The 27 Best Gifts for Bourbon Lovers of 2023, by Food & Wine
Bartenders and bourbon experts signed off on our list of gift-worthy picks.
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If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the bourbon lover in your life, you’re likely stumped. They no doubt already have all the home bar essentials, including a go-to whiskey glass and favorite decanter. Plus, buying a specific bottle can be risky unless you are confident in their taste.
So to source the most classic, always-classy gifts, we’ve spoken to bartenders and certified whiskey experts about their top picks. You’ll find some tried-and-true classics on this list, like the favored glassware among bourbon experts, as well as some unexpected wildcards, like a whiskey Advent calendar. With over two dozen items to choose from, there’s something for every bourbon lover on your list. Hot tip: Many of these picks also make excellent host and hostess gifts.
Our favorite boozy Advent calendar among the ones we reviewed was this pick from Flaviar. If you’re not yet acquainted with Flaviar, you’re going to love this brand: they create high-end, immersive experiences around whiskey (including tasting boxes and gift subscriptions), so we knew they’d knock an Advent calendar out of the park.
This year’s theme — which is available for pre-order — is themed The Lost Art of Distillation, and includes two Glencairn tasting glasses, 24 top-shelf whiskey samples (including but not limited to bourbons), and a yearlong base membership to Flaviar. Not bad at all for under $250.
Price at time of publish $235
These glasses are an industry standard among whiskey professionals. “I love the Glencairn because the size of the opening at the top is reasonably small, but the base of the whiskey is breathing in the bottom,” says Alex Thomas, Bushmills Master Blender. These glasses are better for enjoying the subtle flavors in bourbon because wider-rimmed glasses let the scents evaporate before you can pick them all out.
They’re also a favorite of Jörn Kleinhans, Executive Director at The Council of Whiskey Masters. He gifts them in a set of two, explaining, “One can never have enough proper glassware, since side-by-side comparison of bourbon makes a tasting most enjoyable.”
With thin walls ideal for sipping slowly, the Glencairn glass is surprisingly sturdy. Each glass has a six-ounce capacity, ideal for enjoying a serving of bourbon with ample room to let it aerate. If the bourbon lover on your list doesn’t own these yet, it’s time for them to get their own set: it’s the mark of a true connoisseur.
Price at time of publish: $50
To taste bourbon like a professional, you’ll need to first train your palate to pick up the subtle aromas of quality bourbon. A bourbon nosing kit like this exposes the palate to the wood, grain, sweet, spice, and fruit categories commonly found in bourbon. “Practice smelling and identifying typical flavor notes,” Kleinhans says, making this a special gift for serious amateurs. The kit includes 18 small containers of real ingredients all found in quality bourbon. With scents like oak, cherry, mint, and tobacco, this is one of the most effective ways to up your skill level.
Price at time of publish: $69
Smell that? Fall is officially in the air with this whiskey- and pumpkin-scented candle by luxury candle company Anecdote. The soy wax blend is formulated to burn for 55 hours and is poured into a matte nine-ounce jar that’s pretty enough to call decor. The Anthropologie-exclusive candle also comes in two other autumnal scents, but whiskey fans will want to snap up a few of this seasonal exclusive before the snow falls.
Price at time of publish: $32
This gorgeous decanter is recommended by world-renowned, award-winning bartender Carlos Ruiz. It has a vintage aesthetic and looks extremely expensive, thanks to the pattern that’s designed to replicate the aesthetics of cut crystal — at a fraction of the cost. This decanter holds 32 ounces, which is more than most standard bottles of bourbon.
Crate & Barrel also makes glassware in the Hatch line, so you can add it to your collection with matching cocktail, highball, and rocks glasses. “It looks good on my bar and is dishwasher safe,” says Ruiz, and honestly, we can’t think of a better combination of qualities.
Price at time of publish $50
Nobody does maple syrup like Vermont (well, don’t tell Canada that). This iconic New England sweetener is made even better with a hint of bourbon. Because Runamok adds flavor by aging the syrup in empty whiskey barrels, it’s 100% booze-free and family-friendly. We think Runamok produces some of the finest syrup you can buy (their Sugarmaker’s Cut won the title of “Best Overall” in our maple review), and this special 8.45-ounce bottle is one of their most giftable options.
