Gift Guide: Barware They'll Actually Use - The Whiskey Wash

Gift Guide: Barware They’ll Actually Use

Shopping for your favorite home bartender? You have a lot of options. From novelty bar towels and borderline obscene cork stoppers to cut crystal glassware and brushed gold cocktail shakers, there’s something to tempt every kind of gift giver. But here’s a little secret: most home bartenders rarely use most of the barware they have—but they use a few pieces all the time. Here’s the stuff we’re wearing out on our home bars.

Big cube molds

Everybody needs at least one way to make a big ice cube. These square molds are great, although round shapes often fit better in many glasses.

A really good citrus juicer

Fresh citrus juice is really a non-negotiable for great cocktails, and you want a juicer that’s fast, easy to clean, and effective. These bright, bar-ready presses are lightning quick, dishwasher safe, and visible from 500 yards away (OK, maybe that last bit isn’t exactly a selling point for most cocktail wonks).

Glencairn glasses

For whiskey fans, you can almost never have too many Glencairns. Invite a couple of friends over, bring out more than a couple of bottles, and all of a sudden half of you are tasting whiskey out of teacups because you’ve run out of appropriate glassware. A few extra Glencairns are always appreciated.

A nice mixing glass

Better looking and just more fun than a standard cocktail tin, a crystal or cut glass mixing glass turns making a weeknight Old Fashioned from a ho-hum task to a real pleasure.

Chalk pens

Chalk pens are fantastic for temporarily marking glassware, helping you keep things straight during comparative tastings (which of these is Caol Ila and which is Laphroaig, I wonder?) and enabling easy blind trials of several whiskeys, as long as you have somebody else around to pour the drinks and mark the glassware.

Viking drinking horn

Ok, so maybe this isn’t an essential item for the home bar, but we’ll go out on a limb and say that, in the right hands, this little number will get plenty of use. You’re your invigorating morning coffee to the final nightcap of the evening, everything just tastes better sipped from a ceremonial horn. Essential for big Highland Park fans.

About the author

Margarett Waterbury

Margarett Waterbury is a food and drinks writer based in Portland, Oregon. She's the managing editor of The Whiskey Wash, the managing editor of Edible Portland, and a regular contributor to local and national publications.