The best gift for your favorite lush is usually some form of booze, but the second best gifts are accessories that make drinking that booze easier (a travel kit for imbibing on planes) or more stylish (cocktail glasses that turn your drink into conceptual art) or even healthier (a smart breathalyzer). Here, eight of 2014’s best-designed products for decanting, mixing, frothing, and celebrating alcohol in its many forms.
The Carry On Cocktail Kit–a collaboration between the Brooklyn design studio W&P Design and online magazine Punch–is a flat, tin box that contains almost everything you need to mix two Old Fashioneds on a plane. There’s a recipe card, a spoon (or “muddler”), two packets of sugar, a linen coaster, and, most importantly, a tiny bottle of artisanal bitters. You’ll still have to order ice and whiskey from your flight attendant—the ice for practical reasons, the whiskey because, per FAA regulations, you cannot consume alcohol that you bring on the plane. The Carry On Cocktail Kit is available now for $24. Order it here.
Breathe into the Breeze, and the device sends your state of inebriation via Bluetooth to your phone. Rounded like a whistle, casually clipping to a set of keys or a pocket, and glowing with cartoon LED bubbles, its industrial design seems to say, “checking your BAC is fun, my—hic—drinking buddy!” Designed by NewDealDesign for the Silicon Valley startup Breathometer, it can be ordered here for $100, or the original Breathometer device for $50.
Don’t know what kind of drink to make? Roll these dice. Each offers options for a different type of ingredient–spirit, sugar, liqueur, citrus, fruit, herb, spice, and bitters. (For example, etched on the liqueur dice are elderflower, sweet vermouth, almond, triple sec, crème de cassis, and prosecco). You then refer to a chart and pick out the kind of drink—fizz, swizzle, etc.—that sounds most palatable. That chart tells you which dice to roll, and the appropriate ratios for mixing ingredients.
Get Mixology Dice here for $24 to $38.
Designed by Pop Chart Lab, the Many Varieties of Whiskey aims to chart the guiding lights of the whiskey world with the Brooklyn-based company’s customary aplomb. It categorizes and distills down each type of whiskey into groups, from scotch to bourbon to single malt to gut-blasting moonshine.The Many Varieties of Whiskey (in both wood and print) are available now at Pop Chart Lab, starting at $23.
A Beijing-based design group called Studio KDSZ is putting a heritage-steeped twist on the double-walled glass cup. Each of the Lil Wai glasses follows a uniform exterior shape, so they feel like a standard tumbler or water beaker, but the curvy inverted interiors are modeled after traditional Chinese pottery shapes, like high-stemmed bowls used for dessert, or voluptuous olive vases. They’re available here for $9 to $32.
Vessyl is like Nike+ Fuelband for what you drink. Designed by Yves Behar’s Fuseproject, it’s an electronic cup that can identify the precise amount of virtually any liquid poured inside, which allows it to monitor hydration, calories consumed, and even protein intake with incredible specificity. Designers told Co.Design its scans are of high enough fidelity to distinguish, not just milk from beer, but Coke from Pepsi Pre-order it here for $99.
As Pop Chart Lab explained in this behind-the-scenes look at their design process, it’s not easy creating a massive chart of 200 cocktails, what’s in them, and what the proportions should be. But the resulting infographic is almost as fun as making and drinking the concoctions it maps out. Click here to buy “Constitutions of Classic Cocktails” for $36.
Norm Architects’ Beer Foamer, designed for Menu, is an elegant, battery-operated, copper-plated mixer that takes a few tablespoons of beer and whips them up into foamy perfection. Buy it here for $50.