Stock your home bar with these at-home bar tool set essentials and start making some spectacular cocktails with ease. Informed by my own cocktail experience and the recommendation of many a bartender, this curated bar tool list will help you create craft cocktails from the comfort of your own home.
Table of Contents
You might be wondering, why not just get one of those bartender kit prebuilt sets with a fancy stand or bag? I would encourage you to avoid this arguably easier option because you’ll undoubtedly find the equipment to be subpar or cheap in most cases. There will be tools that you realize you never use, as well as other essential pieces which you use frequently and will want to spring for something of higher quality.
Creating a good craft cocktail involves attention to detail and requires tools that feel good in your hands. If you don’t settle for that cheap flimsy kitchenware and invest in sturdier tools, I guarantee you’ll save yourself from frustration down the road. That said, I’ve included both luxury and budget options for every essential tool listed below.
Copper and Gold Finishes
A lot of these tools come in copper and gold finish options. Whenever I have seen bars using these finishes, I always ask the bartenders how long they last. General consensus is a little under a year in a commercial bar setting, and the finish always starts to rub off almost immediately, especially on shakers and spoons. If you still are going for a specific vibe with these colors, by all means – just be aware of a much more limited life of the outside aesthetics and shop accordingly.
Any bar tool with a copper or gold finish should have stainless steel insides or sections where it is touching cocktail components. This is a food safety concern, as many ingredients are acidic in nature and may contribute to metal leaching.
Basic Bar Tools
The most important feature of a cocktail shaker is one that has a nice seal and doesn’t leak – which will be something that sets apart the excellent and luxury shakers from the budget. A lot of cheaply made shakers will be more prone to leaking after a lot of use.
I originally bought this style jigger, but I would buy the Luxury Jigger next, as I’ve found quite a few times measuring for 1/8 or 1/4 would come in handy versus guessing. If you’re really into vintage or classic cocktails, you might consider a jigger with ml measurements on it. The reason to use these jiggers over a measuring glass or shot glass is the neatness and much less drippage when pouring, plus durability when being thrown around your home bar.
You can strain nearly anything and stay versatile with this style strainer. From your shaker to glasses and mixing containers. As a bonus, the coils are replaceable when they eventually start sucking. Make sure to get the kind with prongs, as they will add ergonomics to your bar technique.
Teardrop Bar Spoon
Use a classic teardrop, or go Japanese Style or Fork End to turn the bar spoon into a multi-use tool for your bar. I use the Cocktail Kingdom Teardrop Bar spoon, linked under Luxury.
Another garnish tool, great for creating wide garnishes. Tee excellent version has replaceable blades.
Intermediate Cocktail Making
Use the culinary torch on citrus peels and other garnishes to help express aromatics.
This is a must-have tool for creating some of the fancier citrus garnishes.
Used for placing garnish or moving ice around, you’ll find these are an invaluable addition when it comes to perfecting the presentation of your cocktail.
Fine Mesh Strainer
The fine mesh strainer is used for double-straining cocktails – usually anything that is shaken with ice and other non-liquid ingredients. This keeps your cocktail free of small bits and pieces and offers a better presentation, as well as fruit seeds from sticking between your teeth.
Most commonly used for adding a touch of liquors that can easily overpower delicate cocktails, such as absinthe, gin, and vermouth. The atomizer allows you to get just the right amount of essence. A little goes a long way.
A good muddler is an essential part of your home bar tool repertoire. A muddler will allow you to experiment with different fruits, herbs, and spices. To extract these flavors instead of simply crushing something to a pulp, you’ll need a nice muddler to do the job right. While these tools don’t need to be wooden, I prefer the look and feel (especially if you will be displaying your tools in an open bar set-up).
Other Tools You May Need:
- Nutmeg grinder
- Ice Bag
- Beehive juicer
- Pouring spout
- Cocktail picks
- Ice tray set
- Bitter bottle
- Mixing glass 550ML
- Shaking tins
- Coupe glasses
June 13 2023: Bar spoons links and info.
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I strive to paint vivid landscapes with my words, bringing the magic of far-off lands and enchanting aromas to life for my readers. Combine passion for exploration and the art of gastronomy in an unending ode to the senses. When I’m not traversing the globe, I find solace in the earth beneath my fingertips, tending to my garden and working on projects around my verdant oasis. MK Library serves as a beacon, guiding fellow travelers and homebodies alike to embrace sustainability, nurturing both our planet and our souls with purpose. Full Bio.