Holiday Gift Guide: 5 Gifts For the Budding Home Bartender

Giving presents to the aspiring home bartender is the gift that keeps on giving. Sure, occasionally there'll be a miss, especially later in the evenings (ahem, plantain daiquiris), but all the experimentation gets to be drunk. Here are five ways to get your mixologist started.

1. A copy of "Home Bar Basics (And Not-So-Basics)" by Dave Stolte

Dave Stolte, an OC-based illustrator with an extensive home bar, has written the definitive guide for people who don't blush at the idea of making falernum at home.

At, $12.99.

2. A Boston Shaker

Ever wondered why you needed to wash that stupid Slinky-looking Hawthorne strainer every time you need to strain something? A Boston shaker and some skill are all you need for most drinks.

From, $14.50.
3. An electric juicer

Flickr user foodthinkers

Real bartenders don't use neon-green margarita mix. They don't use orange juice from a frozen can. An electric juicer will save your would-be barkeep's hands.

From any department store, $30 and up.

4. Infusing jars and herbs and spices to play with

Holiday Gift Guide: 5 Gifts For the Budding Home Bartender
Dave Lieberman

Dave Lieberman

Now it's legal to infuse liquor and sell it; of course, home bartenders have been doing it for a long time.

Infusing jars from $6 at any kitchen supply store; herbs and spices from Savory Spice Stop or

5. Gift card to Hi-Time Liquors

Holiday Gift Guide: 5 Gifts For the Budding Home Bartender

Hundreds of tequilas? Thousands of vodkas (useful mostly for creating tinctures, not for drinking by itself)? Zillions of scotches, bottles of odd wines, and amari nobody's ever heard of? Give a gift card and let the budding bartender go crazy. Take it from the voice of experience: it's hard to spend less than $100 there. Not in OC? Chances are there's that one liquor store in your town that stocks all the weird stuff.

250 Ogle St., Costa Mesa;
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