“For vodka lovers, the gifting possibilities are endless since vodka is a blank canvas!” says Josue Gonzalez, the beverage director at the award-winning Seven Reasons. Whether you’re gifting for a Martini lover or a Moscow Mule fan, there’s a globe of gifts perfect for vodka aficionados.
Marta De La Cruz Marrero, the food and beverage director at Burlock Coast in Fort Lauderdale, recommends getting creative. “I’d love what I call a vodka nomad gift: a shaker set, a bottle of their favorite vodka, a small portion of olives, a Martini glass and a small bottle of vermouth packed into a tote. You can take it everywhere: a park, the beach, or a friend’s house.”
Below are more ideas for the best gifts to get right now for the vodka lover in your life.
Best Overall: Cocktail Kingdom Leopold Cocktail Shakers
"When it comes to a vodka-adjacent gift, great shakers are ideal because they allow you to get that real, cocktail bar-quality martini." says Hernan Trujilo, head bartender at J.Bespoke. "A shaker will provide you with a perfectly cold martini—and, as an added bonus, a pair of muscles to go with it."
This set of Boston shakers comprises two 12- and 28-ounce copper-plated stainless steel mixing tins. The containers secure inside each other thanks to a tight natural seal caused by the chilly vodka.
Cocktail Kingdom’s versions are considered the industry-standard: they are dishwasher-safe and durable enough to last through shift after shift or Martini hour after Martini hour. Perfect for entertaining, the shaker set holds two drinks at a time.
Best Pairing Knife: Dalstrong Paring Knife
“A good quality paring knife really makes your life easier when adding fruit garnishes from oranges, limes, lemons and kiwis to a variety of vodka-based seasonal cocktails,” says Mark Simmonds, the master blender for Broken Shed Vodka. “You will be able to make a twist for a Martini or even cut an orange slice for a vodka neat or vodka soda like a pro. I recommend experimenting and trying different fruit garnishes for various vodka classic cocktails.”
Dalstrong’s paring knife is razor-sharp, with a serrated edge that quickly cuts through tougher citrus peels (even slippery or wet ones). The blade is made with tempered high-carbon German steel while the handle is crafted from black Pakkawood, with a comfort grip for maximum maneuverability.
Best Ice Cube Tray: Glacio Ice Cube Tray
“I’d recommend gifting some large ice cube trays to make bigger ice cubes,” advises Chris Hanson, the vodka distiller and winemaker of Hanson of Sonoma. “This will keep the temperature and proof of the vodka a little more consistent while you drink, and will allow the qualities of the vodka to show in a clearer way. This is an easy way to set the stage of enjoying the quality of the vodka on its own, or for a freshly mixed cocktail.”
What’s the difference between a regular ice cube? Using a larger ice cube while shaking or stirring a drink will cause the ice to dilute slower, creating a colder, stronger cocktail. Glacio’s ice cube trays make eight giant ice cubes. The silicone siding enables users to pop out the cubes with ease.
Related: Best Ice Cube Trays
Best Book: Drinking Like Ladies: 75 modern cocktails from the world's leading female bartenders
A book that celebrates today's top female bartenders while simultaneously paying tasty tribute to great women in history? We'll raise a glass to that (and we assure you it won't be a raspberry martini). "Drinking Like Ladies" is a compendium of 75 innovative drink recipes inspired by 75 remarkable and trailblazing women in history—from Hedy Lamarr to Erykah Badu to Ruth Bader Ginsburg—each of whom is honored by an original cocktail contributed by one of today's most notable female mixologists.
Authored by longtime industry professionals Kirsten Amann and Misty Kalkofen, this volume is essential reading for anyone in your life who believes that women's history and delicious cocktails are both topics deserving of thorough study.
