Stock your home bar with bar tool set essentials to make spectacular cocktails – this list will help you create craft cocktails from the comfort of your own home. Curated based on my own experience and the recommendation of many a bartender.
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 suppose you could, that would be easy. The reason not to is you’ll quickly find the equipment to be subpar or cheap in most cases. You’ll have parts you realize you never use, or other parts you use a lot and will want to spring for something of higher quality.
Creating a good craft cocktail involves a bit of nuance and using tools that feel good in your hands. Don’t settle for that cheap flimsy kitchenware and you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration down the road.
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 uses.
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.
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
From recipes using locally sourced ingredients and terroir-centric cooking, craft cocktails, to the latest in tech and home DIY projects, Michael yearns to share his learned and found knowledge of the world.