The Ultimate Gift Guide for Bartenders 2017
Maybe you are shopping for a bartender this year? Or maybe you’re a bartender yourself and you’re tired of getting shot glasses as gifts – so you’d like to send a few hints for better gift ideas to family and friends. Either way, we’ve put together the ultimate list of gifts for bartenders to give you some great inspiration for things they probably don’t already have.
Without further ado… here’s the list!
The Ultimate Gift Guide for Bartenders
Really Good Socks:
Two choices here, depending what kind of bartender you’re shopping for:
For the hipster bartender:
Your bartender friend may already have the long beard, ironic tattoos and bow tie – but does he have colorful socks? Any true hipster bartender doesn’t let his ankles go unadorned. Fill out his collection with a gift pack of brightly colored socks and get his hipster bartender street cred back where it should be.
For the Practical / High Volume Bartender:
The high volume bartender just went through three pairs of socks while “Hipster bartender” was flaming his orange oil and infusing lavender in eau de vie. This guy / gal is BUSY and gets the job done. Give him / her some great socks that will be able to keep up, all year round!
Absinthe has a bit of a bad rap, but when using good quality product and prepared correctly it is absolutely a thing of beauty. A traditional absinthe fountain is a great way to “louche” (dilute with water) in just the right amount, and also looks absolutely beautiful on your bar back. It’s so beautiful that if your bartender friend already had one, you’d know! (It’d be prominently featured on their bar, I promise.) Typically made from glass, they range from mid-$50’s upward, but we have this one and we love it!
If your budget’s a bit tighter, you can still make a fantastic Absinthe drink with a “Balancier” – a single-serve “seesaw” gadget that slowly adds water to your absinthe. Consider adding an absinthe spoon to your giftee’s stocking as well!
Super Long Cocktail Muddler
“A bar tool?” you say. “Doesn’t my bartender friend already have all of the tools he/she needs?” Well you may be right, but 90% of the muddlers on the market are terrible. They are usually a paltry 9″ long, which is the precise length to ensure that every time you muddle, you’ll bust your knuckles open on the side of your pint glass / cocktail shaker.
If you love your friendly bartender and his/her knuckles, you may want to consider getting them a nice long muddler. (Hint: they might not “run out of mint” quite so often if you get them this!)
Wine Keys. Lots and Lots of Wine Keys.
It opens beer bottles. It cuts away foil. It has a corkscrew. It’s cheap and practically disposable – which is good, because it’s gonna disappear anyway. (While you could go with a higher-end option, you should know that the nicer it is, the quicker it’ll “disappear” behind the bar, never to be seen again.)
A multi-pack (or, y’know, shoebox full) of black-handled, functional, and simple wine keys will probably be very, very well received.
LED Bottle Lights
“Uhh, what?” You say. Yeah, I said that too at first! They are basically sticky coasters you stick to the bottom of liquor bottles to light them up – no wires required. They are disposable (one-time-use) but last 12+ hours and look awesome. Santa, if you’re listening – get me some of these!
A T-Shirt that “Gets” You.
Sometimes you just have to tell the world what kind of bartender you are. And if you’re a “fresh juice or death” kind of bartender, this shirt will help you spread the word!
The Jackson Cannon Bar knife
There are bar knives, and there are bar knives. Custom designed by an award-winning bartender in collaboration with a knife company, this knife is sexy, functional, and takes itself seriously. It can handle citrus and finely detailed garnish alike, and it’s small enough to fit in your apron without poking you every time you bend over. Be careful, you might just make the rest of the staff jealous with this one.
The Jackson Cannon Bar Knife Price: $73.50 Designed by award-winning bartender Jackson Cannon, this knife is compact, sharp, and ready to tackle your garnish, citrus, fruit and herbs with a vengeance.
Insoles for their Tired Feet
The next best thing to sitting down, really good insoles can make a huge difference after 6 hours into a long shift. It may be a bit tough to figure out their shoe size, but totally worth it. Happy feet make happy bartenders, and $35-50 (depending on size) is a small price to pay!
Authentic “le Bois Lélé” Swizzle Stick
It’s the perfect gift for a bartender who loves tiki drinks. The Swizzle stick (not to be confused with a “stir stick”) is the traditional way to mix many crushed ice tiki cocktails. It’s actually made from the wood of the Quaraibea Turbinate tree, and hand cut, cured and shaped in Martinique. Every swizzle stick is different, unique, and an awesome addition to any bar tool collection.
