We’ve put together this guide detailing every bartending tool you’ll need to get your home bar started and where you can buy them online.
7 Tools to Get Started Bartending at Home
Do you want to start making cocktails at home, but aren’t sure what tools you need? I understand the feeling. I’ve gone through quite a few shakers and strainers until I found the bartending tools that work best for me. So I put together this guide of the 7 essential tools you’ll need to start making cocktails at home along with links to where you can buy them on Amazon.
Which bartending tools do I need as a bartender?
If you want to start making your favorite cocktails or create new craft cocktails of your own then these are the instruments that you’ll need.
This tool is ubiquitous in the bar and therefore is the first tool on this list. A shaker is used to mix, chill, and aerate the different ingredients a recipe calls for. There are 3 different types of cocktail shakers but we recommend the “Boston” cocktail shaker. This is the standard for any bartender.
I personally recommend cocktail shakers where both vessels are tin, vs tin and glass. The latter is prone to breaking the glass, which can be quite dangerous. This is the shaker we use from Top Shelf Bar Supply.
Like shakers, there is more than one type of strainer used by bartenders. The first, and the most common, is called the Hawthorne strainer. This is positioned on top of the shaker after the drink is mixed. The strainer ensures that only the liquid is served and prevents the ice and other ingredients from getting into the drink.
The second type is the Julep strainer. This one is shaped like a spoon but even more concave. This utensil is normally used with a mixing glass to stop the ice that was used to stir the drink. Usually you can just use the Hawthorne strainer as it works just as well.
I recently bought this 3-piece strainer set from Top Shelf Bar Supply, which is perfect because it includes the Hawthorn, the Julep, and a Fine strainer. The latter option allows you to further ensure nothing but the liquid winds up in the drink.
Want to look like a total badass making drinks? And also make them properly? Then you’ll need a mixing glass. This tool allows you to mix a drink by stirring the ingredients instead of shaking them. Why? Usually if the ingredients all consist of alcohol (meaning no citrus or simple syrup) then you stir them in a mixing glass.
And if you need to use a mixing glass then you’ll need a bar spoon. No, you can’t use a spoon you eat with… The difference between a regular spoon and the long bar spoon is that the latter has a long handle so that it reach the bottom of the mixing glass so you can stir the drink.
Jiggers come in various sizes and combinations of sizes. These little “measuring cups” help with measuring how much of each ingredient to use in the drink. Each cup has two sides where each side has a measure and the other side, normally, is half that measure. That is to say you will find jiggers where one side has to measure 2 oz and the other measures 1 oz.
If you’re gonna be making Cuban cocktails then you can’t go without a muddler. This tool is basically a stick used to “crush” ingredients to extract the juices or their essence. It is a very common cocktail utensil and necessary to make drinks like the Mojito and the Caipirinha.
The best thing I ever did as a home bartender was to listen to the professionals who told me to use fresh ingredients when making drinks (i.e. NO SOUR MIX!). For that you’ll need a citrus juicer so you can juice limes and lemons. Trust me, stay away from the sour mix!
Now that you have the essential tools to start making cocktails, well… Go make some! Good luck. Please email us at [email protected] if you have any questions.
Try These Recipes
Daisy de Santiago
The Daisy de Santiago cocktail is a pre-Prohibition era drink that is essentially a twist on a Daiquirí with the addition of Yellow Chartreuse to give the cocktail subtle herbal notes. Chartreuse is an herbal liqueur made by the Carthusian monks in France from a...
The Havana Special is a classic Cuban cocktail that has taken many forms since its earliest iteration first appeared on the bar menu at La Habana’s famous El Floridita. The drink was likely created by Constante Ribalaigua, who is credited with creating hundreds of...
The Hotel Nacional cocktail is a classic drink recipe named after Cuba’s famous hotel of the same name. The hotel sits atop Taganana Hill in Vedado in La Habana and was known to host all sorts of guests. Everyone from famous celebrities like Mary Pickford, politicians...
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