It’s Christmas Time!
Well, not really, but it’s Christmas SHOPPING time! All the stores have their Christmas music playing, and have started putting out their decorations and displays. So it’s time to start making your list of Christmas gifts to buy!
You have a family member or friend who is an alcohol enthusiast, and you want to buy them a gift, but you know nothing about alcohol, except what you like to order at the bar or restaurant. Oh, but here’s a nice looking gift set! It has glasses and a bottle of mix, or a cocktail shaker, or some esoteric bartending tool! It’s the perfect gift! Or is it…
First up, we have the classic Martini Bar Set for Two. This lovely set contains a cocktail shaker, 2 Martini glasses, 2 stirrers, 2 packets of rimming sugar, and 2 bottles of “Martini Mixer.” All that for less than $20! And all you need to do is “add Vodka,” which being an alcohol Enthusiast, your gift recipent will surely have on hand! Surely this is a thoughtful and wonderful gift, right?
To an alcohol enthusiast, this will come across as a cheap and thoughtless gift which will end up in the back of the closet with the musical neckties and 20 year old issues of Playboy, IF it doesn’t end up in the garbage straight away.
So what’s wrong with it? Let’s break it down item by item…
- Cocktail Shaker – First, it’s 12 ounces. Just enough space in there for ice and ingredients for ONE Martini at a time. And since this set is packaged as a “Set for Two,” your recipient is going to take twice as long mixing their drinks.
- 2 Martini glasses – This is the only nearly acceptable part of the set. They’re cheap, fairly decent glasses. The problem is, they’re also insanely SMALL, holding AT MOST about 2 ounces each without spilling. A REAL Martini glass should hold 4 to 6 ounces.
- 2 stirrers – Cheap plastic sticks. Guaranteed to break as you try to get them out of the package. Also, they’re incredibly long, longer than the included cocktail shaker is tall. Yes, bar spoons are long, but not comically oversized, and certainly not made of plastic!
- 2 packets of rimming sugar – A real Martini is equal parts Gin and Vermouth, and a dash of Orange Bitters. You don’t need to rim the glass with anything, especially artifically colored sugar.
- Martini Mixer – What the bloody hell is “Martini Mixer”? As I just said, a Martini is Gin, Vermouth, and Orange Bitters. And whatever is in these bottles, it’s certainly not any of those.
Here’s another absolutely pointless gift. Oh, the glasses are fine, almost. They’re a tapered 12 ounce glass, so size isn’t the issue. But they’re tapered with a very small base (it doesn’t show well in the picture, but trust me, I looked in the box). Guarantee those suckers are gonna tip right over soon as you start pouring anything into them. As for the “Bloody Mary Mix,” well, that’s just garbage. Artificial sweeteners and chemical flavoring agents will NEVER beat using real tomato juice and the proper ingredients. About the only thing this “mix” is good for is attracting flies.
NO, IT ISN’T!
First, it’s “Margarita Mix.” Like I said above, these “mixes” are nothing more than artificial coloring, flavoring, and sweeteners. Pure unadulterated garbage. And the glasses? They’re fucking hideous! Aside from the touristy crap printed all along the rim (which will flake off on a drinker’s lips soon as the salt hits that paint), a REAL Margarita should be served in a lowball glass over ice. Salting the rim is optional, but I wouldn’t use that crap.
Okay, we come to the last example, a simple cocktail shaker. Surely there can’t be anything wrong with a cocktail shaker! In fact, you’ve probably seen your gift recipient use one of these before, so you just KNOW they’d like to have another one around as a spare, right?
WELL, ACTUALLY, YES!
All good alcohol enthusiasts, home bartenders, and people who enjoy mixing drinks like having an extra shaker or two around. Save you from having to wash out the shaker between drinks as often during parties. Now you’re starting to put some thought into the gift! But…
THIS IS A PIECE OF SHIT SHAKER!
Firstly, there’s 2 basic TYPES of shakers (actually, there’s several, but we’re just going with the basics for this article). There’s the classic Cocktail Shaker (my personal preference), and then there’s the Boston Tin type shaker (which is completely different). And every enthusiast has their own preference. So BEFORE you buy a shaker for them, FIND OUT WHICH TYPE THEY PREFER!
Secondly, It’s cheap painted plastic WITH NO SEAL. So you pour in your ice and ingredients, slap on the top, and this happens: Shake…Shake…Spew…CRACK! And there you are, covered in your drink ingredients, holding a broken shaker.
So what do I recommend you buy for your favorite alcohol enthusiast for Christmas?
Well, first I suggest you find out what they like. And then maybe buy them a bottle of their favorite alcohol.
Or if you really have your heart set on something lasting, like bar-ware (skip the glassware, they have tons, trust me), then get a DURABLE bar tool for them.
A shaker (find out what type they prefer, first!) is always a great idea. Or maybe they need a new citus zester, or a set of measuring glasses (NOT measuring cups from the kitchenware section, PLEASE!).
Whatever gift you decide to go with, remember the old saying. It’s the thought that counts. And that goes both ways. Put some GOOD thought into the gift you give, and they’ll put some GOOD thought into the drinks they serve you.
* Disclosure Note: The above links to shopping sites are merely for reference, and we have NOT been paid to include them!