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. 

Here are some related articles

Travel 101: Read This Before You Buy Trip Insurance
Take Control of Weather-Related Flight Delays and Cancellations
Watch Budget Travel on Facebook Live: ‘Baggage Fees Just Went Up!’
Psst! Studying Abroad Might Help You Land a Job