compulsive shopping

I Can’t Stop Buying Cocktail Picks

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist

Cocktail picks are the perfect bar accoutrements: They come in all kinds of shapes and colors and add a little pizazz to any drink you’re making at home. They’re also excellent for utensil-free entertaining: When I set out a cheese board or bowl of cut fruit, a little accompanying cup of picks feels more sophisticated and less wasteful because guests tend to hang on to a designated skewer rather than cycle through a whole pile of wooden ones.

Plus they’re just fun — I love looking over at my bar cart and seeing swim-capped divers, spooky owls, and multicolored gems. In fact, collecting them has become a hobby — I’ve taken to poking around shops wherever I’m traveling, like when I found a stall in Thailand this summer that sold mother-of-pearl picks carved to look like elephants. But they’re also widely available on Etsy and eBay and at home-supply stores like Williams Sonoma. Here are some of the best cocktail picks I own and others I’ve got my eye on.

As seen in Punch’s ultimate bar accessories guide (which features recommendations from Strategist writers), these stainless-steel picks are simple enough to not compete with layered garnishes.

For another minimalist option, I love these needlelike picks — the same ones that Paula November, the events vice president of Reed Exhibitions and Bar Convent Brooklyn, recommends in our comprehensive guide to bar tools and accessories.

Katipai Richardson-Wilson, owner of Gowanus bar Dirty Precious, “uses these stylish snake cocktail picks if I’m showing off.” The black-enamel-and-gold swizzlers are “guaranteed to kick even the most delicious cocktail up a notch,” she says.

I couldn’t resist these kitschy (and borderline spooky) owl picks, especially since they come in an owl-shaped holder. They’ve become a guest favorite whenever I put them out near Halloween.

I’ve given these as presents on multiple occasions — for a work friend who’d gotten a promotion and as a housewarming gift to a new neighbor. The divers’ different-colored caps are an easy way to tell whose drink is whose, and they look great balanced on top of a coupe glass.

These gold-and-marble cocktail picks would be particularly elegant stabbed through an orange peel in a classic Manhattan.

It doesn’t get more whimsical — or meta — than olive-shaped cocktail picks.

Joanna Buchanan might be the queen of luxury cocktail picks — seriously, just peruse her website — and these flashy cut-gem picks have been in and out of my shopping cart for months now. They remind me of costume jewelry and Jolly Ranchers (in a good way).

Shaped like the ends of feather-tipped arrows, these would lend some decorative flair to a martini or rocks glass.

Some more home bar essentials we've written about

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I Can’t Stop Buying Cocktail Picks