If your first instincts, when searching for new additions to your home bar, are to judge products by the attractiveness of their bottles, at least Koval’s Dry Gin won’t have misled you. This small batch gin is based off the distillery’s award-winning white whiskey, adding a unique blend of woodland botanicals, including rose hip, juniper, coriander, and more through the entirely in-house process. The resulting 47% gin makes for a drink that’s complex enough to be enjoyable both straight or as part of a cocktail, and one that’s worthy of its gold foil embossed, laser-cut label.
Read more at Koval Distillery – $35
Every flask you purchase should be your last. Easier said than done, of course, but Slightly Alabama’s River Flask has a genuine shot of garnering that coveted spot in our chest or trouser pocket for eternity. With a holding capacity of 7 ounces, this flask can carry just enough hard stuff to take the edge off of a dry wedding or — in moderation — warm you and a couple of buddies on the slopes. It’s also wrapped in a handsome Horween leather case in one of five colors (Terra Cotta shown) that’s finished with edge burnishing, painting, and hand waxing.
Find it at Slightly Alabama – $75
More discreet than carrying a 6 pack by the box’s handle, Mountainsmith Cooler Tube provides a simple way to carry six cold ones in what appears to be a yoga mat case, complete with an adjustable shoulder sling. Its foam insulated walls keeps its contents nice and cold while a seam-sealed PEVA lining keeps can sweat (i.e. condensation) off your back.
Learn more at Mountainsmith – $25 [via]
Expand your horizons and learn to truly appreciate the complexity of Japan’s rice-brewed beverage with Sake Confidential: A Beyond-the-Basics Guide to Understanding, Tasting, Selection, and Enjoyment. This 184 page handbook, penned by John Gauntner, the “Sake Guy” and the only non-Japanese certified Master of Sake Tasting, details the inner workings of the sake industry, the brewer’s art, and practical advice useful for selecting and enjoying a bottle for yourself. It’s also indexed with suggested brands, label photos, and packed with interesting anecdotes detailing the drink’s surrounding culture.
Grab a copy at Amazon – $10
If you’re still using that tacky foam koozie you picked up at a souvenir shop, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Yeti’s Rambler Colster steps it up with a double-walled vacuum insulated build that keeps your drink inside as cold as it started for hours, letting you enjoy every sip should you decide to take it slow. Its insulation also guarantees to keep its exterior sweat-free, and a Thermolock screw-on gasket locks your can inside all while minimizing contact with ambient air — though it’s also compatible with glass beer bottles.
Arriving in March. Learn more at Yeti – $30 [via]
With a flourishing craft beer scene and the city with the most breweries in the world, it only makes sense that North Drinkware’s first product — the Oregon pint glass — be named after the state. This handmade, custom-blown glass holds a pint of beer and boasts a detailed model of Mt. Hood in its base, made using United States Geological Survey data. Fittingly, they’re made from start to finish in Portland by a local glass blowing studio and optionally include gorgeous laser etched birch coasters with topographic data of the mountain to match.
Hit up Kickstarter to pledge – $35
Whether you’re bringing wine to or from your destination, packing bottles in alongside your clothing is a bad idea, especially considering the manhandling they’ll undoubtedly be submitted to by baggage handlers. Instead, treat your vino with the respect it deserves and carry it in a WineCruzer. Available in sizes accommodating 2 to 24 bottles, each WineCruzer is based around a nigh indestructible hard shell case that’s fitted with a thermally insulating closed cell foam interior to dampen shocks and vibrations, all around water and airtight seals, plus wheels and telescoping handles on most models carrying upwards of 4 bottles. They also come with an unconditional lifetime warranty, so let the baggage handlers do their worst.
Learn more at WineCruzer – $155 to $495 [via]
Sure, you could continue uncorking your champagne the traditional way, but sabrage is both far more interesting and entertaining. And if you’re looking to pick up the technique, invest in a proper tool like Menu’s Champagne Sabre. This unabashedly flamboyant polished stainless steel sabre is devoid of sharp edges, yet still cleanly cuts off the bottle top at the neck with just a bit of practice and a spectacular pop. And no worries about glass shards falling back into your bottle: the positive pressure already present within your bubbly ensures nothing’s getting in after the break.
Find it at Amazon – $150
Enjoying a few cocktails every day after leaving the office can really eat into your salary. Bring the bar home with Somabar, the most affordable consumer robotic bartender to date. Connect Somabar to your home’s WiFi, fill the Soma Pods with 7 of your favorite ingredients — three per side, with a seventh container for bitters, simple syrup, and the like — then scroll through their app’s extensive cocktail list before letting the machine craft your cocktail with dead-on precision. It also makes suggestions based on ingredients at hand, mixes each drink stronger or weaker to suit your taste (and tolerance), and boasts dishwasher safe components to make cleaning a breeze.
Find it on Kickstarter – $400
With breathalyzers now wholly affordable, there’s really no excuse to not be in the know and risk a DUI. Breathometer’s Breeze is sized for a keychain and lets you check your blood alcohol content in seconds — no warm up time required — using nothing but your smartphone. Powered for over a year by a single coin cell battery, just pair it to your Android or iOS phone via Bluetooth, launch the accompanying app, and blow. And on top of quickly deciphering your blood alcohol levels, it can also call you an Uber cab with the push of a button and boasts Back to Zero, a function that estimates at what time you’ll be totally sober.
Hit up Breathometer for more info – $100