Traditional Cocktail Swizzle Stick aka le Bois Lélé from Martinique Price: $22.95 These authentic swizzle sticks (also known as "le Bois Lélé" are grown in Martinique and hand-made. They're the traditional tool for swizzling tiki drinks!
Speaking of Crushed Ice… a Lewis Bag & Mallet
Some bartenders use machines to crush their ice. But others look for opportunities to flex their gigantic tattooed biceps in front of guests – and whacking a bag full of ice with a massive wooden mallet is the perfect opportunity. Whack your own delicious crushed ice with this Lewis bag and mallet – a perfect pairing for that Swizzle stick above, if I may add!
Netflix and Chill
You just finished a double-shift (or the dreaded “clopening” shift) and your feet are tired. You kick back, grab a drink, and crash on the couch. You go to turn on your TV and … commercials? Arghhh! Give your tired bartender the gift of commercial-free premium programming, (plus the added bonus of easy replay when they pass out halfway through the 3rd season of the British Baking Show at 3am.)
Give the gift of “chill” with an easy peasy Netflix Gift card delivered by email. (You don’t even have to wrap it!)
Handmade Genuine Full-Grain Leather Bar Roll
If you’re looking for the bar roll that’ll outlast even the longest career behind the bar, you found it. Big enough for all your bartender friend’s tools and customizable with your own text, this bar roll is just plain sexy.
Handmade in Italy by a master leather craftsman (you know he’s really from Italy because he’s standing next to a moped in his picture), this bag will make all of your colleagues jealous. Don’t get your bartender friend this bag and that Jackson Cannon bar knife. Their coworkers may explode with envy.
Hand Salve to keep those hardworking hands soft
With your hands constantly wet from washing behind the bar, it can be hard to keep your skin happy. This salve is especially designed just for the bartender’s plight and will keep your skin soft for many a shift. It’s not greasy, so you can rub it in and get right back to work without leaving streaks on your glassware or bar tools. Stored in a handy travel tin, this one also makes a fantastic stocking stuffer!
Super Long Cocktail Picks
Why should the martini get all of the love and attention? Your bloody mary needs beautiful stainless steel cocktail picks too! These Cocktail Picks (our very own, might I add), are especially made for spearing cocktail garnish in tall glasses like highballs and collins glasses. They are perfect for Bloody Marys, but are also great for any garnish, sandwiches, or appetizers.
A Waterproof Fitness Tracker
If you ever want proof of how hard a bartender works, just get them a fitness tracker. Better yet, make it water proof – otherwise they’ll just have to take it off during their shift (and where’s the fun in that?) Give your bartender friend the gift of bragging rights and tech – a great fitness tracker can also help them monitor their heart rate and sleep as well, improving their health overall and helping make those shifts go by even faster.
Waterfi Waterproof Fitbit Alta HR Price: $269.95 This waterproof fitness tracker can stay on during your shift, and will give you bragging rights to prove once and for all that you work harder than they do!
Castelvetrano Olives“$30 Olives?!” You exclaim. “I don’t like my bartender friend that much!” Well that may be true (and don’t worry, I wont tell them you said that), these olives are an investment. Because nobody can get through 25oz of green olives by themselves! Buy your bartender friend this delicious jar of the best Martini olives there are – and chances are you’ll be repaid in delicious martinis. And that sounds like a pretty good investment to me!
A DIY Massage Pillow
While a gift card for a local massage parlor is probably a better gift, a DIY massage is the next best thing (and isn’t over in an hour!) Massage those hardworking shoulders, back and neck with a heated shiatsu massager. It goes perfectly with the netflix gift card too – think of it as a gift of “Netflix and Ahhhh”
Bar Books. Lots of Bar Books
There are SO many great bar books out there, I could write a whole post on that. Oh wait, I did!
But if you need just one book to recommend, you can’t go too far wrong with Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Bar Book. It’s extremely well regarded, a great resource for bartenders new and experienced, and looks darn good on a back bar.
If your bartender friend works in a live music venue or club, you’re constantly around incredibly loud music. But they can’t use traditional earplugs because they still have to hear their customers’ orders. These high fidelity earplugs are made just for this purpose – they don’t block everything, but reduce the volume to a more comfortable (and safer) level. While I haven’t given these a try, they have pretty good reviews and might be a good choice for a bartender who works in a loud bar, club, or concert venue.
What are we missing?
What’s on your Christmas list this year? let us know in the comments and we’ll add them to the list!
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