Your well equipped bar fits you. My Daily Cocktails uses simple tools. Many of them already live in your kitchen, and almost all are manual – the only electrical tool we recommend is a blender with the power to crush ice. Retail links for some items are at bottom.
Scroll down for photographs of examples. Briefly, you will need:
- Graduated shot glass
- Two-piece (or Boston) cocktail shaker
- Long-handled stirring spoon
- Cocktail strainer
- Utility or paring knife
- Manual juicer / citrus squeezer
- Small cutting board
- Vegetable peeler
- Citrus tool
- Corkscrew / bottle opener
- Small sieve
- Electric blender with power to crush ice
Cocktail Shaker: A metal shaker with a tight-fitting top covering a strainer which fits onto a bar tin. Cocktail shakers are available in many stylish designs and are perfect for use in the home bar.
Mason Shaker: From W&P Designed in Brooklyn, N.Y., comes this repurposed 24-ounce preserve jar fitted with a screw top, strainer and cap. It’s ideal for making multiples of a cocktail recipe.
Boston Shaker: The next three items are a Bar Tin, Mixing Glass, and Hawthorne Strainer. These are the parts of a Boston Shaker, used by most professional bartenders. A strainer is necessary with a Boston shaker because there is not one built in. Because the Mixing Glass is smaller then the Bar Tin, cocktails to be shaken are combined with the ice in the Mixing Glass.
Measuring, muddling + stirring
Jiggers: These are small liquid measuring devices. They are made of glass, metal or plastic. Some have two ends with the larger end typically holding 1 1/2 ounces and the smaller holding 1 ounce.
A muddler, made of either wood, stainless steel, or plastic, is used to mash ingredients in the bottom of a glass. Often used to mix sugars, bitters, and to extract juices and oils from fruit and herbs. Muddling is an essential step in making Old-Fashioneds, Mojitos and Caipirinhas. Choose a muddler with a wide bottom; this requires less pressure to crush ingredients.
Measuring spoons: Many cocktail recipes require ingredients measured in fractions of tablespoons and teaspoons.
Bar spoon: A bar spoon has a small bowl at the end of a long, often spiraled handle, easy for reaching the bottom of tall glasses. This type of spoon is essential for stirring and layering drinks. It’s a great help getting the last maraschino cherries out of narrow jars.
Juicing + straining
Hand Juicer: While many packaged juices, particularly those not from concentrate and without additives, are fine for cocktail making, fresh juice does taste best. The Hand Juicer is for larger citrus fruit: oranges and grapefruit.
Juice Press: Lemons and limes are perhaps the most common fruits used across the spectrum of mixed drinks. This manual Juice Press provides a easier extraction of juice from limes and limes than does the Hand Juicer.
Fine sieve: There are times when smaller pieces of fruit or particles of other mixing ingredients should be strained out of the final cocktail. Straining refines the taste and presentation. Pour slowly when using a fine sieve.
Sharp edges + points
Small cutting board: Hard wood is best, good plastic works.
Paring Knife: A 3-inch long blade with a sharp edge. This works for cutting up small fruit and other ingredients and shaping garnishes.
Utility Knife: Usually no longer than 5 inches, this knife will cover all the rest of the larger cutting and slicing jobs.
Vegetable peeler: This makes an easy job of creating thin peels of fruit and vegetables for garnishes.
Channel knife: Another tool for garnishes. The small recessed blade on this knife can produce beautiful long strands of citrus peel. Finer shreds of peel can be created using the set of smaller, hole-shaped cutters at the top of the tool.
Waiter’s corkscrew: With its recessed blade for cutting foil off wine bottles, the leveraged, two-stop pulling guide with an incorporated bottle opener, is your bar’s most compact tool.
Where to buy bar tools online?
We shop local whenever possible. When you need to order online, here are suggested links:
- Graduated shot glass: Kolder Original Mini Measure, Multi-Purpose Measuring Glass or Anchor Hocking 5-Ounce Measuring Glass, Small
- Two-piece (or Boston) cocktail shaker; several options, including sets or build your own: Schott Zwiesel Basic Bar Selection by Charles Schumann Boston Shaker, 28.7-Ounce, or Stainless Steel Cocktail Shaker (28 oz.), or Libbey Shaker Glass Set, 3-Piece
- Long-handled stirring spoon: 11.6″ Long Handle Stainless Steel Bar Mixing Stirring Spoon or Winco 11-inch Bar Spoon
- Cocktail strainer: Swissmar Stainless Steel Cocktail Strainer
- Utility or paring knife: We use Mercer cutlery in our bar: Mercer Genesis 3.5″ Forged Paring Knife. Other good choices include: Wusthof Classic 3-1/2-Inch Paring Knife, and J.A. Henckels International Classic 4-Inch Stainless-Steel Paring Knife
- Manual juicer / citrus squeezer: We use the Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer for limes, lemons, blood oranges, etc. Other choices include the Norpro Stainless-Steel Citrus Juice Press. For larger fruit, try: Stainless Steel Juicer Strainer, or Tramontina citrus juicer.
- Small cutting boards: We prefer small bamboo boards, such as this 3-piece Bamboo Cutting Board Set, or small bamboo cocktail board. If you prefer non-wood cutting boards, try the Trudeau Bar Cutting Board, or the Architec Gripper Barboard
- Vegetable peeler: Messermeister Swivel Peeler or OXO Swivel Peeler
- Citrus tools, such as: Messermeister Zester/Channel Tool or the Victorinox Channel Knife
- Corkscrew / bottle opener: We use waiter’s corkscrews, such as: Truetap Double Hinged Corkscrew or Pulltap Waiters Corkscrew. For bottle openers, try Heavy-Duty Flat Bottle Opener or go old school with a Wall Mounted Bottle Opener.
- Muddlers: Try the Arctic Chill Stainless Steel Cocktail Muddler or Outset Cocktail Muddler
- Small sieve such as this 3-1/4-Inch Very Fine Mesh Strainer
- Measuring spoons: Cuisipro Stainless Steel Measuring Spoon Set or CIA Measuring Spoon Set
- Electric blender with power to crush ice, such as the Oster Glass Jar 7-Speed Blender or the HB Multi-Function Blender