Looking to build up your home bartending kit? Start with these 10 essentials and you'll be well on your way to seriously impressive homemade cocktails.
You don’t have to be a professional to stir up a perfect Martini. With a little bit of practice – and investment in some top-notch home bartending tools – you’ll soon be mixing up some impressive tipples of your own. These 10 starter supplies will have you well on your way…all that’s left is to browse our recipes for some thirst-quenching inspiration.
1. Bar Spoon
As fun as shaking up a cocktail is, many drinks are better served stirred – and for quick mixing, a tablespoon simply won’t do. Instead, a long-handled, twisted bar spoon should be your instrument of choice. We love this copper-plated beauty which, as a bonus, has a flat base that can be used for muddling.
2. Julep Strainer
Speaking of copper: your bar spoon is bound to look lovely alongside this similarly shiny julep strainer. Different from the more widely recognised Hawthorne strainer, julep strainers have been in use since the 19th century, and work perfectly alongside mixing glasses (see below). This model, with its Prohibition-era design, is an essential.
3. Mixing Glass
For stirred drinks, a mixing glass should be your vessel of choice. The classic Japanese-made Yarai model is the pick of bartenders around the world for its durability (and aesthetics).
4. Cocktail Shaker
There are many, many cocktail shakers on the market – but they aren’t all suitable for home bartending. Though the three-part cobbler shaker is popular, it tends to contract when it freezes, making it difficult to take apart. Instead, a two-part metal shaker is our preferred model. This set of weighted Koriko tins is an excellent starting point.
For speedy – but accurate – measuring, a jigger is far more practical than finicky measuring spoons or cups. It’s even more impressive when your jigger has style. This sleek Ginza model, which can be seen in bars around the world, will look simply spiffing on your home bar.
A truffle shaver for home bartending? Indeed. Fact is, one of the most reliable ways to get a perfect strip of citrus peel – no pith included – is with a truffle shaver, like this Truffle Hunter model. You’ll never make a better lemon twist.
7. Bar Trolley
Home bars were once relegated to window ledges or hidden away in kitchen cupboards. No longer. Thanks to the recent revival of the bar trolley, we have our bottles and home bartending tools proudly on display. For a stylish, modern version of the bar trolley, we love this West Elm model. If you’re up for a spot of antique hunting, meanwhile, Etsy and Ebay also host their share of retro finds.
8. Ceramic Knife
Rustproof, pretty, and wickedly sharp – no wonder Japanese-made ceramic knives are considered some of the best in the business. For your fruit slicing and dicing, this Kyocera Utility Knife should get the job done with aplomb. Just watch out for those fingers.
9. Ice Cube Trays
Improving your ice is one of the simplest ways to elevate your at-home cocktails – and that means investing in proper ice trays. When it comes to ice cubes, bigger is better for controlling dilution. Tovolo King Cube Ice Trays produce mammoth-sized blocks, while this ice sphere tray leads to reliably impressive results. Be sure to use distilled water in lieu of tap water for the best-tasting ice.
10. Citrus Juicer
Consider this an unbreakable cocktail rule: always, always opt for freshly squeezed citrus juice in lieu of the bottled (and far less delicious) version. We tend to favour the so-called Mexican elbow style of juicer, which gets the job done quickly and cleanly. This sunny yellow model should serve you well.