Handpicked: The Best Bar Gifts of 2023, According to Drink Experts
Finding gifts for the wine and spirits lovers in your life may seem like an easy task, but there’s more that goes into it than you may think. From glassware to accessories to preservation systems and beyond, the categories of drinks-forward gifts are endless, only to be surpassed by the options within each segment.
Jay James, MS, President of Benchmark Wine Group, states that finding excellent home bar gifts is more difficult than it sounds, and the reason is usually quality. “I see lots of questionable tools and items available at retail—the types of things that wouldn’t last a week behind a professional bar, or even be used there in the first place,” he reveals. The solution? “Look carefully for high-quality tools and stick to specialty retailers who feature items produced with professionals in mind,” he says.
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Jess Goldfarb, owner of Due West, finds that fundamentally sound and well-made tools / vessels always make for safe gifts. “You want something that is not too specific and can be used again and again,” he says. For wine lovers, Goldfarb recommends sticking with some nice glasses and a decanter. “Get something you’re comfortable with and that is well constructed,” he affirms.
Taking advice from the experts into consideration, we’ve put together our Bar Essentials Gift Guide, equipped with unique and useful ideas for every wine and spirits lover in your life. No matter your recipient’s specific preferences—or let’s be real, your budget at hand—our comprehensive list promises to hold something for every libations lover on your list.
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Wine Preservation Systems & Savers
Serving and Chilling
At-Home Bar Cabinets
Wine Preservation Systems & Savers
Coravin Timeless Three + System
There’s a reason sommeliers, collectors, and industry professionals alike have long reached for the Coravin—it’s simply the best in the game. Beloved for its facility, as well as its effectiveness in preserving wine, this functional wine preservation system allows wine lovers to enjoy sips, tastes, or full glasses of their favorite bottles without ever pulling the cork—all while preserving the wine in bottle for months, or even years, after use.
Max Goldberg Liu, Director of Communications and Operations at La Paulée and executive team member at Pressoir, describes the Coravin as a fantastic product with many practical uses. “I use mine very frequently to pour myself a glass or two of wine at a time,” he says. “My wife is not a big drinker, so the Coravin allows me to enjoy a relatively nice bottle of wine without the pressure of having to finish it within a day or two, and the argon system works exactly as advertised.” Goldberg Liu notes that the Coravin also allows collectors to take small tastes from bottles in cellars, to verify that a wine is sound before popping, as well as see how a wine is aging.
Somm du Vin 2-Bottle Wine Preserver
Ever wonder how wine bars keep their bottles fresh and tasty for extended periods of time? This Somm du Vin 2-Bottle Wine Preserver proves the method. Composed of an automated compact dual zone preserver and chiller, the preservation device ensures that wines remain drinkable for up to 10 days. Thanks to the system’s automatic vacuum seal, the machine functions without any gas cartridges or devices, meaning no additional accessories or purchases are required. The preserving system is perfect for still wines of all styles, including reds, whites, rosés, and can accommodate most standard 750 mL bottles.
Wine Enthusiast Automatic Vacuum Wine Saver and Preserver
In the world of wine preservation, this simple, easy-to-use vacuum wine saver is a great place to start. Measuring just under six inches in size, this battery-powered device automatically vacuum seals open wine and preserves it for up to one week. Each system includes four silicone stoppers with a date set ring and a charging cable, ensuring that users know exactly when the wine was first sealed. Budget friendly, easy to use, and versatile? Sign us up.
Serving and Chilling
Wine Bottle Chilling Rod with Aerator/Pourer and Accessories Set
Looking to chill your wine in a pinch? This wine chilling rod is the perfect go-to item. Versatile and useful, this 3-in-1 chilling rod also doubles as an aerator and pourer, ensuring a refreshing and mess-free drinking experience. Simply adding the frozen chilling rod into your favorite bottle of wine ensures that it’ll remain fresh and cold without ever needing to reach for an ice bucket, with the drip-free pouring design as the cherry on top. Best of all, the chilling rod comes with a waiter corkscrew, plastic foil cutter, and silicone topper, meaning your whole wine service experience is covered from start to finish—all for just $25.
Goldfarb states that a wine key makes for a great gift, mostly due in part to its versatility. “Aside from opening up wine bottles, I am constantly using the knife for all things,” he says, describing it as his version of a Swiss Army knife. “The beauty of the wine key is that there are so many different styles and materials, with a huge range in price depending on what you’re looking for,” he affirms.
