Everyone knows you need booze, bitters, citrus, and other liquids to make cocktails, but so often I find that people don't think about the tools they need to make cocktails until it comes time to shake one up.
While you can use mason jars and travel mugs to McGuyver a shaken cocktail at home, it's much easier to create cocktail-bar quality drinks at home is you have the right tools. Check out below my recommendations for building your bar tool arsenal to start making incredible cocktails at home:
Strainers are important because they stop any ice chips from leaking from the shaker or mixing glass into your drink. Not only do these pesky pieces of ice make the texture of your favorite cocktails rougher, they also water your drink down much faster. This can be especially frustrating when you've taken the time to make a gorgeous old fashioned for daiquiri only to realize too late that it's half-melted.
While you can get a strainer on the grocery store drink aisle, I prefer one with a tight coil to help catch smaller ice pieces. This one from cocktail kingdom is my favorite both for home and at work behind the bar!
The Shaker Tin
Shaker tins are normally some kind of metal tool in two pieces. This tool is necessary for creating the rich, super refreshing flavor of your favorite citrus forward cocktails such as the daiquiri, lemon drop, sidecar, French 75, and more! I always use a Koriko cocktail shaker tin because the two-sided design allows the top and bottom to seal nicely (avoiding any mishaps of spilling cocktail across the wall!) while also being easy to remove when it's time to pour! I also love that both parts are sold separately so if I only need to replace one end I'm not buying a full set!
Koriko Large Weighted Shaker Tin
Koriko Small Weighted Shaker Tin
The Fine Strainer
The fine strainer is a tool that single-handedly takes your cocktails from amateur to professional! This tool is used to "double strain" where you pass your cocktail through both the Hawthorne strainer and the sieve. This catches any ice pieces that were small enough to slip past the first strainer to ensure your sours have the velvety smooth texture of a cocktail served in a bar. The cone shape also makes straining into smaller glasses such as champagne flutes a breeze!
The Mixing Glass
Mixing glasses are incredibly important when it comes to making spirit-forward drinks—your martinis, sazeracs, old fashioneds, manhattans, etc. I always have at least two of these glasses on the bar at work or during a dinner party because I can build two drinks at one time in this special mixing glass, quickly allowing me to make four drinks at once and get a drink in everyone's hand in half the time! The thick bottom also ensures that the glass remains secure when muddling sugar for an old fashioned or Sazerac, so I never have to worry about accidentally breaking my favorite cocktail glass!
A jigger, in my opinion, is the most important bar tool you could possibly own. Because cocktails can be defined by amounts as small as 1/8th of an ounce, having a tool that can accurately measure ingredients means I get the same delicious cocktail every time with no guesswork!
I hope these recommendations help you start making the beautiful cocktails of your dreams at home!