If you’ve ever been to a high-end cocktail bar, the thought of mastering those drinks at home for you and your guests may seem like a daunting task, to say the least. Any bartender worth their salt will have a myriad of specialized tools for crafting the perfect-tasting (and looking) cocktail, and the skills to use them in a way that borders on entertainment.
But making cocktails at home is not nearly as hard as it seems when you have a selection of the right tools. So with that in mind, here’s a selection of the tools you need to create the perfect foundation for a home cocktail bar.
Jigger: For this we recommend a classic 2-measure stainless steel jigger. Featuring both 1oz and 2oz measures (with a half-ounce and three-quarter ounce fill markers inside), this indefensible tool will ensure that your carefully considered cocktails aren’t rendered undrinkable by an overly ambition free-pour.
Shaker: Another staple of any bar, this can be used for mixing ingredients, infusing flavors, or simply bringing a drink down to the appropriate temperature. Though the classic style is mounted over the rim of a glass to produce a seal, for the inexperienced cocktail artist, a shaker with it’s own lid (and sometimes strainer cap) eases both use and the potential for making quite a mess.
Bar Spoon: Not all spoons are created equal, and the bar spoon is no exception. With a small bowl and a long stem, a bar spoon gets right to the bottom of your ingredients to ensure a proper mix.
Strainer: Simplicity itself, a strainer ensured that no pesky material makes its way into your carefully created drink. Almost all designs are based on a ‘hawthorne strainer’, which consists of a steel ‘lid’ ringed with a loose spring. Able to conform to the inner rim of almost any glass, this strainer allows you to look like a pro as you’re effortlessly pouring a cocktail into a finishing glass with one hand.
Muddler: When it comes to adding various herbs or citrus to a cocktail, just placing them in the glass simply won’t do. The idea behind a muddler is getting those ingredients to release their essential juices and oils, which is where the real flavor is.
Juicer: One thing that’s sure to break the bartending spell you have over your guests is the sound of you firing up an electric juicer. As with almost all things on this list, simplicity reigns, so you’re best bet is to guy a classic glass juicer. They look good, cost little, and allow you to easily get fresh-squeezed juices in a matter of seconds, no electricity required.
Bitters: a building block of many cocktails, every bar should have at least Agnostura and Peychaud’s on hand.
Mixing Glass: this is optional, but a good cut-crystal mixing glass is great for making multiple-servings of a cocktail at once.
Simple Syrup: we’re partial to our own Mule Ginger-Lime syrup, or even infusing your own. They’re easy to make, shelf-stable and delicious.