Shopping for a drinks enthusiast this year? Cocktaillians can be a particular challenge. We’re not picky, per se. But, we know what we like. And what works. And what works well. We can venture into geeky territory. We’re up to date on the latest cocktail news. And we usually do things with purpose. When I put it that way, we sound like a damn difficult bunch to buy for. Of course, everyone’s a little different, so I can’t tell you the perfect present to buy for the cocktail lover in your life. But, I can definitely tell you what NOT to buy them.
This group of don’ts will just end up collecting dust:
Whiskey Stones. These ice replacements just don’t do the trick. And if you have a freezer for chilling your fake ice rocks, then you should be using it to make actual ice. I’ve recently heard of people using these to keep warm beverages warm. I don’t buy that either. Just employ smaller pours. Or drink faster.
Gimmick ice cube trays: While the idea of a little titanic ice ship floating in your drink might seem fun to you, it will not be perceived that way by your cocktail friend. No, they will only be frustrated by the cheap quality of the tray making it impossible to pry the whimsical shapes from the hard plastic. They will stick to their usual ice cube trays and molds, selecting different sizes of cubes or spheres to suit the specific needs of each cocktail.
Plastic Shakers: There’s a reason you don’t see plastic shakers in bars. And if you do, perhaps you need to change bars. Why do metal shakers work best? Cold, hard science, people. They cool down faster plus some other geeky details. But, I won’t blind you with science. Just trust me on this one.
Some additional suggestions gleaned from throwing the question out to other cocktail-minded friends.
Mixers of Mysterious Origins: Unless you are a cocktail person yourself, chances are high that whichever mixer you might offer your budding bartender, will be the wrong one. It’s just Murphy’s Law of Mixology. Maybe you wanna start rethinking this friendship? If only to simply your gift-shopping!
Flavored Salts or Sugar: Most cocktail enthusiasts will make their own and your tin of salt will end up as a paperweight.
Cutesy Cocktail Books: Cocktails are a hot trend, so anyone and everyone is writing a book about them – experience be damned! Just because it has the word “cocktail” in the title, doesn’t means it’ll be a good reference. Stick with books from trusted names.
Mojito Master: What a piece of junk and another example of a buzzy trend creating useless tools.
And just for fun, some completely over the top don’ts:
Chambong: I really can’t think of a situation in which I would need a Champagne bong. In the words of its creators: #KlassyAF!
Sip and Swirl “Non-spill” Martini Glass: Because no one should drink a martini through a straw. Ever. Also, if you can’t drink it without spilling, then stop drinking!
Wingman Shot Glass: I don’t even know where to begin…
But don’t fret! We really do know that it’s the thought that counts.