There’s never been a better moment to enjoy a drink at home. Because home is the only place where you can drink at this time. However, as the sun sets and the vaccine slots fill up, it’s possible to be sucked into a too dark dive and spill whiskey sodas onto the shoes of strangers breathing down your neck in a matter of minutes. (Does it bother us? (Do we miss it?)
It’s not that a stylish cocktail set up at home is not cool. This is a sign that you are a mature, well-rounded human being. No straining martinis with a pasta strainer. No drinking margaritas out of Red Sox memorabilia cups that date back to 2004 World Series. There’s no alcohol involved, it’s all class. At least, for the first round.
Build a home bar rig that is sturdy and reliable. Learn the difference between a Collins and a coupe. Good ice is essential for any cocktail. Buy the tools that will teach you the skills you need to make home-made Negronis for a lifetime.
Here you will find all the tools, BlackTail bar speed rails, glassware, and cornerstone spirits you need, as well as tips on how to use them. You can get into smoking cloches or Moscow Mule mugs if you wait. Keep it simple for now. You might also want to learn a few classic cocktails. The next drink is within reach.
Paris on the Rocks 9.5 Oz. Set of 6 glasses
Rock glasses are used when you want to mix ingredients in the serving vessel, and as a rule of thumb for drinks that are served over ice cubes or ice balls. You should aim for between 6 and 10 ounces. Doubles are when you drink two cocktails at once. The ice melts quickly and dilutes the drink. If you think you need a double, it means that you have two drinks at once. Cocktails should be enjoyed quickly.
Example drinks: Old Fashioned, Negroni, Margarita
Buswell 12 oz. Collins Glasses (Set Of 6)
The Collins glass is very similar to the Highball, which is slightly wider, and squatter. You only need one. Both are considered expert-level. Drinks that are suitable for Collins or Highball glasses should contain 10-12 ounces of ice.
Example drinks: Gin & Tonic, Tom Collins (get it? Mai Tai
Leopold 6 Oz. Coupe glasses (Set of 6)
The traditional coupe is 6-8 ounces in weight and can be used to serve drinks without ice. After straining the cocktail into a glass, the liquid should settle below the rim. These glasses can be used to replace martini glasses that spill too often and are not worth the cost of purchasing for your home bar.
Example drinks: Daiquiri, Sidecar, Manhattan
A mixing glass
Japanese-Style Mixing glass (750ml.
A minimum of a half-liter mixing cup is acceptable. A good glass should be thick enough to withstand a heavy metal spoon. Make sure the pour spout is on so you can pour the drink into the glass and not onto the floor.
A Bar Spoon
Charles Joly Bar Spoon
Sometimes used to measure syrupy ingredients, e.g. “One bar spoon of pomegranate honey”–its primary purpose is to stir drinks. A standard-sized mixing cup should measure around 12.5 inches. If your sleeves are too short, you’ll be taking an alcohol bath. Too much and you will look like Pee Wee Herman making a cocktail.
Two-Piece Boston Shaker Set
The Boston type is made up of two pieces that look similar to metal pint glasses. These can be used to make all kinds of shaken drinks. The built-in strainer/cap makes it easy to skip the cobbler-type. It’s as good as the Boston shaker except that it looks a little cooler.
Hawthorne Cocktail Strainer
The Hawthorne can be used to separate extraneous ice from cocktail ingredients and remove any ingredient remnants from cocktails as they are being poured from a shaker or mixing glass. It can be used as a lid to cover the rim of each glass.
Japanese-Style Jigger (1 x 2 oz.)
Although Japanese jiggers were not originally Japanese, Western bartenders discovered their Japanese counterparts using them during the 2000s. They fell in love with the two-sided measuring instruments. You can get half the number you would need because they have different capacities. Get a 1-ounce x 2 ounce jigger.
Japanese-Style Jigger (1/2 x 3/4 oz.)
While you’re at the same time, buy a 1/2-ounce by 3/4-ounce Jigger.
A Bartending Kit
10-Piece Bar Tool Kit
You can also get all the tools that you need, and some you don’t, in one package. The cocktail set includes a stand. This is a nice touch, but the individual tools aren’t as well-made.
