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Toast the Holiday Season in Style with These Winning Gadgets

In the test kitchen, our focus is firmly fixed on developing foolproof recipes for food that doesn’t disappoint. But no celebration is complete without a few good drinks, too. That’s why, this week, we’ve collected all of our top-rated gadgets for making the best beverages ranging from kid-friendly sodas to fancy and flavorful cocktails. Our winning cocktail shaker is leakproof and easy to use, and our favorite ice cube tray is designed to keep your drink cool without watering it down. We’ve also included all manner of wine tools, from a foolproof twist corkscrew to the gadget that preserves open bottles for up to a month and a cleaner that can take care of red wine stains with just a few spritzes.

To get the party started, you’ll want to have a few snacks ready to share, and you can’t go wrong with any of the picks in our book All-Time Best Appetizers. This best-of-the-best collection contains 75 crowd-pleasing recipes ranging from simple dips and spreads to elegant plattered foods such as mini quiches and Spanish tortilla. Our editors have also taken care to include plenty of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free recipes, so no guest will be left out.

Toast the Holiday Season in Style with These Winning Gadgets
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Recommended
Tovolo Stainless Steel 4-in-1 Cocktail Shaker

This squat but surprisingly roomy cobbler shaker was leakproof and easy to use: Simply twist on a strainer and snap on a domed top, which doubles as a 1- and 2-ounce jigger. (The silicone top faded a bit after 10 washes but sealed just fine.) While the thin metal cup got cold during use, its carafe-like shape made it fairly comfortable for testers of all hand sizes to grip. The cup’s wide mouth allowed for effortless filling, muddling, and cleaning; a reamer attachment was a nice frill.

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$8.99
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Highly Recommended
Le Creuset Table Model Corkpull

This continuous-turn corkscrew was astonishingly easy to use, requiring no expertise and removing corks in an average of 12 seconds. Its 4.75-inch worm accommodates corks of any length, and its nonstick coating helped ensure that it pierced even brittle older corks almost as smoothly and neatly as our waiter’s corkscrew. It’s slim and lightweight—nearly as compact as our favorite waiter’s corkscrew—making it easy to handle and store.

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$19.95
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Tovolo King Cube Silicone Ice Cube Tray
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Recommended
Tovolo King Cube Silicone Ice Cube Tray

The six massive 2-inch cubes look impressive, but more important, they keep drinks from tasting watered-down. Just be sure the cube fits the inner diameter of your favorite glassware—or they’ll get stuck halfway down the glass.

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$7.95
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Pulltap’s Classic Evolution Corkscrew by Pulltex
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Recommended
Pulltap’s Classic Evolution Corkscrew by Pulltex

Its curved chrome body was easy to grip, its hinged fulcrum provided great leverage, and its parts were sturdy and opened and closed smoothly without snapping at our fingers. But what made this mid-priced corkscrew a keeper is its Teflon-coated worm, which produced zero friction going into the cork—and stayed put when we were popping it out.

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$39.95
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Air Cork The Wine Preserver
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Recommended
Air Cork The Wine Preserver

Once you get the hang of lowering the food-safe latex balloon into the bottle and inflating it just above the leftover wine’s surface, this budget-friendly device effectively seals off air, preserving wine’s drinkability for at least one month (we are continuing to test). A downside: You can seal only one bottle at a time. Balloons are guaranteed for 80 uses; replacement balloons cost about $4.

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$24.95
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VinniBag
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Highly Recommended
VinniBag

This inflatable carrier blows up and surrounds its bottle with cushioning air. It’s made of thick plastic that closes by rolling over itself like a boating dry bag. It only broke one bottle, on the last of five drops onto hard pavement, and it contained all of the wine after the break. It fits taller and wider bottles, is reusable and washable, and folds up for easy transport.

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$28.00
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Nuance Wine Finer
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Highly Recommended
Nuance Wine Finer

Tasters agreed that this long, tubelike aerator, which resembles a cigarette holder, made the impact on wine. It brought out “fruity flavors” and a “pronounced floral” aroma. The device slides into the neck of the bottle, leaving only a pouring spout, for neat, hands-free aerating.

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$19.95
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Metrokane Rabbit Wine Chilling Carafe
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Highly Recommended
Metrokane Rabbit Wine Chilling Carafe

This glass carafe uses a stainless steel insert that holds ice, chilling wine like an inside-out ice bucket. It kept wine chilled for 1 1/2 hours and required no special handling as we poured wine from the carafe. It was also the only device in the lineup that was able to chill a room-temperature bottle, getting it to 50 degrees in 15 minutes and keeping it there for 30 additional minutes.

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$49.95
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Wine Away Red Wine Stain Remover
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Highly Recommended
Wine Away Red Wine Stain Remover

A few spritzes of this citrus-smelling liquid lightened stains on khakis and dish towels to a pale grayish green that came out completely after one laundry cycle. Ridding shag carpeting of the stain required a dozen spritzes, plus blotting and reapplying, but the extra effort eventually worked.

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$21
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Highly Recommended
Oggi Stainless Steel Wine Cooler with Freezer Inserts

With four removable freezable ice packs buffered by a 1/2-inch-thick zone of air, this wine cooler did a superb job of keeping wine cold, taking a whopping 7 hours to allow the wine’s temperature to rise 10 degrees. And it maintained the wine’s temperature within a single degree for an average of 5 hours. One minor caveat: The inserts must be completely frozen before they can be used, or the cooler won’t be as effective.

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$20.39
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Cuisinart Cordless Wine Opener with Vacuum Sealer
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Highly Recommended
Cuisinart Cordless Wine Opener with Vacuum Sealer

This opener had a slow but steady corkscrew that drilled straight into the cork and removed it without wobbling the bottle or making us struggle to keep it or the bottle in place.

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$39.95
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Cilio Champagne Bottle Sealer
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Highly Recommended
Cilio Champagne Bottle Sealer

This inexpensive sealer attaches with an easy one-handed motion and an affirming click. Wine saved with it was just as fresh as a newly opened bottle for two full days (a full week if left undisturbed) and still drinkable on day three, thanks to its protruding plug and a secure closure that combined to make the best seal. Once on, it was almost flat against the top of the bottle and fit easily in the fridge.

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$7.50
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Recommended
Messermeister Pro-Touch Combination Zester

Our winner has a grippy, good-size handle and excels at zesting citrus of all kinds. And with a sharp channel knife set at a good distance from the handle, it was a real pleasure to use, making the best cuts and consistently producing long, clean-looking ribbons of lemon with very little pith. (Orange ribbons had a tiny bit more pith than we preferred.)

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$8.99
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SodaStream Source Starter Kit
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Highly Recommended
SodaStream Source Starter Kit

This countertop model is both the simplest to use and the sleekest. Applying light pressure to the carbonating block allowed testers to choose between gentle carbonation and intensely effervescent bubbles. CO2 canisters are long lasting and convenient to exchange in dozens of retail stores (including Crate & Barrel, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Sur la Table) for half of the retail price.

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$99.95
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All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.

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