Price at time of publish $21
Ah, the magic of the internet: thanks to expert packaging and lickety-split shipping, you can now have an entire bourbon pecan pie shipped straight to your door. We mean, to your giftee’s door. If we could choose just one flavor from specialty food delivery gurus Goldbelly, it’d be this one. Made by Pies ‘n’ Thighs, an iconic Brooklyn bakery, it’s utterly packed with Texas pecans and a generous pour of bourbon.
It arrives frozen, so all you have to do is thaw it when you’re ready to serve. Naturally, although a strong cup of coffee would be great with this, for the perfect pairing, our vote is for a glass of top-shelf bourbon. Served neat.
Price at time of publish: $75
Buying a bottle of bourbon for a whiskey lover or new-to-bourbon fan can be a big risk: How can you be sure they’ll like it? According to Nate Gana, a whiskey expert and worldwide spirits judge, you can’t go wrong with the Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon. This is an annual release, so although the flavors may vary slightly from year to year, you can be sure they’ll enjoy the complex flavors and aromas. Gana particularly enjoys this selection for the maple, brown sugar, and vanilla notes: he says it reminds him of a warm bowl of oatmeal.
Although this isn’t an ultra-rare or pricey find, it is a must-have for building a bar cart. Gana calls it “easily an everyday drinker.”
Price at time of publish: $42
Not to gild the lily here, but — wait. We want to gild the lily. In a recent review of ice cream delivery services, we went nuts for the Tipsy Scoop’s unconventional alcohol-infused offerings. The Vanilla Bean Bourbon easily wins as their top pint, with such a natural combination of flavors (bourbon barrels often impart notes of vanilla during the aging process!). Even sweeter: these pints are shipped fast, on dry ice, to ensure your giftee receives them in perfect condition. Oh, and in case you were curious: these are definitely for the 21-and-up crowd. They’re boozy!
Price at time of publish $130 for six pints
Bounty Hunter is amazing when it comes to luxury alcohol subscriptions and clubs. A membership isn’t cheap, although it is highly giftable, and packed with special and rare finds that make the investment worthwhile. Choose from a monthly or quarterly delivery, and your recipient will receive a variety of expert-selected bourbons — as well as rye and other American-made whiskey options. Many of the selections are even private reserves, meaning you’ll only get them through Bounty Hunter.
A heads-up: Before you add your gift message, check to ensure that delivery is available where your gifttee lives. Bounty Hunter graciously notes the states where delivery is or isn’t possible upon checkout.
Price at time of publish $249 per month
You can drink good bourbon out of any old cup, but we swear it tastes better in good glassware. When we reviewed Old Fashioned glasses, we were smitten with these vintage-style glasses that were inspired by the famed New York City bar. The quilted cut glass is meant to catch the light for a dazzling aesthetic element to your cocktail hour. They’re approved by industry pros, too.
Says Fitz Bailey, mixologist for Coopers' Craft Bourbon, "Vintage cocktails, modern twists, and neat pours will look stunning in these glasses with a speakeasy vibe.” We like that they’re made from real crystal, and weigh in at a pleasurably heavy pound each.
Price at time of publish $64
Mash & Grape
How much bourbon is too much bourbon for your home collection? Trick question: the limit does not exist. There’s no shortage of “Bourbon of the Month” clubs, and we’ve tried just about all of them. Mash & Grape stands out for its customizable, seemingly infinite selection of whiskies, and affordable monthly membership options. Choose from three, six, or twelve months of delivery, and your gift recipient will receive a hand-selected bottle with all the tasting notes and industry secrets needed for maximum enjoyment. This is a truly great gift that combines value with luxury.
Price at time of publish: $207 for three months
Quality cocktail shakers are sneakily hard to find. With expert help, we scoured the internet for the best of the best, and since then we can’t stop thinking about this sleek Amazon find. It’s an industry favorite: Dorys Rodriguez Cordero, a bartender at Palacio Provincial’s Atelier in San Juan, Puerto Rico, likes it for its durability and quality. He notes that it helps him keep up with the high volume of orders at his bar. During our testing, we appreciated the simplicity of its Boston-style shaker design, which makes for easy pouring and cleanup.
