A Christmas gift for your favorite home bar enthusiast doesn’t have to cost a fortune—even if you’re gifting them the entire bar cart!
The bar cart has practically become the new throw pillow for any apartment living room or loft space. But it’s around the holidays when a bar cart really stands out—a vintage brass stunner dressed up in garlands and white mini lights may just upstage your tree (or replace it). Whether you’re looking to upgrade your own bar on wheels or liven up a friend’s with standout stemware, we’ve got you covered with these no-fail cocktail-minded presents for every budget—but none are over $100.
Reed & Barton Soho Double Old Fashioned Crystal Whiskey Glasses, 4 for $64 on Wayfair (normally $90)
We definitely have a set of these vintage-vibe, just-flashy-enough cut crystal glasses on our wish list this season. They’re the ideal classic and refined vessel for an Old Fashioned (or two) or any other cocktail you create, especially during the festive holiday season—but if you’re on a budget, this set of six whiskey glasses looks very similar for only $20.99. (And if you’re feeling naughty, you can gift a set of “tipsy” glasses that always look like they’re falling over…)Buy Now
This intriguing blend of Kentucky rye whiskey, Canadian whiskey, and port is a perfect bottle to give during the colder months—though maybe not to strict whiskey purists. For everyone else who appreciates an interesting liquor, the complex oaky notes with caramel tones and dried fruit flavors mingled with sweetness and a bit of rye spice will prove a nice warming winter spirit (with, according to Sara Havens for The Alcohol Professor, a finish that tastes like sugar cookie dough).Buy Now
Scrappy’s bitters are handcrafted in small batches from organic ingredients with no artificial flavors, dyes, or chemicals. This bundle of two boxes of sample size bottles includes both their Classic Bitters set and Exotic Bitters set; all together, there are eight flavors: chocolate, grapefruit, lavender, cardamom, celery, orange, Orleans (anise, citrus, and cinnamon), and Aromatic (with vanilla notes). Perfect for the home mixologist who likes to experiment.Buy Now
Nod to “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and add a little whimsy to your pal’s bar cart with this charming golden swan. It holds eight feather-topped cocktail picks for skewering drink garnishes—way better than those disposable wooden ones with the plastic frills. While these are no longer available to ship online, you might find them in stock at your local World Market. Otherwise, try these gold feather cocktail picks on Amazon.Buy Now
These brilliant little blocks are designed to be frozen, then popped into a glass and doused with liquor for an insta-cocktail with multilayered flavors that only requires you to stir. There are five flavors in total, including The Cooper (with blood orange and ginger), The Cecile (with cucumber, watermelon juice, clover honey, and thyme), The Clyde (with peach, lemon juice, sage, rosemary, juniper, and vanilla), and The Oliver (an updated Negroni with wormwood extract). Each delightfully illustrated box contains 24 cubes of your chosen flavor. They’re also great for non-imbibers, as they can be splashed with seltzer for a ready-made mocktail.Buy Now
If your mixologist is more into DIY, this infusion kit is a fun option that comes with a curated mix of dried fruit and spices. Choose from four options: Island Time Spicy Pineapple with cinnamon and cayenne; Parrot Head Strawberry Jalapeno with a hit of lime; Blue Sunday Blueberry Lavender with a little lemon; and Navel Gazer Spiced Orange with cinnamon and clove. All your recipient needs to do is add booze and wait about a week—but once that batch is gone, the pour spout-equipped jar can be reused for their own creations again and again.Buy Now
A nice bottle of red is never a bad gift idea (ditto a recurring wine club subscription). But what’s even better is if you accompany it with a beautiful decanter for unlocking the full flavor of the wine itself. This glass decanter is pretty enough to use as a vase or art piece on the bar cart in between vino sessions. And if you want to be even more generous, consider throwing in a bottle brush perfectly shaped for cleaning the curvy interior of the decanter.Buy Now
These gorgeous handmade bowls with touches of gold are the perfect size for small jobs, like holding your fancy Luxardo cherries during a cocktail party, for instance. But they can also move off the bar cart to hold condiments during a dinner party. They’re so enchanting, their new owner will doubtless find many excuses to use them and keep them in sight. They’re available in sets of two or three and various colors, so you can choose whatever combo will most appeal to your giftee.Buy Now
An ice bucket is an item that’s easy to forget when stocking a bar cart, but it’s incredibly useful, and this one made of stainless steel with a hammered brass exterior is also attractive—and affordable. It comes with tongs so no one needs to reach their fingers into the communal ice chest.Buy Now
If your giftee prefers to mix things up, you can outfit your bestie’s entire bar cart for under $60 with this sleek black matte metallic Boston shaker set with all the essential tools included: shaker, strainer, double jigger, muddler, bar spoon, and tongs. The set also comes in copper and silver to coordinate with any decor.Buy Now
The best-selling authors and mixologists behind the acclaimed Death & Co are at it again. This time, they’re crafting classic and original drinks built from six “root cocktails:” the Old-Fashioned, Martini, Daiquiri, Sidecar, Whisky Highball, and the Flip. If there’s one recipe book to prominently feature on a bar cart, this is it—but check out some of our other favorite cocktail books for more great options too.Buy Now
If you can’t swing a vintage bar cart on 1stdibs, this silver metal and classic glass version is a steal. With two tiers and built-in bottle holders, it has plenty of storage space for bottles, glasses, or bar tools of varying heights and sizes. (If you’re willing and able to spend a little more, this gold bar cart with a mid-century modern vibe is also nice, and not too expensive.)Buy Now
If your recipient is more into industrial chic style, this bar cart is a great option. The rustic oak and black metal construction is simple but striking, and it includes a wine bottle and glass hanging rack along with two shelves for holding plenty of tools and bottles.Buy Now
A towel is handy to keep on a bar cat for mopping up inevitable spills, and this one is particularly pretty—but still machine-washable, so not too precious to actually use as intended. If your giftee is a fan of herbs in cocktails, consider this herb-printed towel as an alternative, or for more understated tastes, a classic French linen stripe towel will be appreciated.Buy Now
A miniature cutting board is another thoughtful addition to any bar cart, perfect for slicing limes, other citrus, or small garnishes. This bamboo model has a juice groove to keep it from flooding over the sides, and is naturally resistant to bacteria. Plus, it’s sleek and small enough not to interfere with the overall aesthetic of the bar cart, whatever that may be.Buy Now
Finally, while bar cart gifts would seem to go hand in hand with alcohol, mocktails have come a long way from their Shirley Temple origins. Now, even home mixologists are getting serious about crafting them just as carefully as they would a traditional mixed drink. These non-alcoholic spirits are made from complex blends of botanicals, herbs, and spices, to start you off on the road to a nuanced non-alcoholic cocktail that nonetheless tastes intoxicating.Buy Now
For more great gift ideas, see our Gourmet Food and Drink Gift Guide, and our Best Kitchen Gadgets, Tools, and Appliances Gift Guide.
Related Video: A Top Bartender’s Top Tools
This post was written by Dan Koday in 2018 and has been updated by Chowhound Editors with new images, links, and text.
Header image courtesy of Food52