Next up, let’s talk about larger-ticket items that fall somewhere in the $50 range.
- On the educational front, a book like Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold is a great reference guide that they can take with them throughout their life. It’s really exhaustive, and it’s chock full of amazing info and recipes. That’s a hardcover book that usually weighs in around $40.
- And in a similar vein, there are some great spirit infusion kits or homemade gin-making kits out there that aren’t going to break the bank. This way, your budding home bartender can start working with real flavors and ingredients and enjoy more of a hands-on process.
For the Intermediate home bartender, this price point is where we start looking at bottles. And the question you should really be asking yourself is: what does this person enjoy drinking, and how can I hit that note, while also adding a touch of surprise or innovation? Let’s do a little case study so I can explain what I mean.
Let’s say you’ve got somebody who’s into negronis. Every time you visit her, she offers you one. She’s obsessed. If I were shopping for this person, a couple ideas would come to mind in terms of finding a way to add something new and fun to the equation. I might see if there are either local or unusual bottles to sub in for the old favorites. So I might try and find a local gin, a local bitter aperitif to replace Campari, and maybe even an American sweet vermouth. For those last two, I really enjoy the Tiber aperitif by Capitoline Vermouth, and I’m also quite partial to Vya sweet vermouth out of California. It’s not like an Italian Style or a French Style Vermouth – it’s uniquely and distinctly American.
Another idea here would be to push the script even a little further. Your friend likes negronis? Cool! What about a Mezcal negroni? Or what if you picked up a bottle of Suze and a bottle of Lillet Blanc so she can try her hand at a white negroni? These ideas obviously require a bit of knowledge on the cocktail front, so if you’re new to cocktails, or if you just run out of ideas, feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help you out.
Finally, for the expert bartender, one great option I’ve come across in the $50 range is a specially designed bartender apron. There’s a couple companies out there that seem to do a good job, including Hudson Durable Goods and Under NY Sky.
A couple quality indicators to look for are:
- Waxed Canvas material (for durability)
- Reinforced seams
- Riveted corners
- Pockets for specialized cocktail tools
- A towel loop
And the apron I put on my holiday wish list actually doubles as a knife roll. These aprons are great great gifts because they’re hyper specialized. Right, only really serious bartenders will want them, but they’re also not gonna break the bank, so they’re a great intermediate level gift.