Ice Mold Freezer Trays (1.25 In.)
The ice trays are the best option unless you plan to use a mallet or an ice pick to cut your own cubes. For ice used in the preparation of cocktails, the standard size is 1.25 inches.
Spherical Ice Molds
Peak Sphere Ice Mold (2 Inches)
The 2-inch ice ball mold is ideal for serving cocktails or straight spirits over ice. These spheres melt faster than 2-inch cubes and are easier to mix. You can never have enough ice, unless you are Canadian. You might one day buy the Wintersmiths Phantom ice maker . It’s like having a Bugatti-sized ice maker.
2-in-1 Citrus Juicer
A juicer is a great way to get fresh lime juice and lemon juice. These juices can be used in many cocktails. Fresh juice is the best; bottled lemon and lime juice doesn’t taste as good. A two-part setup is best for oranges. More crush is better.
A Mesh Strainer
Conical Mesh Strainer
Sometimes you will need to remove certain ingredient debris, such as egg shards or fruit shards that can’t be filtered with an ordinary strainer. Once the ingredients have been poured through the fine mesh strainer, it is placed over the serving glasses. It won’t be used often but it will work when you do.
Unvarnished Wooden Muddler
To unlock the goodness of tasty items, such as sugar cubes or mint leaves, a muddler crushes them. Avoid any varnished or coated items. It will get in your drinks. Poisoning people is a crime that has been condemned in the cocktail industry since at least 1930s.
The best bars in the world don’t use expensive base spirits. They use Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon and Famous Grouse Blended Scotch, Bushmills Irish Whiskey, Plymouth Gin and Bacardi 8 Rum. You can save everyone’s arguing about vodka being a poor substitute for gin. You will serve vodka-loving people, regardless of whether you drink it. So stock it.
These bottles may not suit you. We have reliable guides that will help you choose the best bourbons, single malts, ryes, Irish whiskeys, tequilas, mezcals, rums, and gin. Give ’em a look.
Staple Mixers: Tonic
Q Mixers Tonic water (24 bottles)
We now move on to mixers. These are the ingredients that transform ordinary liquor into great cocktails. Tonic. Good tonic water is essential.
Staple Mixers Club Soda
Fever-Tree Club Soda (24 cans)
Staple Mixers: Bitters
Angostura Aromatic Bitters
You can start with soda and tonic, then move on to bitters and simple syrup depending on what you’re making. Angostura is the most popular bitter in classic cocktails, including the Manhattan as well as the Old Fashioned. However, craft bitters companies produce all sorts of interesting herbal concoctions that can be used to make a cocktail.
Staple Mixer: Simple Syrup
Pure Cane Simple Syrup
Another base ingredient is simple syrup. It’s a 50-50 mix of reduced sugar and water that is heated and then cooled. If you don’t have the skills to boil water, make it. We have just given you the recipe.
Staple Mixers: Pro Level
ReserveBar Vermouth, Liqueurs and More
Next, you will need to purchase a dry vermouth, an Italian Aperitif (such as Campari), and some interesting liqueurs ( Cointreau, Maraschino). The possibilities for ingredient combinations are endless. These categories are beyond what is necessary for a home bar. You won’t be able to stock these categories unless you have a Margarita or Negroni in your mind.
A bar cart
Carter Rolling Bar
You will need somewhere to keep your tools, glasses, and bottles that isn’t in the corner of the dining table. The bar cart is both utilitarian, and elegant. However, you can add more design-influenced character to your selection.
Alex Day, Nick Fauchald and David Kaplan
It’s always a good idea to seek out the advice of experts. These guys are the experts behind Death & Co. Cocktail Codex provides a solid introduction to mixing cocktails, and then shows you how to go beyond the basics. You should also check out Drink What You Want by Jim Meehan, which is a modern classic; The Savoy Cocktail Book of Harry Craddock, which is a true classic), Tiki (by Shannon Mustipher) and The Craft Cocktail Party (by Julie Reiner) for hosting.