The idea of playing bartender at home may seem intimidating. It’s not nearly as simple as opening and enjoying a bottle of wine, after all. But stock up on these essential bar tools and you’ll be on your way to shaking and stirring cocktails like a pro from the comfort of your own kitchen.
OXO Steel Double Jigger
A mini measuring cup designed for cocktail mixology, a jigger ensures that your ingredient measurements are exact. Like baking, a little goes a long way in cocktails and improper measurements can dramatically change a recipe.
A double-sided jigger, like this one from OXO, contains measurement increments ranging from ¼ ounce to 1½ ounce, and the non-slip grip ensures you won’t accidentally drop it while pouring.
LUCKYGOOBO Stainless Steel Cocktail Shaker
Not all cocktails should be shaken, but many classics like daiquiris and margaritas call for it. A cocktail shaker is used to integrate all of the ingredients together and while most professional bartenders use a Boston shaker (two pieces), a three-piece cobbler shaker, which comes with a built-in strainer, is a more user-friendly option for home bartenders.
This leak-proof, all-in-one shaker is dishwasher safe for an easy clean. It’s also made with ultradurable stainless steel, meaning it won’t rust, dent or scratch as you perfect your skills.
MOFADO Crystal Cocktail Mixing Glass
Spirit-forward cocktails that don’t include fruit juice like lemon or lime—think a Martini or an Old Fashioned—should be generally stirred, not shaken.
That’s where this stunning crystal mixing glass comes in handy. It will look great on your bar cart, too.
It’s heavy-duty and seamless, and won’t crack or break like many glasses made with cheaper materials. The weighted bottom prevents this model from tipping over while stirring, while the spout makes for easier pouring.
Zulay Stainless Steel Cocktail Spoon
Unlike your typical kitchen spoon, bar spoons have extra-long handles for leverage, which help to create more momentum with less effort when stirring. The best bar spoon handles are spiral for smooth stirring, like this model from Zulay. It comes in five finishes and at 12-inches long can even stir a full pitcher of a big batch cocktail.
Along with mixing or layering drinks, the Zulay spoon is also handy for crushing ice and scooping olives, pickled onions or other garnishes out of tiny jars.
OXO Steel Cocktail Strainer
Cobbler shakers come with a built-in strainer. But if you opt for a two-piece Boston shaker instead, you’ll need a separate strainer to hold back ice, fruit or other solids while pouring a drink into your glass.
A flat, Hawthorne-style strainer like this OXO model, can adapt to different glass sizes and has a snug spring coil that stops even small solids from sneaking through. An added bonus, this strainer has a comfortable, nonslip finger rest and a raised lip to prevent dripping.
Fletchers’ Mull Muddler
When working with fresh fruit or herbs, a muddler helps to extract juices and oils. It’s also used to gently crush sugar cubes in drinks like a classically prepared Old Fashioned.
The Fletchers’ Mill 11-inch muddler is longer than most, giving it better reach in tall glasses. Its flat base won’t tear up delicate herbs, unlike muddlers with more aggressive teeth. An ergonomic handle means you won’t be working too hard for your beverage and the smooth wood finish makes it less likely to slip in your hand.
Cocktail Kingdom Essential Cocktail Set
If you want quality bar set, the Cocktail Kingdom Essential Cocktail Set will set you up with all of the mixology basics (minus a muddler) for $99. This kit includes a seamless mixing glass, bar spoon, double sided jigger, Boston-style shaker and a Hawthorne strainer. If you want to go a little fancier, you can spend extra money to have it copper or gold plated.
You might also consider some efficient “nice to have” tools like a citrus press, a peeler for garnishes, and different-shaped ice cube trays.