Essential tools for your home bar

Alternative title: How to become everybody's new best friend.

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

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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

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Zulay Premium Quality Metal Lemon Lime Squeezer

A powerful squeeze of this aluminum citrus press will get every drip of lime, lemon, or (small) orange into your whiskey sours and lemon drops. $14. Amazon

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Wooden corkscrew

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

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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

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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

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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

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Garnish peeler

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

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Pourer Spouts

A restricted pour will help control your measurements when making cocktails. It’s all about the ratio. Also: splashing whiskey is gauche. $39. Amazon

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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

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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

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Bitters

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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Billy Cadden

Billy CaddenBilly Cadden is the Director of Commerce for the Camden Media tech group. He was part of NYC indie rock band The Postelles, and currently releases solo music under his name. His latest work is available on all streaming platforms. Contact the author here.