Best Mixer: Liquid Alchemist Ginger Syrup
Most vodka lovers will be familiar with the classic cocktail the Moscow Mule, in which vodka is paired with lime juice and ginger beer (and served in one of those fun copper mugs). The ginger beer can be a real variable, though: some are too sweet, some are too bitter, and if you're not familiar with the brand, it's hard to know what you're getting. Enter the ginger syrup from LA-based producer Liquid Alchemist, which takes the guesswork out by letting you control the sweetness level. Simply swap out the ginger beer for soda water and ginger syrup—they recommend a recipe of 2 oz. vodka, 1 oz. ginger syrup, 0.5 oz. lime, and 2 oz. soda water, but you can adjust the syrup proportion until you find the perfect sweetness level for your palate.
Better still, this ginger syrup is a natural in a number of other cocktails too, from the Gin-Gin Mule and the Dark & Stormy to modern classics like the Penicillin. The home bartender in your life will wonder how they ever got by without it.
Related: The Best Gifts for Cocktail Lovers
Best Vermouth: Regal Rogue Daring Dry Vermouth
"I would suggest Regal Rogue Daring Dry Vermouth as a great gift for vodka lovers because it makes for a perfect pairing to a dirty Martini,” says Lex Valles-Armand, the lead bartender at Hampton + Hudson in Atlanta's Inman Park neighborhood.
This unique vermouth is made with sauvignon blanc grapes from Southern Australia, which are distilled with a bouquet of native herbs, including anise myrtle, quandong, thyme, olive leaf, gentian and juniper. “The herbaceousness of the vermouth along with the salinity works wonders,” says Valles-Armand. “If you want to elevate the experience, add blue cheese stuffed olives to the martini." While many vodka lovers prefer to see that spirit’s flavors front-and-center in their Martini, a unique dry vermouth like this makes a case to go 50/50 or even reverse the specs, letting the vermouth take the starring role.
Related: The Best Vermouths
Best for Martinis: Dirty Sue Olive Brine Martini Mix
While a quality vodka will certainly upgrade a Martini, craft olive brine is one of the best-kept secrets to better drinks. Created by veteran bartender Eric “ET” Tecosky, Dirty Sue’s olive brine uses olives grown in the south of Spain, which are then brined and double-filtered.
Ian Campbell, the assistant general manager of food and beverage at the Gansevoort Hotel Group, has an avid martini-drinking brother. “I introduced him to Dirty Sue’s Olive Brine Martini Mix after I witnessed him accidentally dump an entire jar of olives into his glass while trying to squeeze out the last remnants of the juice," says Campbell. "It was a game-changer for him, and now his bar is rarely not stocked with a bottle of Dirty Sue’s or two.” The clean, perfectly-briney filtered martini mix comes in a variety of sizes, including 375 ml and 750 ml bottles.
The best bar gifts are those that combine practicality, ease-of-use, and elegance, which is why we recommend the gorgeous copper-plated Leopold shaking tins from Cocktail Kingdom (view on the Liquor.com store) for your favorite vodka aficionado this holiday season.
How much lead time do you need to order gifts around the holidays?
Typically, most domestic shipping services recommend getting your holiday gift orders in no later than early-to-mid-December in order to ensure delivery by Christmas Eve. With the supply chain issues currently plaguing all economic sectors, however, you may want to play it safe and get your ordering done even a couple of weeks earlier than that.
Can you ship alcohol from state to state?
Laws governing alcohol distribution in the US are notoriously convoluted, especially when shipping from state to state. If you're someone with the proper licenses to sell and distribute alcohol, then interstate shipping via FedEx or UPS may be possible (although you must advise the carrier your package contains alcohol, a surcharge will be applied to the shipment, and an adult must sign for it). If you're an unlicensed individual, your best bet is to check with your preferred local or online merchant about their shipping policies. Certain states don't allow the receipt of packages containing alcohol from other states, so you may find yourself looking up merchants based in your desired destination state, and ordering over the phone. Good luck!
Why trust Liquor.com?
This roundup was edited by Jesse Porter, a spirits writer who's been the happy recipient of numerous booze-themed gifts over the years, and who's proud to say that he's only ever re-gifted two or three of them.
Kate Dingwall is an experienced wine and spirits writer and sommelier. Her first industry job was at a Martini bar, and she still makes a mean Tuxedo.
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