Wine Enthusiast x Cheer Moda Electric Sparkling Wine Opener
Have a wine-loving friend who adores sparkling wine, yet finds themselves intimidated to open the bottles’ precarious corks? Thanks to Wine Enthusiast X Cheer Moda Electric Sparkling Wine Opener, safely popping the corks on bottles of bubbly is easier than ever. Deemed the first automatic sparkling wine opener in the world, this innovative wine tool extracts corks from sparkling wine bottles with the simple press of a button. The technology behind it all? An inventive buffer system that offsets high air pressure, as well as a double layer structure that provides added protection. Best of all, this opener comes with an airtight sparkling wine stopper, which helps to keep unfinished bubbles fresh for up to three days in the refrigerator. A true win-win! Note: Sparkling wines should always be served chilled (between 43°F – 50°F) and opened with meticulous care.
The Durand Wine Opener
Long-standing collectors and industry pros alike know the difficulties that can incur when pulling the corks on aged bottles of wine; enter the Durand, the twin-blade device used by professionals all around the globe. A favorite in the cellar, this zinc alloy and steel product was created to remove fragile corks from bottle necks without damaging the cork—or wine in bottle, of course.
“This love child of an ah-so and corkscrew is a very specialized tool but an indispensable one if you frequently open old bottles,” says Goldberg Liu, describing the product as the “absolute best wine opener” for fragile corks—and revealing that around two dozen Durands find themselves swirling around the room at a time during the annual La Paulée tasting. “We always make sure to have around 25 Durands in the wine room at La Paulée, where cleanly and gently opening our guests’ treasured rare wines is of paramount importance,” Goldberg Liu explains.
Wine Enthusiast x L’Atelier du Vin Glossy Black and Wood Oeno Motion Corkscrew
For the wine lover that has it all, this exclusive corkscrew makes a unique and unforgettable gift. Crafted in partnership with France’s premier maker of wine tools, this luxurious wine key is made with high-quality metal alloy and a solid wood walnut handle, with optional personalization available as a special final touch. The opener’s ergonomic handle and integrated foil cutter make opening bottles a breeze from start to finish—even those with pesky thick capsules or hard-to-release corks.
Legacy Corkscrew with Black Marble Stand and Handle (Antique Bronze)
Looking for an exceptional home bar gift for that special wine connoisseur? This best-selling Legacy Corkscrew with Black Marble Stand is just the ticket. With a solid black marble stand and vintage-inspired grapevine relief, this tabletop corkscrew offers effortless wine openings by the simple pull of the handle and removes both natural and synthetic corks alike. Customer Elaine T. says it’s an excellent conversation piece. “It has an industrial meets antique feel, and we just have fun using it! It’s a beautiful piece!” The corkscrew housing boasts a vintage grapevine relief design, and the marble stand can be monogrammed for a striking bespoke touch.
Port Sippers Handblown Port Wine Glasses (Set of 4)
Sipping Port always promises a good time, though when done so out of these 17th century-inspired glasses, the fun is instantly doubled. Specially designed to enhance aromatics and flavors, these uniquely shaped glasses are just 0.20 pounds each, making them light in the hand and just as light on the lips. It is recommended to enjoy Port wine at around 64-degrees Fahrenheit. The shape of the glass allows the warmth from the user’s hand to transmit to the bowl, while the sipping stem reduces wine oxidation. Each glass is also equipped with two tiny “feet,” ensuring the glasses can be placed down and stand on their own. The set of four comes with a deluxe storage case, making them a beautiful gift and easy to store for special occasions or for traveling.
L’Atelier du Vin Bubbles Celebration Champagne Flutes (Set of 2)
Seeking an off-the-beaten-path gift for the bubbly lover in your life? These colorful, eye-catching flutes from L’Atelier du Vin promise to do the trick. Designed by renowned glass artists Monica Guggisberg and Philip Baldwin, they’re handblown from pigmented glass by some of the best artisans in Europe and are individually numbered to designate their unique nature. Available in Royal Blue, Chardonnay Green, or Champagne Pink, these authentic and unforgettable glasses promise an excitingly effervescent experience—and forget the need for a celebration; glasses like these are a party in themselves!
Wine Enthusiast Vienna Break Resistant Glasses
Most beverage professionals agree having break-resistant glassware is key to establishing a safe and successful drinking experience. Goldberg Liu says can think of no better gift for wine lovers than a nice set of glasses. “[Nice stems] make the wine pairing with your seamless order feel like a Michelin star experience,” he explains.
