Let me just say, you don't need fancy equipment. Although. It helps. Plus, it's fun!
So here are 10 gadgets that will take your at-home bartending skills to the next level.
10. Mixing Glass & Mixing Spoon
A mixing glass is a luxury to some and a necessity to others. You can just use a regular water glass or your shaking tin. But having a mixing glass does actually make it easier to stir and get a consistent dilution. Most bartenders prefer a glass version, although the stainless steel versions retain the cold better.
9. Fine Mesh Strainer
A fine mesh strainer is an essential in my home bar. It's one of my favorite little gadgets. You're going to love it too. It will ensure that no herbs make their way into your cocktail. The fine mesh strainer will also keep ice shards out of your cocktails which don't look that great and will dilute your drink more than you want it to. Look at the ice that I stopped from going into this cocktail in the photo above.
8. 18-28 Tin on Tin Boston Cocktail Shaker
Have you been using a cobbler shaker that hasn't opened since last Christmas? It might be time for you to move to the 18-28 shaker set. They are two tin cups, one is 18 oz and one is 28 oz. This style of shaker is the one most bartenders prefer. It will allow you to make doubles, one for you and a guest. It also doesn't get stuck like your cobbler shaker. It's a win-win-win. Just make sure you also pick up a Hawthorne Strainer, as these shaker sets don't come with one. Also remember, not all shakers are created equal. You want a weighted bottom and a set that has been designed together to ensure a proper seal.
7. Coupe Glasses
There is no sexier way to present a cocktail than in a coupe glass. Although...a Nick and Nora glass is a close second. For cocktails served up, a coupe glass will take your home bar to the next level. No more drinking cocktails without ice in a plastic cup. 2020 has been rough, you deserve to drink a cocktail in the classiest way possible! I reccommend getting a 7 oz and a 5 oz set.
6. A 5 Quart Cooler - For ice!
Clear ice is literally the greatest thing on the planet. If you've ever been to a fancy cocktail bar and been mesmorized by their ice that seems to be so clear that it's not even there? Well, now you can have that at home too! It's actually incredibly easy.
Step 1: Take lid off and fill it up with hot water
Step 2: Let it rest on the counter to cool down to room temperature
Step 3: Put in a freezer for 24 hours.
Step 4: Take it out of the freezer and drain the remaining water.
Step 5: Cut into sexy cubes!
Your cocktails will never be the same again! I already did a giant blog post on the importance of ice. So I'll spare you the essay again. But just know, clear ice will change your life. Yeah. I know that's dramatic. But sometimes the truth is dramatic!
5. A Collection of Bitters
Bitters can take a cocktail that isn't quite balanced to new heights. It can add complexity to almost all cocktails. Bitters can bring out flavours or help bind many flavours together. They are an integral part of cocktail creation. Bitters aren't just used in Old-Fashioned's anymore and there are a lot more varieties than Angostura now. Although...definitely make that part of your collection too. I recommend getting a starter variety pack after you've stocked these essential four: Angostura Aromatic Bitters, Peychaud's Aromatic Bitters, Regan's Orange Bitters No. 6, Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters.
4. Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks & Straws
Not only are these more environmentally friendly, they're also going to save you money down the road. Plus, and arguably the most important - these two items make your cocktail presentation next-level. Let's not kid ourselves, the way a cocktail looks accounts for 25% of the taste...according to me.
3. Japenese Jigger that covers 2 oz to 1/4 oz
EVeryone should be measuring their booze. Accuracy is everything when it comes to a balanced cocktail. If there is one thing I wish everyone would start doing at home - is measuring their booze. The reason I reccommend a Japanese style jigger is that the tall thin vessel has a much smaller room for error than a wide opening jigger. Because if you accidently slightly under pour, it will be more like a .05 margin of error vs a .2 margin of error. Like I said...accuracy and detail are paramount. Make sure you have the ability to measure 1/4 oz if you buy a different jigger.
2. Citrus Juice Presser
I know I said that if I could just get everyone to do one thing it would be to measure their booze. I lied. It's actually a tie. I just want everyone to experience the joy of fresh citrus in their cocktails! It makes an insane difference on taste and it's way too easy to do to not do it. Just get one of these bad boys and pressing your own juice will be simpler than ever! More importantly, you'll never go back to lemon concentrate ever again.
There are so many juicers out there, and they all do the trick. But this one can fit small oranges too.
1. One Expensive Bottle of Your Favorite Liquor
Well first off. You deserve it. But secondly. It's nice to be able to go to your liquor shelf after a great accomplishment (like surviving another week in 2020) to pour yourself a nice glass of *insert your favorite liquor here*. Ya know, whatever floats your boat. Maybe thats Don Julio 1942 Anejo Tequila? For me? I always have a nice bottle of whiskey on hand, generally a bourbon or rye. Currently? Its High West Midwinter Night's Dram Act 8 Scene 4! And I'm. Loving. It.
You deserve it too! But I'm also crazy curious. What IS that bottle for you?