Budget Travel

Holiday Gifts for Cocktail Enthusiasts

From mixed drinks on a plane to hotel-room bartending to a relaxing sip of craft spirits on a train ride, tippling travelers are always on the look-out for the next great recipe and user-friendly gear. Here, five gifts your cocktail-loving friends will thank you for.

For the Cocktail-Curious

An accessible option, these entry-level kits come with almost everything the budding mixologist needs to make a set of solid drinks—minus the ingredients you can acquire on the plane, like liquor and mixers. We like the Old Fashioned, which includes aromatic bitters, cane sugar, a spoon/muddler, and a linen coaster, all packaged, along with the recipe, in a sleek tin that only takes up a few inches of precious personal-item space. Add whiskey from the bar cart for happy hour at 30,000 feet. 

The Carry On Cocktail Kit, $24, wandpdesign.com.

For the Craft Connoisseur

If your list includes a classicist who wouldn’t dream of making a cocktail with anything other than hand-squeezed juice and their own homemade bitters, this is the set for them. With two metal flasks, four miniature bottles, and a funnel to fill them with, the serious sipper can pack what they need to make the on-board drinks of their dreams.  

Mini Bar Kit, $65, flight001.com.

Put It On the Wrist

Travelers won’t be able to drink from this porcelain bracelet flask on a plane (or take it through security if it’s full, for that matter), but if they're not flying, it's a potent accessory that offers a subtle way to partake. A nod to a 19th-century Pennsylvania design, the bangle holds a shot’s worth of liquor, comes in three colors, and adds a note of polish to the buzz.

Bracelet flask, Object & Totem for Areaware, $35, areaware.com.

Ditch the Plastic 

When you’ve gone to the trouble of packing the components for a craft cocktail, it doesn’t make sense to sip from disposable drinkware. These insulated, vacuum-sealed tumblers and stemless cups will keep your creations cold, while their silicone bases, easy-grip sides, and sliding lids guard against turbulence-induced spills.

Tumblers and stemless cups, from $23, corkcicle.com.

One for the Road

With practical advice on sourcing ingredients, packing them safely, and combining them creatively, this collection of recipes and tips aims to help globe-trotters master the art of the traveling cocktail. Taking its title from early-1900s slang for a (then-condoned) boozy to-go beverage, Road Soda offers instructions on making great drinks with limited ingredients. (For a sneak peek at the recipes as well as a suggested itinerary for each one, we interviewed author Kara Newman.) You’ll never have to resort to the minibar again.

Road Soda, Dovetail Press, $20, amazon.com.

Ready for some holiday cheer? We’ve rounded up the best tools and accessories for mixing drinks on a plane or a train or in a hotel room. Not just because the hassle of holiday travel can drive a person to drink, but also because craft spirits, expertly mixed cocktails, and (responsible) partying with friends and family are some of life's finest gifts. 

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