The need for home cocktail kits is here to stay. Amazing cocktails don’t just fall out of the sky.
Behind every fabulous cocktail is some raging genius at work, spending time perfecting recipes and techniques, experimenting with different ratios and consistencies.
If you want to be that exalted rocket surgeon of mixology, you can start by practicing your art at home. With the right tools, you won’t find yourself slowed down and frustrated by the wrong size spoon, inconsistent pours, or sloppy straining (no, you cannot use your colander to strain your mojitos).
Below, we go through everything you need to get started and on your way to mixology heaven.
Table of Contents
The Essentials for a Home Cocktail Kit
Here are the basic tools you need to complete your cocktail set:
You have a couple of options when it comes to a shaker: either a Boston shaker or a cobbler one. The Boston shaker is a bit more advanced and lends itself to flair and speed, and thus tends to be the go-to choice for bartenders. It’s a bit less likely to get stuck than the cobbler shaker, though the cobbler is a wonderful choice for home bars. It’s more traditional and easier to master.
Look no further than the jigger if you’re looking for the secret tool to achieve consistency.
A jigger can come in different sizes and styles, but it allows you to measure your pours and practice timing. This is indispensable when learning how to perfect your cocktails.
The strainer is there to remove ice and other unwanted ingredients from your final pour into the serving glass. You can choose from 3 different styles:
- Julep: this is like a slotted spoon, and it’s perfect if you prefer to use pint glasses for shakers.
- Fine mesh: this strainer removes finer bits of pulp and shaved ice.
- Hawthorne: a Hawthorne strainer is the most common type; it can be used one-handed with no mess.
4. Mixing spoon
Your mixing spoon, or bar spoon, has a long stem with a teaspoon-sized bowl. Your mixing spoon should be able to reach the bottom of even narrow, tall glasses such as sling glasses and usually comes with a foot so you can stand it alone on the counter.
Having a juicer for citrus will save you so much time over the long run that it pays itself off in no time. Juicers can be electric, squeezer, or reamer styles — the one you choose is up to your preference and budget.
A muddler does what its name seems to suggest: it muddles up herbs to release their aromas and flavors. Have a muddler on hand to make drinks like the Old Fashioned, mojito, or strawberry mash.
7. Channel Knife
You’ll spend a lot of time cutting citrus rings, cucumbers, and other types of vegetable garnishes. Your channel knife is what allows you to peel curly rinds to add flair and elegance to your cocktails.
8. Glass Sets
There’s no one-size-fits-all cocktail glass. Each cocktail demands its own glass style and size. You wouldn’t serve a Bloody Mary in a coupe glass, would you? Didn’t think so. Here are some must-haves:
- Martini Glass: the martini glass is there to serve drinks like the Gimlet, Cosmopolitan, Pisco Sour, and of course, the martini.
- Old Fashioned: this glass, also known as a lowball glass, is perfect for serving the Old Fashioned, as well as the Slaber, Amaretto Sour, and Pastinaca.
- Coupe Glass: have this on hand to serve the Bee’s Knees, Boulevardier, and Last Word.
- Rocks Glass: short, wide, and ideal for whiskey on the rocks, Crime of Passion, and Vodka Fizz.
- Collins Glass: with volumes up to 16 oz., this glass is perfect for the Rum & Shrub, Tom Collins, and Cat-eyed.
- Copper Mug: if you’re gonna indulge in any Moscow Mules, you must have a copper mug on hand.
- Sling Glass: use the sling glass to serve colorful cocktails like the Apple Smash, Acapulco Bliss, and Orange Pastry.
The Ultimate Home Cocktail Set
Now that you know the tools you need start shopping. Keep in mind that these tools come from research across a wide range of bartenders and home mixologists.
Your ultimate cocktail kit awaits you.