Things that could maybe possibly happen if you’ve got a kickass home bar:
- Your friends like you more.
- You save money by having a swanky time in your own home.
- You feel really cool.
- You get the opportunity to bring up your muddler and mixing spoon in casual conversation.
- Your house feels way posh.
- Your visitors have an excuse to all make the same “shaken, not stirred” “joke.”
So what do you put in a well-stocked home bar? I’m glad you asked.
Stainless steel shaker
Chances are your favorite bar has a classic Boston Shaker. A good shake—as opposed to a swift stir—will more easily achieve maximal ingredient integration. Also, when ice is placed in the shaker, the liquids cool quickly. There’s a reason James Bond insists on this. $20. Amazon
OXO Steel Angled Measuring Jigger
Jiggers are for measuring the proper ratios of liquids like spirits, syrups, and juices. This double jigger holds 1 ounce on one side and 1.5 ounces on the other. There is a soft grip around the middle so it won’t slip when you’re pouring. $9. Amazon
You’ve got to have a way to open bottles of beer and wine. That’s a no-brainer. The stainless steel corkscrew has a comfy wooden grip, round serrated foil cutter, and a double-hinged fulcrum that helps when removing longer corks. $11. Amazon
Whiskey Ice Ball Maker Mold
The Wintersmiths Ice Ball Maker gives you clear, 2.36-inch spheres for your cocktails. Why this shape? Spheres have an optimal surface area to volume ratio. High volume means great cooling power. Low surface area means slower melting. $120. Amazon
Riedel O Whisky Glasses
These crystal Riedel whiskey glasses come in sets of two. While the thin design is classy enough for even the snobbiest of whiskey drinkers, be aware that they are fragile and should be handled with care. They hold roughly 15 ounces of liquid. $29. Amazon
Victorinox 4-Inch Swiss Classic Paring Knif
Grab a paring knife for cutting lemons, limes, or vegetables for cocktails. They are small, making them much easier to handle (and store) than larger chef’s knives. $10. Amazon
This stainless steel garnish peeler will let you add a citrus twist or garnish peel to your Bloody Marys, margaritas, or cucumber-vodka spritzers. The silicone thumb grip will prevent it from slipping in your hand. $6. Amazon
A restricted pour will help control your measurements when making cocktails. It’s all about the ratio. Also: splashing whiskey is gauche. $39. Amazon
Cocktail muddler and mixing spoon
Use a muddler to gently release the juices or oils from ingredients. In a mojito, lime juice, simple syrup, and mint leaves are muddled—or mashed—together, releasing the oils from the mint. A cocktail spoon, as you may know, stirs stuff. $13. Amazon
Stainless steel four-prong bar strainer
If you had to have one way to strain your drinks, start with a Hawthorne Strainer. The circular wire strainer fits in the Boston Shaker and hold back the ice and other larger ingredients so just the chilled liquid will pour into the glass. $4. Amazon
Think of bitters like the cooking spices for your cocktails. These are flavor extracts that accentuate or bring aroma to your drinks. Angostura, Regans, and Peychauds are classics that are used to make Manhattans, Old-Fashioneds—and many other bourbon based drinks—or Sazeracs. $29. Amazon
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