Price at time of publish $32
Think whiskey stones are a gimmick? Order these natural soapstone rocks and think again. They’re meant to be stored in the freezer, so you can cool a glass of bourbon (or rye, or whatever) without watering it down. This set comes in a plush velvet carrying pouch, making it not only giftable but also helping to protect the rocks from picking up errant smells and flavors that could negatively impact your sipping experience. We recommend these as a perfect gift for any occasion or holiday, especially for the bourbon lover in your life.
Price at time of publish $27
Bed Bath & Beyond
What is it about coupe glasses? This classic profile is classy all the way, with vintage vibes and a versatility that can’t be matched. As we researched the best in this category, bartenders continually praised Riedel, naming it their preferred brand for glassware in every category. This set in particular caught our eye because of the thin, pretty stems. These glasses are almost 7 inches in height, making them an unexpected pick for bourbon-based cocktails, and we like that. Why be the same as everyone else when you and your favorite spirit can truly shine?
Price at time of publish $89
These cocktail picks are very, very fun. Consider it a perfectly giftable option for your friend who doesn’t take themselves (or their bourbon) too seriously. They’re one of the best host or hostess gifts we can think of, owing to their affordable price tag but unique and high-quality designs. Made from 18/8 food-grade steel, these are crafted to last for years. You can choose from a variety of different sets, but our vote is for the classic, which is topped with a bear, elephant, owl, octopus, pineapple, and skull charm. You know, the essentials.
Price at time of publish: $10
Coasters are a sneakily efficient way of refreshing your home decor, and they just happen to be one of the most giftable whiskey accessories. We recently researched dozens of coasters to find 11 stellar ones and think this wood and cork set is the best you can get at a very attractive price point. The base has felt grips, so it won’t slip and slide. The cork does an excellent job at absorbing condensation, saving your tabletop from unsightly rings.
As with all accessories, it’s the little touches that make these coasters stand out: the lip is slightly raised, which frames a glass nicely. For $12 and four coasters, you can do no better.
Price at time of publish: $12
US-made chocolatier Raaka is known for its meticulous ingredient sourcing and luxurious, unique flavor combinations. And while we’d never judge a book by its cover, we’ll admit the stunning wrappers on these bars are reason enough to pick up a gift set. All of Raaka’s flavors are winners, but the Bourbon Cask Aged is an absolute stunner. Whether you choose a small (three bars) or large (eight) box, the whiskey-infused bar is included. Made with 82% cocoa, this is a deep, dark bar for the connoisseurs among us.
Price at time of publish: $30 for three bars
You don’t need a Mint Julep cup until you want a Mint Julep, and then you need one. These specialty cups are worth investing in because they’re such a crucial element of this classic cocktail. This set is made from dishwasher-safe stainless steel, and we appreciate that. Unlike many unique cocktail glasses, you don’t have to baby these. The polished exterior has a mirror-like finish for a little extra pizazz and class: just the sort of attitude you want when drinking a Mint Julep, anyway.
Price at time of publish: $53
There is no shortage of books about bourbon, but Kleinhans says this one, by “the best-known author on whiskey,” is the most giftable. “Receive a full global overview, with amazing pictures and tasting notes,” he says, and he’s not the only industry pro who recommends it. Whiskey Magazine calls it “the perfect go-to reference guide.” With over 200 pictures and almost two dozen distillery-specific maps, you’ll come away with a deeper knowledge of all the major types of whiskey — bourbon included, of course.
Price at time of publish: $27
Old Fashioneds never go out of style, and luckily, neither do these industry gold standard cherries. They’re prized among bartending professionals for their all-natural syrupy texture and color (no artificial sweeteners or thickeners here). You can find cheaper jars of maraschinos, but in a drink with so few ingredients, it pays to invest in the highest quality. They’re also a luxe gift for non-drinkers. Ask anyone who’s poured a little of the marasca syrup on their ice cream.
