While there are dozens of bar tools available from liquor stores to housewares, there are really only 7 tools that you need to get your home bar started (other than liquor and ice). Here’s what I recommend.
- Measuring cup. Measuring your liquids for cocktails is essential for making balanced drinks. While I have jiggers and other fancy measuring tools, I use these 4 oz measuring glasses all the time. They’re dishwasher safe and I’ve had them for years.
- Mixing glass. Some cocktails should be shaken and some should be stirred. For stirred drinks, a standard pint glass will be fine, though something with a wider base is better in the long run. A Yarai Mixing Glass is elegant and professional, but they’re also $40. I bought a six-pack of 600ml beakers for $14 that I use to stir my cocktails.
- Strainer. You really can’t stir drinks (see #2 above) without a strainer to pour the finished product through. The best strainers I’ve found are usually the cheapest. I bought this one for about $4.
- Shaker. While most professional bartenders use a Boston Shaker, I’ve found a 3-piece shaker (also called a cobbler) like this one has worked best for me at home. These will run you $10-20.
- Knife. You’ll be cutting lots of citrus to pour into your cocktails, so make sure you have a knife to do it with. I have 5 or 6 Kuhn Rikon paring knives, and I love them.
- Squeezer. I realize that you can just use your hand to squeeze the citrus for your cocktails, but you’ll get way more juice if you use a squeezer like this one.
- Glassware. Using the proper glassware for your cocktail is essential. Save plastic, paper, or other vessels for the frat house. Now that you’re making great cocktails, use the proper glasses.