• Shelley Boettcher

Holiday gifts for cocktail fans

Searching for the perfect gift for your favourite cocktail aficionado?

Here are five suggestions.

1. The team at Park Distillery in Banff has a fantastic selection of gear and spirits for the holiday season. The Park Bird's Eye Chili Vodka will warm even the must chilled spirits this time of year, and a Park Distillery-branded toque will top things off the best way possible. $38.

2. We have six cocktail shakers in our house. Six. Some are cheap branded freebies from events; a couple are high-end wedding gifts from people who love us.

But the one we use most often is this model from Trudeau.

Unlike our fancier models, this one doesn't have any glass, so I don't have to worry about it getting smashed at a party.

There's a non-stick heavy base, which keeps it from sliding across the granite countertop. The lid has built-in lines for measuring, so you don't have to have a shot glass handy at all times. And the strainer is built into the lid, which makes pouring very easy. We like it so much, we even take it camping in the summer. About $30.

3. A bottle of Empress 1908, the Fairmont Empress Hotel's collaborative gin with Victoria Distillers.

Dubbed "the original indigo gin," it turns the most beautiful shade of purple when tonic water or citrus is added, thanks to the fact it's made with dried butterfly pea blossoms. If you haven't tried it yet, track it down. About $47.

4. We always, always want an excuse to buy these copper mule mugs for Moscow Mules at our next cocktail party.

They're timeless. They're festive. They're really beautiful, and, if you take care of them, they'll last forever. On sale now for $18 apiece at Chapters/Indigo.

5. Have no idea what to buy? Hate even the thought of wrapping? The team at Eau Claire Distillery takes all the hard work away, with their roundup of seasonally themed cocktail packages.

We wouldn't say no to the straight-up Best of Both Worlds kit ($130), which includes a bottle of Eau Claire's award-winning Parlour Gin, plus a bottle of the Three-Point Vodka, a couple of branded shot glasses and — a bonus — chocolates from Old Coal. Delivery is available within Alberta for an extra fee, and there's a Christmas Gin ($34.95 a bottle) that's quite lovely, too.