Price at time of publish: $40 for two jars
If both bourbon and bacon make everything better (or so we’ve heard), then this savory jam is a must-try for whiskey lovers. It’s just sweet enough, thanks to slow-cooked apples and real maple syrup, and rounded out with onions, shallots, real pieces of bacon, and — of course — bourbon. The team at Stonewall Kitchen suggests serving this on a burger, but we also like it as an accompaniment to a charcuterie board. Either way, this unique condiment will become an instant favorite of any whiskey enthusiast.
Price at time of publish: $14
This 17 x 22-inch map is part-decor, part-educational tool. Printed in full color, it outlines all the major whiskey distilleries in America — with inlays for the highly populated states, like Kentucky. The helpful key indicates what grain each distillery uses (if you’re interested in bourbon, look for corn). There’s a fun interactive component to the map, too: each distillery name is overlaid with a gold coat that you can scratch off once you’ve visited it. Think: scratch-off lottery tickets, with a whole lot more booze.
Price at time of publish: $16
Although lesser-known than the coupe or rocks glasses, a Nick & Nora glass is worth a second look. With its gently curved lip and slightly deeper bowl, this vintage-style glass is ideal for sophisticated cocktails that encompass bourbon and beyond (we love it for a classic martini, too). They’re downright perfect for a Manhattan. And because this set is made by Riedel, you know the quality is top-notch. They come in a set of two, so you should probably expect an invite to your gift recipient’s next happy hour.
Price at time of publish: $45
Why didn’t we think of this? Corkcicle has cracked the code on chilling brown spirits without diluting them. This gift set contains a double old-fashioned-style glass and a clever silicone ice mold. The mold creates a diagonal ramp of ice that bisects your glass in half: the effect is a perfectly chilled drink that doesn’t get watery. Both the mold and the glass are dishwasher-safe.
Price at time of publish: $25
We already know Stanley’s crushing the insulated water bottle game. But don’t discount their rugged outdoorsy line of products: this insulated flask and shot glass set is a great mess kit addition for the hiking and camping bourbon drinker. It comes with an 8-ounce hip flask, four 2-ounce metal shot glasses, and a metal carrying case. This upgraded flask comes in two chic colors, Stanley’s classic hammer-toned green or a brushed matte black. Fans of Stanley’s flask note that the opening is petite, and suggest using a funnel to pour in your whiskey without wasting a drop.
Price at time of publish: $41
You don’t have to be a fan of brown liquor to enjoy this highly sought-after Williams Sonoma exclusive. (But it helps.) It combines the best of Kentucky (that’s the bourbon!) with California almonds for a sweet, crunchy, giftable treat we can never get enough of. Unlike imposter brittles, this one is made by master confectioners and cooled on a real marble table. The difference is in the satisfying crunch. Choose from a single one-pound tin or a set of two and wait for the thank-you cards to roll in.
Price at time of publish: $37
Rochelle Bilow is a food writer and editor with over a decade of professional experience. Previously a senior associate editor and social media manager at Bon Appétit and Cooking Light magazines, Rochelle is also a novelist, a culinary school graduate, and a former professional baker and line cook. In researching this article, she reviewed dozens of bourbon and whiskey-themed gifts, memberships, and specialty items; she also interviewed a certified Bourbon sommelier and whiskey expert.Price at time of publish $235Price at time of publish: $50Price at time of publish: $69Price at time of publish: $32Price at time of publish $50Price at time of publish $21Price at time of publish: $75Price at time of publish: $42Price at time of publish $130 for six pintsPrice at time of publish $249 per monthPrice at time of publish $64Price at time of publish: $207 for three monthsPrice at time of publish $32Price at time of publish $27Price at time of publish $89Price at time of publish: $10Price at time of publish: $12Price at time of publish: $30 for three barsPrice at time of publish: $53Price at time of publish: $27Price at time of publish: $40 for two jarsPrice at time of publish: $14Price at time of publish: $16Price at time of publish: $45Price at time of publish: $25Price at time of publish: $41Price at time of publish: $37