Cheers to these bar gifts that will arrive before Christmas

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This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

Need something to toast to? How about some great bar gifts that still arrive before Christmas? Home bars are all the rage in 2020, which is why finding a chic bar gift for a budding mixologist is time and money well spent. If you reckon someone on your holiday list is cocktail-curious or looking to update their home bar or bar cart, your gift-giving options are sprawling.  

This list features a range of giftable home bar accessories from the very pretty to the highly practical, all of which will make happy hour, well, happier. Plus, there are boozy, cocktail-related bar gifts for every budget, from stocking stuffers to total splurges, and all should arrive in time for Christmas. So whether you fancy yourself the cosmopolitan type or it’s something more old-fashioned you’re after, these are some of the best bar and cocktail gifts to give in 2020.  

Read moreThe best e-gift cards to give a foodie

Note: All of these bar gifts are confirmed to arrive before Dec. 24., according to each retailer. Some may require expedited shipping to do so, however, which generally incurs an additional fee.

Amazon

Spice things up with this small yet sturdy cast-iron mortar and pestle set. This bar tool will eliminate the need for ground spices, pulverizing whole peppercorns and fennel seeds to ensure fresher flavor and stronger aromatics in your drink. In the process, you’ll also get a fun workout and stress relief. There’s a reason this ancient food processor has stood the test of time.

Macy’s

Any spirits fan would love to serve or sip something fancy in these crystal beauties. They’re a perfect vessel for an Old Fashioned cocktail (or two) or for a nice pour of Scotch or sipping tequila on the rocks. For someone with a funkier flair, these Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired old-fashioned glasses from Macy’s might be just right.

Anthropologie

There are coasters and then there are these gorgeous agate coasters that should be in a category all their own. They run $14 a pop, but whoever you buy them for will think of you every time they get lost in the celestial swirl. The coasters also come in six incredible colors and should arrive by Christmas if you order soon.

Walmart

An ice bucket is a simple way to throw a little mood on the bar and it makes a great gift that’s also practical for a serial cocktail party host. This one, made of mirrored stainless steel with a midcentury feel, is a total Don Draper dream come true.

Haus

Haus is a new line of highly mixable aperitifs. This customizable four-pack of 200ml bottles lets you sip or mix your way through the full line of lemon lavender, bitter clove, peach passionfruit and rose-rosè. Each is a fairly low-ABV spirit that proves lots of fun to experiment with no matter the liquor you prefer to use for a cocktail base.

Peak

Certain cocktails demand a large, slowly melting cube and this four-cube tray from Peak will help someone on your list make them easily. The rubber tray is available in several colors on Amazon.

Bonne Maman

This is my favorite cocktail hack so listen up: High-quality fruit preserves, like this six-pack from French producer Bonne Maman, are some of the absolute most fun and underrated mixology ingredients out there. A little apricot jam in a whiskey drink or blueberry preserves in your margarita will give you some sweetness and fruit flavor so you can forego a lot of that laborious squeezing and simple syrup-making.

Walmart

This vintage gold bar cart is a total showstopper and still arrives before Christmas, with free shipping to boot. With two tiers of mirrored shelving, this snazzy retro home bar cart has plenty of space to house liquor bottles, glasses and bar tools of varying heights and sizes. It will absolutely own any corner of your living room — in a good way!

Food52

Freeze them, pop them into a glass and add liquor. Presto — you’ve created a multilayered cocktail for happy hour. This unique gift comes in five flavors in total: The Cooper (blood orange and ginger), The Cecile (cucumber, watermelon juice, clover honey and thyme), The Clyde (peach, lemon juice, sage, rosemary, juniper and vanilla) and The Oliver (an updated negroni with wormwood extract). Each box contains 24 cubes of your chosen flavor. They’re also great for nonimbibers, as they can be splashed with seltzer for a ready-made mocktail.

Amazon

Bitters are probably the easiest way for an amateur bartender to start playing around with cocktail concepts. This bundle from Hella Cocktail offers five nuanced flavors — ginger, smoked chili, aromatic, orange and citrus — to add depth and spice to a spirited cocktail, mulled wine or an aperitif. They are made with real fruit and spice and no artificial stuff, which is exactly what you want in bitters.

Basil Hayden’s

This intriguing blend of Kentucky rye whiskey, Canadian whiskey and port makes the perfect gift for any drinker except the strict whiskey purist. Everyone else will appreciate the complex oaky notes, caramel tones, dried fruit flavors and a bit of rye spice. Best of all, according to Sara Havens for The Alcohol Professor, this one offers a delicious finish that tastes like sugar cookie dough.

Sur la Table

A beautiful solution for the cocktail enthusiast who prefers drinks stirred and not shaken. Wondering why you’d need one of these at all? If you ask an expert, they’ll tell you most cocktails made with brown liquors like bourbon, cognac and aged dark rum should be stirred and not shaken.

Amazon

You can outfit a bar cart for around $50 with this sleek black matte-metallic Boston shaker set. It’s got all the essential tools: shaker, strainer, jigger, muddler, bar spoon and tongs. It comes in copper and silver to coordinate with your home decor.

Another option is this 10-in-one cocktail tool, which is essentially a Swiss Army Knife but for happy hour. It makes a nice alternative if the person on your list is working with limited space, as in a small apartment or even an RV criss-crossing the country (safely), one cocktail at a time. I have one myself and use it all the time.

Amazon

A small cutting board is perfect for slicing limes, other citrus or small garnishes, which is generally all you’ll be doing during cocktail hour anyway. This is the Cadillac of bar boards with an actual drip tray to collect precious citrus juice to reuse for the next margarita. Brilliant, right? Plus, it’s a John Boos so you can rest assured it’s a top-quality slab.

This story was written by Dan Koday and David Watsky.

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