This is getting to be a habit with me on our holiday gift lists, but you need one of these, and this is a good one. You can’t go wrong with KegWorks, and this Picnic Time Deluxe Portable Travel Bar Set in dark brown leather is a great buy. Two bottle holders, space for all the little cocktail touches one needs to make great drinks, a set of nine odds-n-ends for drink mixing, and a streamlined, modern look all add up to make this a great bar set for your hotel room, vacation, or office. A classic gift for a reason, a solid travel bar set pays for itself in “pre-go-out” cocktails while holidaying. – Get one here.
Fairy Absinthe Decanter
I don’t drink a lot of absinthe … but if I did, I’d have this on my bar. Absinthe became legal to drink again in the States back in 2007. You can now find historic and modern takes and makes of this anise flavored botanical spirit in most liquor stores. As of last count, more than 200 brands/types were being made. Too strong to sip on its own, spigotted decanters which drip small amounts of the beyond-potent spirit onto waiting sugar cubes nestled inside pretty absinthe drinking cups, helped cut the strong licorice and herbal flavor. One simply pours iced water over the doused cube, waits for the dissolve, then sips, awaiting whatever magical journey ensues. Also known as the Green Fairy, hence the shape of this decanter, one doesn’t actually have to drink absinthe to enjoy this. You can fill it with whatever you like; this’ll just look quite cool on your home bar. – Grab one here.
Coke Retro Mini Cooler
With home bars and Saturday evening fun, a good bartender just has to realize that, especially with visiting moms and dads, comes kids. You can’t just lock ‘em in a closet. Little ones are going to make it to where the parents are sitting sometimes. I literally buy the wee ones off at my home bar with a coke and a smile. “I’ll give you a coke if you get the hell out of here,” Mr. Booze is heard to mumble. This retro, plug-in cooler will keep your bar looking old-school, yet will also visually hypnotize any kid under the age of thirteen with the overwhelming desire for a cold coke. Once the promise is made to leave for an hour, a magical button is pushed and out pops the bribe. Just be sure to follow through with a stern look and an adult-shout should little junior return before the finish of the next pitcher of Manhattans.
Hula Dancers Tumbler Set
I usually like to pour tropical punches and tiki drinks into shaped tiki mugs … but, they can be expensive and a pain to clean after, so I picked up an affordable set of these throw-back tumblers to pour batched cocktails in out in the carport on hot summer evenings. A little risqué but far from offensive, i.m.o., these fun quaffable glasses still impart that “girlie-glass” feel without breaking the bank. Whimsical, affordable and fun, they are perfect for your next Planters Punch or Blue Hawaiian. – Find it here.
To Have and Have Another, A Hemingway Cocktail Companion
Author and cocktail historian, Phil Greene, really did his research in writing this love letter to Papa’s liver. As a Hemingway reader, I was brought back, time and time again, to passages, characters, bars and destinations in Hemingway fiction I’d forgotten about or filed away. To have passages, instances, literary situations and strong Hemingway characters reunited with their drinks of choice was just so much fun to read … and that’s what I enjoyed so very much about this book. Not quite a cocktail recipe book only, although there are over 50 drinks described here, Greene’s book is elevated to pure pleasure on a page-turner scale. You have the writer, his moods, his characters, and the cocktails described fighting for the very same attention you thought you were going to give to just the recipes. This is a great gift to the reader in your heart as it is to the boozer in your heart. – Find it here.
The Temptress Classic Cocktail Set
It wouldn’t be the holidays without me plugging at least one new TikiFarm product here. I’ve purchased a lot from TikiFarm this past year, and I’m chewing at the bit to open this one come Christmas morning. A black lacquered pitcher accompanied by two matching mugs and swizzle sticks all of which highlight a smoking, Hawaiian orchid red island woman painted in that pacific retro style just screams bar-top in your home oasis. I can speak towards the quality of any TikiFarm product; they so know what they’re doing. I can also speak to the fact that the cool stuff … disappears faster than you can say, “Mai-Tai”. – Get one here.
A stocking stuffer that works. Try not to drink so much that you earn a hangover to begin with, but if you do, plop a couple of these in a cold glass of water the next morning. Read the warnings first, though. – Find it here.
If you happen to live in a state or country that allows the option to take beer out of a brewery for home consumption, which I do, a cool glass sealable jug or “growler” is kind of a fun thing to own. My dad talked about hoppin’ fences during the Great Depression, and even during Prohibition, carrying his dad’s or uncle’s large beer bottle fo
r fill up with beer or “Jersey Lightning” as a lad while the men played dominoes on backyard tables. Like today, you’d hand the empty jug t
o the saloon keeper, and a few minutes later he would return it, full of nice brew. I like this continued history, this drinker’s connection to the past. My growler is sitting under my bar, always within easy reach for when my wife says, “we’re going shopping,” and I secretly know that there’s a beer joint which fills growlers just a few streets away. – Get it here.
Car Cocktail Shaker
One of three holiday themed shakers that Pottery Barn is offering this year, this Grand Prix styled, stainless steel shaker would look absolutely fabulous on top of your holiday bar. I used to buy shakers like these back when Restoration Hardware rolled out a different one every year and do use them during December. The whimsical, highly frivolous designs catch candle and tree light as they do their job of turning cocktails cold. Pottery Barn also offers a train and plane shaker this year, so be sure to check them out, too, when you’re on their site. – Find it here.
Bill Shatner did two episodes of The Twilight Zone back in the 60’s. One episode dealt with Shatner freaking out on a plane and is usually the episode discussed when reminiscing about his b&w appearances, but his other, Nick Of Time, an episode where Bill and his bride are trapped in a small-town, basing every decision on the cryptic answers of a penny arcade fortune telling machine, I find the better of the two. This fortune-telling mystic seer scared the heck out of me as a lad watching re-runs, and, as an adult, to now have one setting on-top of my home-bar, is a wonderful tip-o-the-hat to both the series and to simpler times. Sure, it’s expensive … but they only made a small batch of them and the b&w edition is even more limited. I keep a shot-glass of pennies behind mine, and rest assured the drinkers will want to have their fortune told at the bar. If you’re even tempted, I’d get one now. I promise, they’ll be gone soon and you’ll only wish you had. – Find it here.