The 10 Best Gifts for 21-Year-Olds to Buy in 2018

From whiskey stones to Kraken Rum, home brewing kits and more

Friends toasting each other with wine
Chris Cross / Getty Images

While the obvious gift for a 21-year-old might just be a bottle of booze, you can get a bit more creative with this. Perhaps it's time for a flask, new wine glasses or even a beer making kit. Whatever their taste (or soon to be taste) here are great ideas to go past the bottle of alcohol (though we've included one just in case) to make you the best gift giver yet. And for those who don't imbide? We've got suggestions for them as well. Cheers!

  • 01 of 10

    A small, hip flask in plaid or a retro camera design makes a great gift for a 20something - so does a good quality cocktail shaker. You can spend as less as $6 for one or go up depending on how much you want to spend. This one comes with a funnel for easy filling and the top holds three small cups for when they want to share. 

  • 02 of 10

    While drinking beer is fun, making your own special brew is even more exciting. This set let's them brew up 32 pints of their own special home brew with different kits specializing in brews like IPAs, Oktoberfest and more. Besides being delicious, it might become a new hobby for the receipent. 

  • 03 of 10

    It's time for them to ditch the backpack they've had since high school and get a more sophisticated duffle they can tote on weekend jaunts or the gym. The ever popular Herschel Supply Co. suits both female and males and comes in 34 colors and patterns so you're sure to find something to suit them. 

  • 04 of 10

    Chances are your new 21-year-old has an oddball collection of glassware. Give them an upgrade with this four-pack of the gold standard of wine glasses. Not a wine fan? Try beer steins or highball glasses for their favorite drink of choice. 

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    That new 21-year-old's more adult tastes probably include non-alcoholic beverages too. As long as his post-college job description does not include the word "barista," he'd probably love an espresso machine of his very own. This compact system brews espresso, lattes and cappuccinos which will cut down on their growing Starbucks spending. 

  • 06 of 10
    The artisanal cocktail and celebrity mixologist trends have fueled an intense interest in recreating amazing libations at home. So why not get that newly legal tippler a bottle of something very nice - single cask rum, a gin rich with botanicals or an imported Caribbean rum with a fabulous label.
  • 07 of 10
    If your favorite 20-something is fascinated by artisanal cocktails and passionate about "Top Chef," then this cocktail-centric molecular gastronomy kit may be just the thing. It's a DIY kit with all the strange food additives needed to turn a martini into a layered, bite-able affair, for example, or top that tequila with lime foam. Weird and awesome at the same time.
  • 08 of 10
    These small whiskey "rocks" are incredibly trendy right now. They're exactly what they look like, small soapstone cubes that you chill in the freezer for four hours, then drop (gently) into your libation to chill it without diluting it. Pair these with a bottle of Scotch or rye, a book on the topic, or a visit - or the promise of a visit - to a whiskey lounge.
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  • 09 of 10

    These hilarious, but practical books would make a great, relatively inexpensive gift for any brand new 21-year-old. Duane Swierczynski's "The Perfect Drink for Every Occasion: 151 Cocktails That Will Freshen Your Breath, Impress a Hot Date, Cure a Hangover and More" is both funny and chock-full of cocktail recipes for everything from a Pisco Punch to a Buffalo Sweat (don't ask). And Milton Crawford's "The Hungover Cookbook" (which is spelled "The Hungoevr...MORE Coobkook" on the bright yellow cover) ranks hangovers on a P.G. Wodehouse scale, i.e., hilariously, then offers all sorts of breakfast recipes. They're a nicely matched pair! And the hungover tome is especially perfect for English majors.

  • 10 of 10
    Turning 21 doesn't just confer legal permission to guzzle booze, it also opens the door to new, aesthetic delights. Help your new 21-year-old learn to appreciate Chardonnays and Zinfandels with a gift certificate for a wine appreciation course at a community college or wine boutique. Or, opt for a food-and-wine pairing class at a local gourmet store. Cost: $50-$200.
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