Food Lover’s Gift Guide: Bar Tools

Fresh fruit juice is essential for great homemade daiquiris, Greyhounds, and margaritas. This citrus press from Chef’n is a serious workhorse—durable, fast, extremely comfortable to use. It’s also cheap. Every home bar enthusiast should have one. $15.29 at

No home bar program is complete without the Dolin vermouth triple threat (dry, blanc, and rouge). These smooth, elegant fortified wines work in a variety of cocktails. Just remind your giftee that they should be refrigerated after opening. $10.99 per half bottle; $13.99 for full from Ace Beverage.

The key to consistently great drinks? Measure, measure, measure. This Oxo jigger is less blinged out than some of those gold-plated jobees, but your favorite bartender will love how easy it is to keep a grip on this little sucker when she’s in the thick of some complicated concoction. $8.95 from Williams-Sonoma.

An incredibly adorable stocking stuffer, this variety pack from Scrappy’s Bitters in Seattle also packs some great flavors to mess around with. $24.95 from World Spice Merchants.

Joy of joys: this Tovolo King Cube silicone ice tray, which makes large, easy-to-extract ice blocks for spirits on the rocks or Old Fashioneds. $8.95 from Sur La Table.

Every drink mixer will eventually choose a favorite type of bar spoon. Some people want that little whisk on the opposite end; others prefer a wee fork for jabbing at garnishes. The good news is you can get a very serviceable bar spoon for about $3—so buy up a few for your favorite bartender, tie them with a ribbon, and voilà! You’ve got a great gift. $2.95 from

A mesh strainer is a must for creating clean cocktails. I like the cone-shaped ones, and have a feeling the bartender on your list will, too. $6.95 from Cocktail Kingdom.

Okay, these aren’t so much essential as they are just dreamy, but Waterford’s classic Old Fashioned glasses are some of the most perfectly crafted cocktail vessels you can find. $75 for a set of four from Bloomingdale’s.

I’m a big fan of Bulleit rye whiskey from Kentucky. It’s a great value and works well in most of the rye whiskey cocktail canon. A no-brainer. $28.99 from Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits.

Look, any pint glass works fine as a mixing glass—so if you’re going to buy a spirits fan a special mixing glass, you might as well go a little high-end. This Yarai glass is just the thing for that special someone. $52.95 from Cocktail Kingdom.

Let’s hang out in Dreamsville for a moment. The gorgeous, ultrasharp Togiharu Inox steel paring knife is a dream tool for home ’tenders who like to create artful garnishes. $71 to $91 from Korin.

It’s fun trying all the newfangled gins coming out of small-batch distilleries, but for my money the most mixable gin—the one that is always in stock on my home bar—is good ol’ Plymouth. $32.95 from Virginia ABC stores.

Three essential bitters for every bar: Angostura, Peychaud’s, and Regan’s Orange. $5.95 to $14.99 from

More from News & Politics