BUILDING YOUR HOME BAR
You don’t have to be an award-winning mixologist to get serious about your cocktails. But what barware essentials do you actually need? Should you get a Cobbler shaker, a Boston shaker, or a mixing glass with a Hawthorne strainer? What is a bar spoon for? Why is the weight of a shaker tin important? Our bar tool guide walks you through the most important barware for your home bar. After all, the right tools make all the difference.
What size cocktail shaker do I need?
Cocktail shakers, shaker tins, and mixing glasses all come in a range of sizes. If you generally make one or two drinks at a time, smaller shakers or mixing glasses from 12 oz. to 17 oz. will be ideal. If you love to host a crowd for happy hour, invest in larger capacity shakers and mixing glasses, such as a 20 oz. tin, 24 oz. mixing glass, or even a 27 oz. cocktail shaker.
What is a Boston Shaker?
Easier to separate, easier to clean, and beloved by professional bartenders, the Boston Shaker takes a little practice to master but is worth the effort. Choose shaker tins that are weighted at the base for smoother shaking and even distribution, with thin walls for a tight seal.
What is a Cobbler Shaker?
The classic three-part Cobbler shaker is ideal for beginners. With a built-in strainer and a cap that doubles as a jigger, it’s the perfect cocktail shaker for anyone who wants to keep their home bar simple and straightforward.
What is a Mixing Glass?
Mixed cocktails may not have the dramatic appeal of their shaken cousins, but they make up for it with less dilution, enhanced flavor, and subtle elegance. Look for a sturdy crystal mixing glass with a heavy base that keeps the glass stable while you stir.
What is a Shaker Tin?
A stainless steel shaker tin is one of the most versatile bar tools. Combine it with another shaker tin and a Hawthorne strainer to create a Boston shaker, or use it as a mixing glass for strong cocktails that are better stirred than shaken.
What cocktail strainer do I need?
While Cobbler shakers have a built-in strainer, if you’re using a Boston shaker, mixing glass, or shaker tin you’ll need a strainer to filter out any ice, fruit, or herbs.
What is a Hawthorne Strainer?
Whether paired with a mixing glass or Boston shaker, our Hawthorne strainer is a bartender’s dream. The tight coiled spring filters out even tiny particles of ice, herbs, or citrus, while the twin channels allow for split pours. It even fits both large and small glasses.
What is a Julep Strainer?
The Julep strainer is a piece of barware history. The oldest form of cocktail strainer, this simple perforated bar tool helped julep-drinkers keep ice and muddled herbs in the glass while they sipped, and when juleps fell out of favor, bartenders began using the julep cocktail strainer to strain newfangled drinks such as Manhattans and Martinis. Anyone who appreciates vintage cocktail tools will love a julep strainer, and it’s easier to clean than a Hawthorne strainer.
What is a Mesh Strainer?
A mesh strainer is useful for cocktails with finer particles that need to be filtered out of your drink, and for a number of home bar preparations that require straining such as making orgeat, straining infused liquor, or filtering out lemon seeds. It’s also a useful kitchen tool for baking and cooking.
What kind of jigger do I need?
With a wide variety of jiggers and shot glasses available, choosing a style can be overwhelming. If you like vintage barware and vintage aesthetics, select a bell shaped jigger (our Canterbury Jigger), which is inspired by 1930s barware, or look for a vintage stepped jigger style. For a more contemporary look, look to a modern style such as the angular, elegant Japanese-style double jigger.
What is a Double Jigger?
Precision is key when it comes to mixology, and a Japanese-style double-sided jigger is designed to ensure perfect ratios. The elongated style makes for a smooth pour, while the 1 oz. and 2 oz. measures have interior markings at 1.5, 0.75 and 0.5 oz. Other variations on the double jigger include the Canterbury Jigger with its rounded silhouette or a modern double jigger with a sleek, contemporary design.
What is a Stepped Jigger?
This vintage style jigger has a stepped design that makes it easy to gauge quarter measures accurately. Each step represents a half ounce, making this old fashioned jigger both stylish and useful.
What is a Shot Glass?
While useful for tequila shots, a shot glass can be used in place of a jigger in a pinch to measure out your ingredients for a cocktail. However, make sure you pay attention to the capacity—a shot glass can measure anywhere from 1 oz. to 2 oz.
What is a Muddler?
A good sturdy muddler is essential if you enjoy a Mint Julep, Old Fashioned, Caiparinha, or any type of Smash. Choose a classic wooden muddler or opt for a stainless steel design for easy cleaning. Some styles even include teeth at the base for properly smashing tougher fruits, spices, or sugar cubes.
What is a Bar Spoon?
Whether you’re stirring a G&T or creating layered cocktails, a classic twisted bar spoon is the perfect tool. Choose a weighted bar spoon to stir drinks smoothly with less dilution, and a twirled stem to encourage even mixing or to assist with layered shooters and cocktails. Some bar spoons even include a muddler base for a 2-in-1 bar tool.
What are Glacier Rocks?
If you like your drinks cold but hate any dilution, invest in Glacier Rocks or other types of reusable drink chillers. Just stash these natural whiskey stones or stainless steel shapes in the freezer and you’ll be ready to chill your liquor without watering it down.
What is an Ice Pick?
Ice might be the most overlooked component of a cocktail, but the ice can make or break a drink. If you want to explore crafting your own ice, invest in an ice pick so you can chip away at a block of ice to make shaved ice, crushed ice, ice spheres, extra large cubes, and more.
What is an Ice Sphere Mold?
If you like the look and experience of an ice sphere in your whiskey or Old Fashioned but don’t want to carve a sphere every time you make a cocktail, use an ice mold to make a perfectly spherical ice cube without the hassle. Explore other novelty ice cube shapes for an easy way to make a drink even more striking.
What is a Lewis Ice Bag?
For crushed ice, there’s nothing like a Lewis ice bag. The canvas bag absorbs any excess water as you crush your ice, keeping your ice chips crisp and dry longer and ensuring that your drink doesn’t get watered down too quickly.
What is an Ice Mallet?
While you can substitute a number of items to crush ice, there’s nothing like crushed ice made with a wooden mallet. Pair a hardwood mallet with a canvas Lewis bag to make perfectly crisp crushed ice.
What is a Citrus Peeler?
Designed to carve out perfect slivers of citrus peel for garnishes, a citrus peeler is a versatile addition to your collection of garnishing tools. Look for broad blades for wide garnishes, or delicate channel knives if you prefer a dainty look.
What is a Citrus Press?
Fresh citrus juice is an essential for quality craft cocktails. A citrus press is the ideal tool for juicing limes, lemons, oranges, or grapefruit, and makes fresh squeezed juice a breeze.
What are Cocktail Picks?
Perfect for skewering fruit garnishes for tropical tiki cocktails or stuffed olives in a dirty martini, cocktail picks take your drink to the next level.
What are Cocktail Straws?
Metal cocktail straws are ideal for blended cocktails, tiki drinks, Mojitos, Mint Juleps, and any cocktail with muddled ingredients. Unlike plastic straws, metal straws are reusable and ensure that every sip you take is cold and refreshing. Use long metal straws for tall, frosty cocktails, and seek out short metal cocktail straws for Old Fashioneds, whiskey sodas, or Margaritas on the rocks.