftop at the McCarren Hotel. “Glassware is always a go-to gift that I like to give. I typically like to gift either beautiful vintage glassware that I've found or a really unique modern variety, depending on the recipient. Unique vermouths are another top-notch gift!”
There are gin books, infusion kits and bitters, all perfect for die-hard gin fans. And if all else fails, Jessica Balts, a bartender at FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar, recommends a gibson-themed gift basket. “I believe a gift basket with a bottle of gin, Bordiga Dry vermouth, and a jar of Sable and Rosenfeld’s Tipsy Onions would be a divine gift.”
That said, "Nothing is going to make a gin lover happier than sharing good gin with good people,” says Jeremy Allen, the beverage director of MiniBar Hollywood. Below, find the best gin-themed gifts that bartenders love.
Best Overall: DIY Gin & Tonic Kit
“A great Gin & Tonic is my favorite way to enjoy gin. But for me, gin is all about those botanicals so I want something to highlight them,” describes Chelsea Napper, the bar director of Chicago’s Yūgen. “I would love an at-home tonic making kit.”
With the contents of this kit, home drinkers can make their own unique blend of botanical-infused gins and tonics. For gin, custom-blend juniper berries, coriander, cassia cinnamon, lemon peel and apricot. Blend your own tonic with cinchona bark, citric acid, gentian root, lavender and other flowers.
This kit contains a range of spices to craft three bottles of customized gin and 3 quarts of tonic syrup: enough to make 38 servings of Gin & Tonics.
Related: The Best Gins
Most Unique: Diguo Vacuum Coffee Maker
“One of my favorite items to play with when it comes to experimenting with gin is a vacuum coffee maker,” describes Anthony Escalante, the resident bartender of the Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix. “Typically it is used to brew coffee using two chambers where vapor pressure and gravity produce drinkable coffee. Instead of water and coffee grounds try using gin and your very own unique blends of loose leaf tea, citrus peels and herbs to make your exciting gin infusions.”
This option has an elegant gold finish with a glass siphon. It plays double duty: making excellent coffee and infusing gin with custom ingredients. It also makes an excellent showpiece on top of a bar. “This tool is also known as a VAC-POT, Siphon or Syphon Coffee Maker," says Escalante.
Best Martini Glass: Riedel Drink Specific Glassware Nick & Nora
“Nick and Nora glasses are a beautiful way to serve Martinis and they make a great gift,” says Ellen Talbot, the lead bartender of Nashville’s Fable Lounge.
The Nick and Nora glass is named after the fictitious crime-fighting duo (and avid Martini lovers) from the 1930s and 1940s film series based on Dashiell Hammett's novel. “The Riedel Nick & Nora coupe glasses are perfect for a gin lover,” adds Gavin Humes, the director of food and beverage at Scratch Restaurants Group. “They're ideal for showcasing the elegance of a Martini without the awkward and frankly hideous angular Martini glasses, and they have the flexibility to work for virtually any gin cocktail."
For this glass, the famed glassware company partnered with bartender Zane Harris to make a cocktail glass specifically designed to let the ingredients in a Martini shine. “I love them to show off an Aviation or a Last Word, and they're super fun to drink out of!” says Humes.
Best Bitters: Hella Cocktail Co. Bitters
"One of the coolest things for people experimenting with gin or gin cocktails is the addition of bitters. Essentially a condensed alcohol tincture, bitters enhance properties of spirits,” says Juan Fernandez, the beverage director of The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Charlotte.
The Black-owned bitters brand Hella Cocktail Co. is one of the best in the game, crafting unique offerings like Mexican Chocolate and Eucalyptus. A few drops will bring anyone’s gin game to the next level.
This sample set includes five 1.7-ounce bottles of small-batch bitters, including smoked chili, citrus, aromatic, orange and ginger flavorings. The variety of flavors range from more classic bitters to more experimental options. Use this kit to play around, and purchase larger bottles of the ones you love.
Best Kit: 1pt Gin Lover Cocktail Infusion Kit
Piero Procida, food & beverage director of The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills, recommends the Gin Lover Cocktail Infusion Kit from 1pt. "It’s ideal for making craft cocktails at home and learning to infuse different botanicals."
With this easy-to-use kit, gin lovers can infuse their own cocktails with a rainbow of herbs and spices. Follow the step-by-step instructions and add gin to the 17-ounce glass infusion bottle (with a stainless steel filter and walnut-finished wood lid) and add your preferred botanicals. Flavor blends include floral, ginger and elderflower, and lime (with botanicals and edible grasses). Each flavor packet is enough to infuse half a standard bottle of gin. The kit also includes cocktail recipes and a tasting straw.
Best Mixing Glass: Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Mixing Glass
“I love a good Martini, and having a nice mixing glass handy to stir one up makes them all the more enjoyable,” says Blair Bowman, the general manager of Cincinnati’s Khora. “This one by the Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. is elegant, stylish and timeless.”
