While a bottle from their favourite distillery is a gift that few gin lovers would turn down, there are other gifting avenues to explore this festive season. From fun seasonal gifts (who remembers Slingsby Gin’s Christmas jumpers?) to a practical gift for everyday use, there are plenty of options if you want to look beyond a bottle of spirit. Check out our festive gift guide below, which we’ve grouped into three categories: quaffable, practical, and Christmassy!
The number of companies creating pre-mixed cocktails (also referred to as batched or ready-to-drink) has exploded in the past couple of years. These can be picked up from stores, bought online, or – in some cases – delivered on-demand! Nio, World of Zing, Bottoms Up, Crafthouse and others make classic and contemporary cocktails served in recyclable pouches or bottles. Some brands, such as Funkin Cocktails, have a broader range of mixers (just add spirit), purées and syrups alongside pre-mixed cocktails. Meanwhile, William Grant & Sons has released a Hendrick’s Martini as part of its Batch & Bottle cocktail range (just shake with ice and serve).
Personalised gin bottle:
As well as “make your own gin” experiences, some distilleries are now offering the option to personalise a bottle of one of their core-range gins. Distilleries including Warner’s and Masons of Yorkshire will allow you to personalise a bottle from their range of gins with a name or short message, while website EngraveDrinks.com allows you to add a personalised message to a bottle of gin from big brands such as Tanqueray, Hendrick’s, Whitley Neill and Bombay Sapphire.
Gin gift boxes:
Find out if your loved one’s favourite gin brand has put together a gift box. These are a great all-rounder of a present, often featuring a bottle (or miniatures) of gin with accompaniments such as mixers, garnishes, glassware or barware. Some mixer and pre-batched cocktail brands also sell kits to help you make your favourite gin drinks at home – you provide the spirit, they’ll provide everything else!
If your gin-loving friend or family member makes cocktails at home, why not set them up with some proper equipment? Essentials to have in your collection include a cocktail shaker (varieties include a two-piece Boston or three-piece Cobbler), jigger (a small measuring cup for liquids), muddler, bar spoon, strainer, juicer (such as a citrus elbow), and citrus peeler or paring knife. If your gin lover is set for equipment, try exploring cocktail ingredients such as bitters, liqueurs, or garnish ingredients like dehydrated citrus slices.
The right glassware can be as important as the liquid you put in it. Depending on how the gin lover you’re buying for likes to drink theirs, there are a variety of glassware options available. For gin and tonics, or any gin-and-mixer drink served long with ice, a stemmed copa glass (such as the Glencairn Gin Goblet) has finesse and is a great shape for G&T enjoyment; for those who prefer stemless glasses, many distillers now sell branded tumblers like these. For cocktail lovers, a Martini glass, dainty Nick and Nora glass, or solid tumbler or ‘rocks’ glass could suit depending on their preferred drink (glassware suppliers such as Urban Bar or Drinkind run the gamut). For sampling gin neat, a copita glass (like this one from Glencairn) is designed to draw the maximum aroma and flavour out of a spirit as you sip it.
Refillable gin pouches:
With sustainability front of mind for so many of us now, a refillable bottle or pouch could be a great gift for the eco-friendly gin lover in your life. Brands such as Bullards, Glaswegin and Boxer sell refillable pouches for their gins, while Silent Pool offers a bottle refill scheme at its distillery in Surrey. Meanwhile, Scotland’s Rock Rose Gin has recently launched a Refill Rewards Club. Members receive packs each month including a refillable pouch of the gin of their choice and accompanying mixers; the refill pouches can simply be posted back to the distillery once empty.
Many of us have been honing our cocktail-making skills at home in the past 18 months, so why not invest in a proper cocktail recipe book? There are some great all-rounders out there – for example, Gary Regan’s Joy of Mixology, The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff, Schofield’s Fine and Classic Cocktails, and, of course, The Savoy Cocktail Book by the legendary Harry Craddock – and books focused on a particular drink – for example, Gin Tonica, or 2021 release Negroni. Some bars, including The Alchemist, have created their own recipe books. For something festive, try Have Yourself a Merry Little Cocktail by Emma Stokes (aka Gin Monkey).
Gifts for festive fun
Who ever said Christmas crackers could only contain boring gifts? Kent distiller Copper Rivet is encouraging some festive cocktail making its Gin and Jigger Cracker, which includes a 100ml bottle of its Dockyard Gin and a copper jigger (a small measuring cup for cocktails), while Whitley Neill and Edinburgh Gin have launched cracker sets to showcase their flavoured gins. Subscription service the Craft Gin Club has launched three Christmas cracker sets with each cracker containing a 50ml measure of gin and can of tonic, as well as the traditional paper hat and joke or brain-teaser. Mixer brands, including Fever-Tree and Double Dutch Drinks, also have their own G&T cracker sets.
Snow Globe Gin:
Themed around an “enchanted Christmas”, the 2021 Gin Snow Globe from Gravity Drinks comes in a gold-foil gift box and features hand-painted illustrations showing a wintry country cottage scene. It also has a light at the base, to illuminate the edible gold leaf which cascades around the globe after you shake it. Inside is an orange and gingerbread-flavoured gin liqueur (20% ABV and suitable for vegans), made with cinnamon and Seville oranges. The same company also produces Sixpence Pud Gin Liqueur.
Yes, you can now get decorations themed around, and even made with, gin, such as this ‘drinkable’ wreath from Edinburgh Gin and London florist Wild at Heart. The wreath features baubles filled with herbs, fruits and spices – including bay leaf, crystallised ginger, cinnamon, clementine and dried apple – woven through dried flowers and ferns. As well as being decorative, these baubles can be used to create garnishes for festive gin cocktails. Meanwhile, the maker of Snow Globe Gin has launched a set of Christmas gin baubles. The baubles are decorated with picturesque winter scenes, filled with winter berry gin liqueur and edible 23-karat gold leaf, and include lights that are activated by buttons on the base and run on 10-minute timers.
The Gin Game:
Test your knowledge on all things gin with Talking Tables’ The Gin Game. Players make their way around the board by answering History cards, Mixology cards and ‘Gin-ius’ cards. The game is available from retailers including Amazon, John Lewis and Waterstones. For another ‘spirited’ party game, try Gin Rummy: Gin Lovers’ Playing Cards, complete with illustrations and cocktail recipes.
Bombay Sapphire ‘Create and Capture’ kit:
Bombay Sapphire has partnered with Kodak and three emerging artists to create these ‘Create and Capture’ kits, designed to encourage a bit of creativity in festive get-togethers with family and friends. The kits come in three different patterns and include a 70cl bottle of either Bombay Sapphire, Bombay Sapphire Sunset or Bombay Bramble, a Kodak Instant Printomatic camera, and an A6 photo album adorned with each artist’s design, to display the snaps of your festive creations, from handmade decorations to impressive table settings and beautiful cocktails. Each kit also includes a QR code to access a portal of festive cocktail recipes and cocktail-making masterclass videos.