We love to share information about all things cocktails – drink recipes, margarita history, tequila food pairings – and more. Now we want to help our fellow tequila lovers like you choose the essential home bar tools so that to be the best home mixologist you can be.
Whether you’re mixing up a happy hour cocktail for co-workers, or hosting a soiree with friends, being confident behind the bar elevates your guests’ experiences. Having a well-stocked bar not only makes you an esteemed bartender, but it can also save you time and money. With this list of the seven essential tools for your home bar, you’ll be more than ready to mix up your favorite drinks at any time!
Shaker: The Foundation Home Bar Tool
We asked our experts, and they agree, a bar shaker is the foundation for home bar tools. The shaker you choose doesn’t have to be expensive; it just needs to fit your budget and style. The shaker is fundamental because the shaking blends the flavors of your cocktail ingredients. The shimmy and shake also give your drink an airiness to lighten and brighten the flavors. During shaking, the ice cools the liquids to create a consistently cold cocktail to serve sans ice.
It doesn’t matter if it’s tin on tin or glass on tin shaker sets, find your preference and start shaking up cocktails!
Hawthorne Strainer: Don’t Strain Yourself
To get that cold cocktail into a glass without ice or other solid form ingredients like citrus, you should (must) have a Hawthorne Bar Strainer and a Julep Strainer. Both strain liquid from the ice or muddled fruits, herbs, or other non-liquid ingredients into your glass. But bartenders use them in different instances.
The Hawthorne Strainer has a flat disc with tabs that keep it in place when pouring out the drink. And that coil holds back anything non-liquid when pouring from the shaker to your glass.
Mixing Glass: Stirred, Not Shaken
Some drinks should be shaken, while others are meant to be stirred. As long as you use the proper bar tool, feel free to shake or stir your cocktail – whichever you prefer. For the stirred variety of cocktails, the home bar tool we recommend is a high-ish quality mixing glass. The mixing glass is typically a heavy-duty glass with a one to two drink capacity. With all of the essential home bar tool options available, we suggest picking a mixing glass that fits your style.
Bar Spoon: Knives Out, Spoons In.
You’ve got the glass. Now you need the spoon. Once again, the options are endless, but a good bar spoon should have a long enough handle to reach the very bottom of the mixing glass. Most of the bar spoons we favor have swizzle stick-like stems and are very light and easy to grip. The best mixologists make stirring art, and with the right spoon (and training and experience), you can mimic the masters.
Muddler and Jigger: Time to Muddle and Jig
Muddled fruits and herbs are a dynamic way to layer flavors in your cocktail. But how do you muddle? Start with the right muddler and your mixing glass. Next, grab your ingredients and begin to muddle. Then, it’s time to add your spirits with a jigger.
A bar jigger is the most necessary of the home bar tools we suggest. It’s a fancy measuring tool that has one side with a one-ounce pour and the other with a half-ounce pour. A jigger is the preferred way to measure (over the classic “counting pour”) because it gives you the exact measurement of spirit to add. Much like baking, mixology needs accuracy in measurements to ensure the balance of ingredients is right.
Julep Strainer: the “Other” Strainer
The Julep Strainer gets its name from the Mint Julep, a drink with layers of muddled mint. We love the muddling in the Silk Road. It fits into the mixing glass and holds back the muddled ingredients, straining liquids in the drinking glass. It’s a timeless home bar tool essential for a home mixologist’s toolbox.
Your Tool Box is Full
You have your home bar tools: the shaker, the Hawthorne Strainer, the mixing glass, the bar spoon, the muddler, the jigger, and, last but not least, the julep strainer. Now it’s time to put your skills to the test! Select one of your favorite cocktails and start practicing with your new bar tools. You’ll be a master at-home bartender before you know it. Follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with the tools of the trade.