The handsome glass is a pricier option, but any Martini lover will love adding this piece to their bar. This 20-ounce mixing glass is blown by hand in Charleston, S.C. The heavy base gives good weight to the mixing glass, while a smooth black rim adds a dose of personality. The glass can hold three or four stirred cocktails at a time. Add a mixing spoon and a jigger for the perfect present.
Related: The Best Gifts for Bartenders
Best Recipe Book: The Martini Cocktail
“I’m a firm believer that the Martini is one of, if not the most personal cocktail there is. It is also one of the most misunderstood,” describes Hendrick’s Gin’s Vance Henderson. “For that, Robert Simonson’s book 'The Martini Cocktail' is the perfect gift for any gin enthusiast, as it covers the drink’s complex history and offers 50 recipes.”
Penned by award-winning drinks writer Robert Simonson, this book dives into the centuries-old history of what we now know as the recipe. There are 50 different recipes collected from bartenders past and present, including famed Martini recipes from Dukes Bar at the Dukes Hotel in London and Musso and Frank in Los Angeles.
This is far more than a recipe book, however: it catalogs the evolution of the drink, dabbled with humor and historical fun facts.
Related: The Best Gifts for Cocktail Lovers
Best Book: Gin: The Manual
“There is no shortage of amazing gifts for long-time gin enthusiasts or novice drinkers who are just starting to dive into the spirits world," says Dean Hurst, the beverage director of Datz Restaurant Group in Tampa Bay, Fla. "Nothing is more valuable than the gift of knowledge. 'Gin: The Manual' by Dave Broom is great for the at-home mixologist looking to expand their collection with more niche spirits.”
To rate each brand (the book covers over 120), Broom tries the gin four ways: with tonic, with lemonade, in a Negroni, and in a Martini. He then scores accordingly.
Think of this as your gin handbook: the pages are filled with practical advice, tasting notes on popular gins, and historical facts on an array of brands. The history section is exceptionally detailed, taking readers through the colorful history of the botanical spirit, from pirates to illegal stills to today’s gins.
Best Barware: Cole Porter Ritz Glasses
“If you’re going to make an amazing Martini (which I’m positive you are), then a beautiful and versatile set of cocktail coupes are in order,” explains Hurst. “Sure you can get a set of exquisite Martini glasses, (and you should have them) but I’m one for versatility and multi-use when at home. Thus, an ornate set of coupe glasses will serve you wonderfully for Martinis, sour cocktails, and even a cheeky Champagne toast!”
This set of two elevated etched glasses are inspired by Hollywood-era vintage coupes. Each glass holds 8 ounces of Martinis and is hand-crafted in the U.S. by artisans.
Best Budget: The Curious Bartender’s Gin Palace
“I also love 'The Curious Bartender’s Gin Palace' by Tristan Stephenson," continues Hearst, "particularly for someone looking for a deep dive in the world of gin.” A gin expert and best selling author, Stephenson completely catalogs the history of gin, from its origins in the Middle Ages to the Gin Craze of 18th Century London.
It’s full of interesting anecdotes about gin: exploring everything from gin’s history as an anti-malarial medication to the herbal genever made by Dutch sailors. Wonderful full-page photos and historical lithographs complete the reading experience. This book is an excellent addition to any bar cart.
Best Vermouth: Lo-Fi Dry Vermouth
If they’re a fan of gin, chances are they love a Martini. And great dry vermouth is a Martini essential.
This Northern California bottle is giving vermouth a face-lift with fresh branding and complex flavors. Designed by Napa’s E. & J. Gallo and Steven Grasse, the fortified muscat-based beverage has beautiful layers of spice and citrus fruits that stand up in a Martini and tastes elegant on its own with ice and a citrus twist. The American-made bottles (they also make an amaro and a sweet vermouth) are specifically crafted to pair well with American spirits. Try it in a vermouth spritz with citrus, or pour a healthy dose into a 50/50 Martini.
Best Bottle: FEW Spirits Barrel-Aged Gin
If you are going to opt for gifting a bottle, pick one that will start a conversation. Over in Illinois, FEW Spirits is making incredibly unique bottlings of gin. You can liken this barrel-aged option to a traditional genever, with earthy juniper and complexity from the time spent in oak. FEW takes their standard gin and leaves it to age in a mix of new American oak barrels and used rye and bourbon barrels. It’s then bottled at a hot 46.5%.
It’s a fascinating bottle, with layered flavors of juniper, orange, sweet vanilla and a rich woodiness. It’s a different take on gin, with slight whiskey characteristics that make this an unusual addition to a bar. It makes for a quirky Martini, or try it in an Old Fashioned or Martinez.
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Kate Dingwall is an experienced spirits writer and glassware collector. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for five years, from the best glassware to the best beer cocktail recipes.