2018 Cocktail Gift Guide

You know what time it is. Time to pour a drink, get comfy on the couch, and SHOP from the comfort of your fleece blanket and carefully situated pillows for support. Online shopping is the only way to shop for holiday gifts IMO. Why face the crowds and get angry while trying to pick out the perfectly thoughtful gift for your sister? I can’t be thoughtful while also trying to throw a few elbows to get to the register…

You will find me tucked into my couch with a sappy Christmas movie on and with a very large glass of red wine shopping for all of my holiday gifts. You know, when you start a cocktail blog, you get a lot of questions about how to do things and what to use. Sure, your mom can use that mason jar hiding in her cabinet to shake a margarita – but don’t you want her to have the joy of shaking one up in a shiny, special, cocktail shaker?? Lord knows we all need a margarita to get through the holiday season and into 2019.

Below is a list of some of my favorite cocktail themed gifts. This is not an extensive list to outfit an entire home bar (see here for more of that) – but just some goodies for cocktail lovers in your life!

Cocktail Gift guide 2018

  1. Fred Cap and Mouse Bottle Opener. Everyone needs a good bottle opener. We are a cat (and dog) household so this golden cat opener is perfect for us and our cat loving friends.
  2. Death & Co Cocktail Book. This cocktail book is mecca for cocktail lovers. Death & Co is one of the most influential cocktail bars in the world and if you have a friend who loves the craft – get this ASAP. I have cracked mine open too many times to count for inspiration and general cocktail how-to!
  3. Monogrammed Cocktail Shaker. You know I love anything copper or rose gold. This shaker is stunning and can even be monogrammed! Buy this for the new cocktail shaker in your life or upgrade the expert ones.
  4. Hot Toddy Cocktail Kit. Cocktails are necessary at all times. Including long (or short) flights in tiny seats. Sure, you can get a plain alcoholic beverage on any flight – but why not make the flight a little more special with everything you need for a hot toddy! Make the flight for Christmas a festive one.
  5. Cocktail Glasses. These glasses are gorgeous and will be a statement set for anyone in your life. They are perfect for shaken or stirred cocktails and can be a glamorous addition to any home. I love the detailing on the base!
  6. Cocktail Artwork. Does the cocktail lover in your life already have every tool imaginable? Then get them some special art for their favorite drink! This margarita print is adorable and practical.

Happy gift hunting and I hope the cocktail lovers in your life enjoy these special gifts as much as we do!

**Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase.**

Winter Citrus French 75

Do you know what today, December 5th, is? Repeal Day!! If ever there was a day to celebrate cocktails – today is IT. Repeal Day is a celebration of the end of Prohibition here in the US and marks the ratification of the 21st amendment. Now, we all know that Prohibition did not actually keep people away from alcohol – and during this time some of the most beloved cocktail classics were created.

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Today I am sharing my riff on the classic French 75. This recipe was first printed at the height of Prohibition in the 1920s but has roots going all the way back to the 1800s when Charles Dickens served “tom gin and champagne cups”. The premise remains the same today – gin, citrus, a little sugar, and champagne.

I am taking this classic and adding a few more elements of citrus and some bitters to freshen it up for the holidays. I think a nice, light cocktail is the perfect after-dinner drink when you’ve consumed something heavy. This citrus forward cocktail will light up your tastebuds and leave you feeling refreshed (and a little buzzed).

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For the citrus component I juiced a lovely meyer lemon straight from our family’s lemon tree, an orange, and a blood orange. I also dehydrated some fruit slices to garnish the drinks. I have left a description in the recipe on how to do so! It requires time – but very little energy on your part.

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Once the citrus juice is ready, just add that with gin and simple syrup into a shaker and go to town. This is a shaken drink because there is fruit juice included and we want everything thoroughly mixed. After a good shake, strain into coup glasses and top with champagne or brut (which is typically cheaper and easier to find) before serving.

