A home bar setup ought to include more than just your favorite bottles of booze and some decent glassware. Even if you’re only interested in drinking Jameson on the rocks, it’s nice to have the option of making proper cocktails for guests—particularly female guests. With that in mind, we enlisted the master mixologists at New York’s Death & Co. to curate the essential tools for any home bar. David Kaplan, co–author of Death & Co.: Modern Classic Cocktails, says you’ll probably never need more than the eight tools he recommends below.
“There are nice-to-have cocktail tools and vintage/collectible barware, and then there's the stuff you end up using to make drinks, night after night,” Kaplan explains. “With these essentials on hand, a few great bottles on your bar—and our new book on your shelf—you can mix up most any drink.”
“If you want to make a proper cocktail, you need to measure small amounts of liquid accurately and consistently (the days of eyeballing measurements, aka free-pouring, are behind us). We use a range of different jiggers in a host of different sizes, but have found the OXO Steel Double Jigger to be the favorite choice if you want to buy just one. It has clear markings for 11/2 ounce, 1 ounce, 3/4 ounce, 1/3 ounce, 1/4 ounce, and 1/2 ounce measures.” [$20; oxo.com]
Photo Courtesy of Pottery Barn
“A simple handheld juice press makes quick work of both lemons and limes. We prefer a solid cast-aluminum one, such as the Mexican Queen Beehive Juicer.” [$20; cocktailkingdom.com]
28-Ounce / 18-Ounce Shaker Set
“Our favorite shaker is comprised of a 28-ounce Koriko shaker tin and an 18-ounce weighted shaker tin. This "tin on tin" combo allows two drinks to be made simultaneously and forms a tight seal that makes a satisfying sssssNACK sound when the seal is broken after shaking.” [$9; amazon.com]
Etched Mixing Glass
“This may not be the most critical tool for the home bartender, but it is one of the prettiest. There are plenty of great options out there for mixing glasses, with prices ranging from $20 to $80. We use different vessels for each project, but we've grown fond of this relatively affordable Yarai beauty.” [$40;12bottlebar.com]
Japanese Bar Spoon
Photo Courtesy of Muddle Me
“The teardrop bar spoon is an elegant workhorse for stirring drinks. Its spiral shaft creates less resistance in the glass, which results in quicker stirring without introducing too much air into the drink (bubbles are good in shaken drinks, but very bad for stirred).”
Photo Courtesy of Drink Stuff
“A critical tool for every bartender, professional or amateur alike. The Hawthorne Strainer is used every time you shake a cocktail, and can be used for stirred cocktails as well. Our friends over at Cocktail Kingdom recently created one that lives up to their rigorous standards.” [$15; cocktailkingdom.com]
“A great tool for straining the pulp from your fresh-squeezed juice, or double-straining (along with a Hawthorne Strainer) any shaken drinks that contain muddled ingredients. There are many on the market, but the Coco Fine Strainer was designed with cocktails in mind, with a cone large enough to hold an entire drink's worth of liquid.“ [$7; amazon.com]
Photos by Death & Co.