Picking out the perfect present is a puzzle, an equation of equal parts “wow” and “how thoughtful.” Making your gifts, in the form of homemade cocktail kits, gets both reactions. You can customize each one for the designated recipient with a different drink and fun glassware—the more personalized, the better! Here are four DIY options, each sure to get everyone into the proper holiday mood.
Lime Yours Margarita Kit
Do you have a friend who’s the life of the party? A margarita always keeps things fun, classic, and classy. For this kit, the most important ingredient is the tequila, of course, so get a bottle of the best: crisp and citrusy Don Julio Blanco, made from 100 percent blue Weber agave. Add in a high-quality triple sec, a few limes, and two necessary tools: a citrus juicer for squeezing the limes, and a paring knife for slicing wedges out of them. For the rest, you have options: If your friend likes their margs salty, include a little salt. If they’re the spicy type, opt for a bottle of Tajín instead. As for glassware, go multipurpose with an Art Deco-inspired rocks glass that will let any cocktail shine.
Whisky Business Old Fashioned Kit
It doesn’t take much to make a really good Old Fashioned, but the cocktail is just the thing to spark holiday joy. You’ll need a set of rocks glasses, also called lowball glasses, as well as a bottle of sweet, smoky Johnnie Walker Black Label (it’s aged for at least 12 years before it hits the bottle). Then add good simple syrup (or try making your own), bitters, an orange, and, if you’re feeling fancy, a jar of cocktail cherries for a festive pop. Also include a citrus peeler, for the orange twist, and an ice tray, like this classic one or this rose-shaped one, to make those giant cubes that are key to every good Old Fashioned.
Hot in Here Hot-Toddy Kit
Known in Ireland simply as a “hot whisky,” this sweet, warming cocktail is believed to help relieve cold symptoms —in other words, the perfect thing to send a friend who’s caught the seasonal sniffles. Start with a bottle of super-smooth Crown Royal Deluxe blended Canadian whisky. Pack it with a jar of top-notch honey, some warming spices like cinnamon sticks and star anise, and fresh lemons. Tools to include: a citrus juicer, as well as a paring knife to slice lemon rounds. And for serving, these glass mugs don’t just look pretty—they’ll heat your friend’s hands while the drink warms their belly.
Just Brew It Cold-Brew Martini Kit
Everyone loves an espresso ’tini, whether for sipping after dinner or as a quick pick-me-up before going out. But why should they have to wait until they’re at a bar? They’re easy to make at home, and cold-brew martinis are even easier. All you need is a bottle of crisp Ketel One Vodka (backed by over three centuries of tradition); another of Mr Black cold brew coffee liqueur; your favorite cold-brew concentrate; simple syrup (in a flavor for extra fun, like this Madagascar vanilla version); and, for the garnish, some espresso beans—unless you want to go over the top with chocolate-covered coffee beans. For glassware, these traditional martini glasses are a great option, or you can splurge on these whimsical pink and blue ones from New York-based designer Sophie Lou Jacobsen.