Photo: Aleksandrs Muiznieks/Shutterstock

9 Perfect Gifts for Bartenders This Holiday Season

Food + Drink
by Melissa Allen Dec 14, 2018

Bartenders, mail carriers, your building’s super — we all deserve a little love over the holidays. But finding a thoughtful Christmas gift for someone who pours drinks for a living is not as easy as it may seem. Here are nine gifts that all the bartenders in your life would appreciate this holiday season.

1. A pair of sensible clogs

Dansko clogs

Photo: Dansko Footwear/Facebook

Non-slip clogs bring joy to anyone who stands on their feet for a living. Any bartender can crush a 10-hour shift with ease in these babies from Dansko. Plus the slight platform heel makes you stand straighter and gives you a subtle height boost, all the better to peer down on your patrons. Even if your bartender friend already has a pair, they can always use a funkier pair than their regular black ones to cheer up their work outfits.

2. Booze, especially if it’s something unique

Amaro bottles are a good gift for bartenders

Photo: Distilleria Varnelli/Facebook

A bottle of local mezcal from your trip to Oaxaca or a hard-to-find amaro make great gifts for bartenders. We’re surrounded by booze for a living, so it’s best to make it something strange or special. It doesn’t have to be expensive, though. Homemade bitters or cheap beer from your hometown would be just as thoughtful.

3. A beautifully-illustrated cocktail book

Bartenders enjoy learning new tricks and recipes. Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold is a great read for long-time bartenders because it scientifically deconstructs the craft of bartending in such a way that even an experienced bartender will look at their cocktails in a whole new light. Imbibe!, Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, and The Craft of the Cocktail are all great options, too.

4. A massage ball


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A professional massage is even better, but if you’re looking for a stocking stuffer, a mini massage ball is a godsend for a bartender. Years of keg-lifting and cocktail-shaking causes repetitive stress on our arms, shoulders, and legs. Massage balls let you target areas of pain and work out tense muscle groups. We can all use a little tension release.

5. Fancy hand lotion

L'Occitane hand cream

Photo: L’OCCITANE en Provence/Facebook

Bartending does a number on the hands, especially in winter. Help your favorite bartender keep things moisturized by gifting a fancy lotion. Since it’s the holidays, we recommend springing for something a bit nicer than Lubriderm, such as the collection from L’Occitane. Though O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream is a classic if you’re looking for something a bit more rugged.

6. A sensible backpack

Baggu backpack for bartenders

Photo: Baggu

From bar kits to uniforms, bartenders often have to tote their tools from home to work. Help us upgrade our promo totes and old gym bags by gifting us a carry-all that is a bit more professional. A grown-up backpack such as this one from Baggu, in canvas or leather, is a good blend of practicality and style.

7. A nice paring knife

Opinel knives

Photo: Opinel/Facebook

Paring knives are an essential part of a bartender’s toolkit. We use them every day to prep fruit for garnishes and muddling. Most bars supply knives, but they often get lost, misplaced, or left unsharpened. Make life easier by gifting a bartender their own personal paring knife. Make it a high-quality brand like Opinel and that knife will last for years.

8. A smoking cloche

If you’re looking for a more whimsical gift option, try a smoking cloche. This at-home smoker allows your bartender buddy to experiment with smoking their cocktails. They can use different types of woods, herbs, and spices to create complex, smoke-infused beverages. It looks cool as hell and could make for some interesting cocktail parties.

9. A huge tip

Nothing makes us bartenders happier than generous tips. So, this holiday season, throw down 30 percent for those Christmas Eve cocktails or leave an extra $20 for that bartender that also gets you a round. ‘Tis the time of year to pay it forward.

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