Shopping & Reviews

2012 Gift Guide: Cocktail Kits

A fine bottle of booze is a holiday giving go-to, but the gift is much more special when it's the whole cocktail. Round up all the ingredients for an old fashioned, a Moscow mule, a limey tequila gimlet, a Bloody Mary, or a classic gin martini—glasses and barware included—and give a gift that doubles as a party.

Bloody Mary

The gift of a strong, spicy, and appropriate-to-drink-before-noon cocktail kit will be much appreciated on Christmas morning. Employees Only makes one helluva bloody mix: with tomato juice, horseradish, capers, worcestershire, and hot pepper sauce, it’s the perfect balance of spicy and briny. All you need to add is a healthy dose of booze (a sleek Japanese-style jigger will help you dole out a smooth pour of vodka) and your favorite garnishes–we like McClure’s spicy pickles, in addition to the usual suspects. Death’s Door Vodka, for store locations
Employees Only Bloody Mary Mix, $9.99 at Whole Foods, Fresh Direct, and Fairway, or e-mail
McClure’s Spicy Garlic Pickles, $12.50 for a 32 oz. jar at
Crescent collection cooler glasses, $8.95 at
Japanese-style jigger, $8.95 at

Tequila Gimlet

Refreshing and bracing, a tequila gimlet is always a simple and festive pre-dinner cocktail to make at home. For each drink, mix one ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, a teaspoon of superfine sugar or simple syrup, and an once and a half of silver tequila with ice and strain into simple glass tumblers to serve. Herradura Tequila Silver, $26.99 for a 1L bottle at
Duralex Gigogne 3.75-oz Tumblers, $16.50 for 6 at
Yarai Mixing Glass, $38.95 at
Strainer, $10.95 at

Old Fashioned

Despite the name, there’s something incredibly modern about the Old-Fashioned: a simple combination of whiskey, sugar, bitters, and club soda that together create a drink that’s far more complex than it might first appear. Up the ante by using a cask-strength Bourbon to punch up the vanilla flavors, and slightly floral bitters to round out the aroma. Stirred in and sipped from a cut-glass tumbler, it’s effortlessly elegant. _Booker’s Bourbon, $49 at
Dutch’s Colonial Bitters, $17.95 at
Dorset Crystal single old-fashioned glass, $68 for 4 at
Sucre Pierre sugar cubes, $13.95 at

Moscow Mule

The Moscow Mule, created in Los Angeles in the 1940s, helped vodka officially usurp gin as America’s clear spirit of choice. It’s a breeze to whip up, which makes the mule a perfect party drink–just combine equal parts vodka and fresh lime juice, and top with fiery ginger beer (lime wedge and mint sprig garnish are optional). Somehow the drink tastes even better when sipped from its namesake copper mugs; we like these simple ones from Cocktail Kingdom. _Tito’s Vodka, for store locations
Reed’s Ginger Beer, $22.99 for 24 12-oz. bottles at
Moscow Mule Copper Mugs, $14.95 at


The classic gin martini gets even classier when made and served in a gorgeous retro-inspired silver-banded martini mixer and matching glasses. Stir two parts gin with one part dry vermouth and pour out into chilled glasses garnished with olives speared on silver picks for the ultimate finishing touch. Bulldog Gin, $23.95 for a 1L bottle at
Dolin Dry Vermouth, $11.99 for a 750ml bottle at
Silver Banded Martini Mixer, $69.00 at
Silver Banded Martini Glasses, $112.00 for a set of 4 at
Cocktail Picks, $14.95 at
Santa Barbara Olive Co. Pimento Stuffed Martini Olives, $3.50 for a 5 oz. jar at

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