Booze | November 18, 2022 11:52 am

The 14 Best Boozy Gifts for Every Type of Drinker

Bottles, cocktail books, barware and plenty of holiday spirits, pun intended

Various bottles and cocktail books for InsideHook's boozy gift guide for 2022
A good time of year to practice the "1 for you, 1 for me" method of gift buying
Photo illustration

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They always say you can’t go wrong giving someone a bottle of booze. But “they” are wrong — you can’t just pick up any random tipple to gift. Tequila fans might not want an unusual gin. Whisk(e)y fanatics might be super picky. And many people aren’t drinking alcohol at all right now.

So consider your target audience — understand if they have a go-to spirit (“Cognac”) or taste preference (“peaty Scotch”). Do they like cocktails or drinking things neat? Are they more into beer or wine? Would you consider them experts or casual sippers? 

Below, we wanted to offer a very wide range of gifts, and not all of them are bottles. You’ll find subscriptions, cocktail books, non-alcoholic beverages, barware and mixers. It’s OK to surprise your giftee with something a bit unexpected, but try to keep things in their imbibing wheelhouse. 

The good news? If you do decide to gift a bottle, there are plenty of same-day delivery options (Drizly, Saucey, ReserveBar, etc.). Pick up one for yourself while you’re at it — the holidays are about celebrating, after all.

Cocktail Kingdom Essential Cocktail Set
Cocktail Kingdom Essential Cocktail Set

I remember my barware collection post-college — which was a plastic rocks glass and a used Mr. Boston drinks guide. Start the (grown) kids on a better and elevated path to home entertaining with a few necessities from Cocktail Kingdom, starting with this kit that includes a copper-plated bar spoon, jigger, shaking tin and strainer, plus a mixing glass. Pair it with a real cocktail-making tome, and then invite yourself over for drinks. 

Red Clay Face Mezcal Shot Glasses
Red Clay Face Mezcal Shot Glasses

In partnership with Mezcal for Life, this line of drinkware is handcrafted from red clay by the women of San Marcos Tlapazola village. Each sports a unique face — no two are alike. Pair it with a mezcal flight tray (and a good mezcal) and the agave fan in your life should be thrilled. 

Pappy & Company Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup
Pappy & Company Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup

You could choose a number of maple syrups aged in ex-bourbon barrels here — Runamok and Wood’s are two we frequently utilize (occasionally for pancakes, admittedly mainly for fall cocktails) — but this special release puts the rarefied bourbon front and center, at least in name. Here, sap harvested in spring 2015 from Bissell Maple Farm in Ohio is aged six months in Pappy Van Winkle 15-year barrels. And then use it to make the best Old Fashioned ever.

Empirical Spirits Symphony 6
Empirical Spirits Symphony 6

Usually, we say don’t gift a bottle unless you know what the other person likes. We have one exception to this rule. The experimental nature of Copenhagen’s renowned Noma flourishes with Empirical, a spirits brand that purposely defies categories. Their latest release is inspired by Beethoven’s Symphony #6 (The Pastoral Symphony) and imbued with six highly aromatic leaves — as the distillery notes, the flavor profiles include mandarin, lemon, coffee, black currant, fig leaves, ambrette seeds and vetiver roots. 

Cocktail Time!: The Ultimate Guide to Grown-Up Fun
Cocktail Time!: The Ultimate Guide to Grown-Up Fun

Paul Feig certainly made lockdown better with his Instagram cocktails. And now, the director (Bridesmaids, A Simple Favor) brings forth not only an elegant cocktail book (featuring 125 recipes) but also discusses how to throw the parties, what music to play, what glassware you need and more, along with funny insider stories about his Hollywood life. And you can read our interview with Feig, regarding his own line of gin, here.

St. Agrestis Negroni Sbagliato
St. Agrestis Negroni Sbagliato

Some of us are already sick of hearing anything about this suddenly trendy drink/meme, which replaces gin with sparkling wine. But we’re fans of Brooklyn’s St. Agrestis and their bottled Negronis are legit good, so this take — featuring St. Agrestis Inferno Bitter Aperitivo, house-made Torino style vermouth and imported Prosecco from the Veneto — will certainly outlive the viral hype.

Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout
Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout

Is there a person on your list who’s as into craft beer as they are bourbon? Well then trust us when we tell you they would be psyched to receive a bottle or two of Goose Island’s massively popular Bourbon County Stout. The regular variant is incredibly delicious, but if you can find the coffee-infused one, you’ll want to grab it. And grab one for yourself, too.

Raising the Bar
Raising the Bar

The non-alcoholic space can be difficult to navigate — so why not let some experts curate a few of their favorites? These monthly subscription boxes (available in 1, 3, 6 or 12-month increments) include ingredients, tools and instructions.

Une Femme Wines
Une Femme Wines

This female-founded business supports sparkling wines made by women in Champagne, Napa and Sonoma — and the wines all support charitable organizations that make women’s lives better. Available in minis, cans and full bottles.

Sweet Gwendoline
Sweet Gwendoline

The sexiest holiday of all (not everyone agrees) deserves a like-minded spirit. This French Gin (from a Brooklyn-based brand) is infused with Figue de Sollies, a variety of fig grown in the south of France, along with white wine and Mediterranean botanicals. The gin is great — the artwork and bottle are spectacularly cheeky, inspired by mid-20th-century fetish photographer John Coutts.

W&P Cocktail Ice Bundle
W&P Cocktail Ice Bundle

Good ice improves any drink. Good ice in great shapes makes a conversation piece (and also improves your drink). While you can get any of these unique ice molds individually, we suggest buying the bundle and letting the drinks fan in your life figure out if their cocktail needs an oversized ripple, prism, petal or crystal shape.

Mr Black Mezcal Aged Cask Coffee Liqueur
Mr Black Mezcal Aged Cask Coffee Liqueur

After limited-edition collaborations with WhistlePig Rye and Bundaberg Rum, our favorite coffee liqueur has teamed up with Ilegal Mezcal. Here, Mr Black was rested for three months in Ilegal Mezcal’s American Oak barrels; from there, the spirit was fortified with joven mezcal to bring out more of the agave notes.

Pink House Alchemy Cardamom Mulled Wine Kit
Pink House Alchemy Cardamom Mulled Wine Kit

An ideal winter drink, this kit (featuring a 16 oz bottle of Cardamom syrup, 4 pieces of dehydrated fruit, peppercorns, star anise, a cinnamon stick and a recipe card) allows you or your giftee to make a cardamom mulled wine with the red zinfandel or red blend wine of choice.

Lagavulin Offerman Edition Charred Oak Cask 11-Year-Old Islay Single Malt Scotch 
Lagavulin Offerman Edition Charred Oak Cask 11-Year-Old Islay Single Malt Scotch 

The third collaboration between the Islay-based Lagavulin and actor/comedian Nick Offerman is the smokiest one yet — this single malt is matured for at least 11 years in heavily charred former bourbon and red wine barrels and features hints of berries and vanilla (along with the smoke and salinity you’d expect from Lagavulin).