Kitted Out: Holiday Spirits in a Box

Delight the drink lover in your life with the means of making everything from beer to bitters to gin. These 5 kits are presents that unwrap more than once—first when they're opened, and again when they're put to drinkable use. Wrap a parcel for a generous friend, and you might find yourself reaping the rewards of giving. —Seanan Forbes

Craft your own bitters kit

A Bitter Set

Jomaree Pinkard, Tobin Ludwig, and Eduardo Simeon kickstarted Hella Bitter's DIY kit into being in 2014. The tuxedo-crisp black box contains precision-tooled equipment, ingredients for making aromatic and citrus bitters, clear instructions, and advice on how to tweak the blends to make them your own. Change the base spirit, increase the spices, or add a twist of ginger, walnut, or cranberries to customize your creation. Bitters require patience—weeks of steeping, in other words—but they last a long time. Craft Your Own Bitters Kit, $64.95 from Hella BitterBenny Migliorino
Gin making kit

The Freshest G&T

If your gift recipient prefers gratification on the more immediate side, wrap a gin and tonic kit. At Amor y Amargo, in New York City's East Village, bartender Sother Teague mixes subtle drinks featuring digestifs, apéritifs, and bitters. Recently, Teague turned his talents to the creation of a DIY gin and tonic kit. Of the three tins in the box, two are for making the gin; the third will flavor tonic. Like Hella Bitter, Teague is keen on creativity; there are directions on how to make your drinks seasonal and original. Where bitters take weeks of infusing, though, gin and tonic require mere days. Gin-Making Kit, $54.95 from Williams-SonomaBenny Migliorino
Caipirinha kit

An Organic Caipirinha

On a more straightforwardly boozy note, Novo Fogo has a Caipirinha kit built to bring warm beachside sunlight to the coldest winter day. The back of the box says "Brazilian Zen." The contents: a bottle of silver cachaça, a muddler, and two jars for shaking and drinking. It's a fun, funky, easy-to-use (and drink) set--and Novo Fogo is organic, so you get to feel good about your gift. Caipirinha Kit, $36.99 from DrinkUpNYBenny Migliorino
Crafted cocktail kit

Giver's Choice

For those who like variety in their choice of cocktails, Crafted Taste delivers a range of spirited cocktail kits based on craft spirits and mixers, including Aged Manhattan (a combination of bourbon, Carpano Antica vermouth, bitters, and an aging kit) and New York Deli (gin, Pimm's No. 1, and Cel-Ray soda). Buy a kit with mixers only, get a set that includes spirits, or purchase a subscription and get a new kit every month. It's far less expensive than hanging out at an upscale cocktail bar, and you get to enjoy your drinks in the comfort of your home--and your pajamas. Specialty Cocktail Kits, starting at $55 from Crafted TasteBenny Migliorino
Brooklyn Brew Beer kit

Boxed Brews

Give a Brooklyn Brew Shop beer kit, and you're passing along a kit that started as a gift. Years ago, when co-founders Erica Shea and Stephen Valand were first dating, Shea gave her beer-loving boyfriend her father's old brewing equipment. Now, the company sells seasonal, special, and steadily popular brewing kits, as well as accessories, mixes, and books. There's a kit for the first time brewer, which is ideal if you know someone who's been circling brewing, but not quite mustering the nerve. Or go for grapefruit honey ale, the darkly seasonal chocolate maple porter, or bikini beer, their collaboration with Evil Twin Brewing; the toughest part may be deciding which to buy. Beer Making Kits, $40 per kit at Brooklyn Brew ShopSamantha Hills, Brooklyn Brew Shop