10 holiday gift ideas for cocktail lovers in Toronto
This has been a banner year for cocktail interest in Toronto. From the addition of a number of excellent new cocktail bars (Miss Thing's, Shameful Tiki, and the very-soon-to-open Bar Begonia) to the unprecedented level of enthusiasm from non-professionals (leading to a boom in the bartending class industry), there's never been a better time to care about what you're mixing.
Here are my picks for holiday gifts ideas for the Toronto cocktail lover.
W&P Mason Jar Infuser and "Infuse" Book Set - $54.95
While Williams Sonoma has a range of cocktail items like bitters-making kits and ISI whip canister add-ons for rapid infusion, I really like the simplicity of the mason jar approach. This one comes with a built in filter straw, and a recipe book packed with ideas for how to jazz up your booze. Couple with the Spice Trader box below for a complete starter pack.
Shameful Tiki Mug - $15
Tiki enthusiasts rejoice! The Vancouver institution has been ported over by owner Rod Moore, with top Toronto bartender Alana Noduega at the helm. A great spot to beat the winter blahs, stop into Shameful Tiki for a cocktail and pick up one of their awesome proprietary tiki mugs.
Spice Trader Tea Box - $50
There are two types of home bartender. The type that walk into a cocktail supply store and ask for a pre-mixed bottle of simple syrup and the type that love to craft everything from scratch for themselves. If you're the latter, The Olive Pit & Spice Trader on Queen West is nothing short of heaven. This box collects together a number of spices which can be used for making bitters, tinctures, syrups, or infusions.
AGO Drinks Rocks - $54
For those who love how their drink has already reached the perfect level of dilution, whiskey stones provide an excellent alternative to using ice. Simply pop them in the freezer for a few minutes before (carefully) chucking in your drink. The AGO has a gorgeous range of soapstone and marble pieces that lend some geometric flair to your drink.
The Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual - $38
NYC's Dead Rabbit has been regarded as one of the finest cocktail bars in the world for a few years now. Although the bar has traditionally focused almost exclusively on Irish Whiskey cocktails, they've branched out to create an unbelievable manual that really adds something novel to the world of cocktail literature. It's packed with recipes and excellent stories about the birth of the bar.
Holiday Happy Hour Set - $45
The Drake General Store is always a great stop for gift solutions. It's packed with neatly designed and fun gifts. Their double old-fashioned glasses are a mainstay in my house. This set is beautifully packaged and features a jigger and cocktail spoon, along with some pickled chilis for an inventive garnish.
Copper Pineapple Tumbler - $48.00
What cocktail gift guide would be complete without a visit to the fantastic BYOB Cocktail Emporium (there's a location in Kensington Market now, too) With pineapples seriously en vogue, these two-piece copper tumblers are the it-gift this year.
PiĹa Colada Popcorn - $5-$25
If you don't want to encourage too much holiday intoxication, try stuffing a stocking with this piĹa colada popcorn from the Toronto popcorn company. It's a tasty alternative to the real thing that can be enjoyed with the whole family.
Reede Bar Cabinet (Tall) - $2418.20
Are you obscenely rich? Do you feel like dropping several thousand dollars on a loved one for a place to keep their booze? I'm pretty sure that for most readers, the answer is going to be no, but before you pass right over this item, just click through and take a closer look. If you're the type that loves to collect beautiful liquor and stemware, you need somewhere equally pretty to showcase it all.
Tuthilltown Bourbon Barrel Matured Maple Syrup - $29.95
If there's one ingredient that Canadian cocktail fans love using in the winter, it's maple syrup. Lending a delicious and complex sweetness to cocktails, a good maple syrup deserves a place in everyone's bar. This one, from Roncesvalles' Stasis Preserves, takes on a delicious whiskey and oak note that'll really add a new dimension to cocktails
What did I miss? Add your boozy gift suggestions to the comments.
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