When I began stocking my home bar a couple years ago, I was on a tight budget, so I started by focusing on one cocktail at a time, buying just the components of that drink. If you have friends or relatives who are looking to expand their mixed drink horizons, use this strategy to give them a thoughtful gift they'll appreciate: make them a cocktail kit.
Instead of giving just a bottle of liquor, buy all the ingredients needed to make a specific cocktail and wrap them together, along with your favorite recipe for the drink. To dress up the gift, you can also include glassware specific to that drink, or a bar tool you know they don't have. I've been both the giver and recipient of these types of kits, and they are always appreciated.
Here are a few ideas for cocktail kits:
• Old Fashioned: Rye or bourbon + Angustora bitters
→ Optional: Old fashioned glasses, homemade maraschino cherries
• Moscow Mule: Vodka + premium ginger ale, such as Fever Tree or Q Tonic
→ Optional: Copper mugs
• Gimlet: Gin + homemade raw lime cordial (must be kept refrigerated)
→ Optional: A cocktail shaker
• Hot Buttered Rum: Rum + a jar of homemade hot buttered rum mix (must be kept refrigerated)
→ Optional: Mugs, a jar of pumpkin butter + recipe for hot pumpkin buttered rum
• Hot Toddy: Bourbon + spices + local honey
→ Optional: Mugs, Meyer lemons
Do you have any ideas for cocktails that could be translated into kits?
Related: Cocktail Supplies for the Traveler: A Mini, Flight-Friendly Bitters Set
(Image: Nancy Mitchell)