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This cocktail would also be a great addition to your New Year’s Eve menu if you want to jazz up the typical sharing of champagne! Celebrate the winter citrus any way you can 🙂


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Total Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces gin (I use Durham Distillery Conniption Gin)
  • 4 ounces citrus juice (lemon, orange, etc.)
  • 2 ounces simple syrup
  • Champagne or brut
  • “Bitterless Marriage” Crude Bitters (optional)
  • Dehydrated fruit for garnish
  • Cubed ice

Instructions:

Dehydrated Fruit Wheels: If you would like to add dehydrated fruit wheels to cocktails, keep reading! This is totally optional, but I think adds a nice touch when you want to be a little fancy. Cut your citrus fruit into thin slices and lay on top of a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. Place in 200 degree oven for 2 hours. Orange slices require an extra 30-45 minutes compared to lemon or lime slices. When dry to the touch, remove and store in airtight container. You can also dip these in chocolate and enjoy for dessert!

Juice 1-2 lemons, 1/2 orange, and 1/2 blood orange to get roughly 4 ounces of citrus juice. Add to shaker with gin, simple syrup, and ice. Shake 20-30 seconds and strain into coup glasses. Top with champagne or brut and add 6-8 drops of bitters. Garnish with fruit wheel and serve!

 

Sparkling Cranberry Fizz

Happy December!! It is currently 65 degrees on this fine December 1st and I am not complaining. Today has been full of Christmas crafting and festive drinks at our house. I have cranked up the holiday tunes, dressed the tree, started DIY-ing Christmas gifts and whipped up a few of these naughty little drinks.

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I love cranberries. I forget they are a thing until mid-November and then I buy bags and bags and bags of these tart little flavor bombs. We use them all over the place. Apple cranberry tarts, cranberry orange relish, holiday potpourri, and cocktails. This Sparkling Cranberry Fizz highlights the brightness of these berries and lets them shine with ginger and lime. Our inspiration comes from our favorite holiday-themed product – Cranberry Ginger Ale! Luke stocks UP on these cans during the holidays and consumes ginger ale like no tomorrow.

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There are a few steps to getting everything together for these cocktails – but a little prep has you ready to serve these up in a second at your holiday get togethers. The cranberry ginger simple syrup can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to one week and the sugared cranberries can be stored in an airtight container for about the same amount of time.

I am using rosé vodka here – because pink – and St. Germain to add some sweetness. I top off the cocktail with lime juice and club soda to add the fizz. You can also use ginger beer if you want to highlight the ginger more – I think that would be a delicious alternative!

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This is a shaken drink, so make sure your arms are ready for a workout! Your friends and family will be so impressed with your shaking skills when you serve these all month long.


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Total Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3-inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces St. Germain
  • 2 ounces lime juice
  • Club soda
  • Cubed ice
  • Rosemary for garnish

Instructions:

Cranberry Ginger Simple Syrup: Start by making your simple syrup. Add 1 cup cranberries, 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar (or honey), and ginger sliced into thin rounds. Bring mixture to simmer and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 15-20 minutes. With a wooden spoon, break apart cranberries a bit to release more juice. Double strain solids to get simple syrup. This will be thicker than a regular simple syrup – feel free to add a touch of water if you need it to be thinner. This will store in the fridge for about one week and make 4-6 cocktails.

Sugared Cranberries: Add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar to pot. Bring to a simmer and then remove from heat. Add remaining cranberries to pot and let sit for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove cranberries and add to bowl filled with remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Coat berries with sugar and let them dry on a plate or baking sheet. Feel free to sprinkle additional sugar on berries after they lay flat to get an even coating. Let berries dry completely and store in airtight container for up to one week. These are a delicious treat to enjoy outside of adding as a garnish to cocktails!

Once syrup and cranberries are prepared – create your cocktails! Add vodka, St. Germain, 3 ounces cranberry ginger syrup, lime juice and ice to shaker. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds and strain into two glasses filled with ice. Top each glass with club soda. Garnish with a pick filled with sugared cranberries and a sprig of rosemary.

Cheers!