Enter Vienna’s line of break-resistant glassware, perfect for happy hours, dinner parties, and gatherings. Elegantly tall, their long stems and deep v-shaped bowls promise a balanced and comfortable drinking experience, while also ensuring that the wine shows its absolute best side. And at $25 a stem, these high-quality glasses are much more affordable than most of their industry counterparts. Jay James, MS, President of Benchmark Wine Group, says, “These [stems] are extremely versatile (you don’t have to only put wine in them!) and are glasses that promise to resist breaking…what’s not to like about that?!” he exclaims.
Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23 Year Decanter and Glasses 3-Piece Set
There are a few ways to instantly grab the attention of the whiskey lover in your life, and simply saying the words ‘Pappy Van Winkle’ is one of them. While snagging a bottle of one of the most sought-after—and expensive—bottles of bourbon in the world may not be in the cards, grabbing this exclusive Pappy Van Winkle glassware is most certainly a top-tier alternative. Each set comes with a decanter and two Old Fashioned glasses, deeply etched with the Van Winkle Family Reserve 23 Year logo. No matter which bourbon your gift recipient is enjoying, this exclusive Pappy Van Winkle three-piece set promises to elevate the experience
Astor Whiskey Decanter and Glasses Set
For a sophisticated, more budget-friendly option to the Pappy Van Winkle Set, consider this classic whiskey glassware set. Each set contains one decanter with glass stopper, as well as two tumblers, with personalization options available. Crafted from a durable, lightweight lead-free glass, these sleek and luxurious bar items instantly add a sparkling touch to at-home bars and are a great fit for whiskey lovers of all preferences. Wrap it with their favorite bottle of whiskey or bourbon for a tasteful gift they can enjoy right away.
Wine Enthusiast 32-Bottle Dual Zone MAX Compressor Wine Cooler
Storing wine in the proper conditions is the only way to guarantee quality preservation over time, and a solid at-home wine cooler is a great place to start. Named best in its class by The New York Times, Food & Wine, Forbes and more, this 32-bottle MAX Compressor is a perfect middle ground for wine lovers of all preferences and home sizes. The cooler’s larger low zone offers optimal storage for long-term aging, while the smaller top zone is ideal for storing bottles destined for imminent consumption. The compressor cooling technology lasts up to two times longer than fridges of comparable cost and size and runs quietly to ensure an impeccible experience at home. First time wine cooler purchaser and customer Todd L. was pleased with its performance, sharing it’s “quit in our condo” and offers “ample space for both red and white wines.”
Wine Enthusiast Latitude S 24″ Smart Wi-Fi Undercounter Wine Cellar
In-home wine cellars are truly the gift that keeps on gifting—especially if they’re as high-quality as this Latitude S24” model. Customer Anna A. calls it a “Great buy!” noting its attractiveness and incredibly quiet performance. Built for versatility and convenience, this single zone wine cellar is ideal for red wine lovers and comes equipped with easy-slide, universal shelves that can easily accommodate a variety of bottle shapes and sizes (overall capacity is 46 standard-sized bottles). Front ventilation means it can be tucked under an at-home bar or built into cabinetry. It’s also Wi-Fi enabled so you can easily manage your cellar from anywhere using your smart phone.
At-Home Bar Cabinets
Looking to really wow the spirits lover in your life? This stunning spirits bar cabinet promises to make a lasting impression. Customer Debbi S. who ordered it as a Christmas present for her daughter says, “Love the vault! The cabinet is beautiful and displays all the liquors as well as barware.” Crafted from acacia wood with a sandblasted finish, this vault-inspired spirits chest comes equipped with LED lighting and two cabinets with key locks for storing booze, wine, and glassware alike. It’s refined rustic look and ample storage space, complete with two large shelves and an upper compartment with flip-up pocket door, make it ideal for burgeoning and seasoned spirits collectors alike.
Lancaster 3-Piece Burl Wood Bar Center With Cooling Storage Option
For a full-service bar option, consider this 3-piece wood bar center with optional wine coolers. Complete with a liquor cabinet, display shelves, stemware rack for 15 glasses, and the choice of adjustable shelves or 12-bottle wine coolers, this customizable piece of furniture makes for a truly indelible gift for serious at-home bartenders and entertaining enthusiasts. Crafted from burled oak veneers, solid pine, and black powder-coated iron, this Scandinavian-design-inspired bar center is as durable as it is versatile, ensuring a professional-caliber experience they’ll enjoy for years.
Published: October 29, 2023