10 Essential Bar Tools: How to Stock a Home Bar
You know what cocktail you like. And after a long week of the daily grind, you want exactly what you like: the perfect martini with just the right ratio of gin to dry vermouth, no olives. So, why not make what you like? Play bartender and hold the happiest of hours from the comforts of your own home. When you have the booze, the bar, the good company and the high tolerance, all that's left is stocking up with right tools of the bartending trade.
Gone are the hazy college days of plastic red cups. Go for the classier and environmentally friendly method of sipping on your favorite cocktail or beer, and stock your bar shelves with a variety of glasses, including plenty of the following:
- Beer stein/mug
- Cocktail glass
- Collins glass
- Martini glass
- Margarita glass
- Champagne flute
- Highball glass
- Shot glass
A drink that goes down smooth is usually one that is nice and cold. With ice makers in your bar arsenal, you will never be stuck with a warm mojito. Look for an ice cube tray that produces larger cubes, such the Tovolo King Cube Ice Tray. The jumbo-sized ice cubes melt more slowly than standard sized ice cubes, reducing the likelihood of watered down drinks as you sip and enjoy. Don’t forget an ice bucket to keep your ice within reach.
Want your shots ice cold? Skip purchasing shot glasses and freezing water separately, and combine the two necessities with frozen shot glasses. The mold can also house juices or sodas that will freeze into refreshing shot glasses.
3. Cocktail Shaker
In order to mix the ingredients of your cocktail properly, utilize a cocktail shaker. Cocktail shakers are available in two distinct types: the traditional cocktail shaker and the elaborate Boston shaker. The first style is a two-piece product with a metal tumbler and a tight-fitting top. A traditional shaker typically includes a build-in strainer.
Meanwhile, the Boston shaker is more popular among the bartending pros due to its convenience. It also comes with a stainless steel tumbler, but has a measuring glass as well. But, you must purchase a separate strainer if the chosen cocktail shaker set does not offer one.
4. Cocktail Strainer
After mixing ingredients together in the shaker, you need a tool to remove the ice before the drink is poured into its serving glass. This tool is called a cocktail strainer, a sieve that only permits liquid (and maybe a few ice chips) to pass through. You can pick up the Hawthorne strainer, a handy, stabilized disk with prongs and a handle; or a Julep strainer, which requires a particular, angled application to a shaker or glass.
Jiggers ensure careful gauging of ingredients that make up your poison of choice. With a measuring unit of 1.5 fluid ounces, the jigger is perfect in calculating the exact number of shots necessary for that margarita on the rocks – even when you’re starting to get a little buzzed and it’s increasingly difficult to free pour a shot. Some dual-ended jiggers even provide a supplementary double shot measure at 3 fluid ounces.
The muddler crushes various ingredients like herbs, fruits and spices against a serving glass’s bottom before ice, alcohol and mixer(s) are poured in. The mashed product of the pestle-like muddler results in a potent release of flavorful compounds. Popular drinks that require tool include lemon drop, mojito, Caipirinha and Old Fashioned cocktails. The traditional muddler is made of wood, but there are also metal and plastic options.
7. Bar Spoon
Your spoon for eating cereal in the morning should not be the same one used to stir your cocktail. Bar spoons have a long handle that makes stirring a drink easy, even when in the tallest of glasses. They feature stainless steel, and many also have decorative handles with a twisted design. The twisted design enables uniform mixing as the spoon is rotated.
8. Bar Knife And Board
Garnishes make drinks look extra appealing. However, these garnishes can be more than a purely physical addition; they also can complement a drink’s flavor. At your bar, keep a knife and small cutting board solely meant for slicing garnishes like oranges, limes and apples. This way, there is less chance of cross contamination than when the cutting board and knife is shared with poultry and other meats.
9. Bottle Opener
There are occasions that call for hard liquor, and then there are those that call for beer. If you are in the mood for a few brews, easily crack open those bottles with an accessible bottle opener. There are numerous styles, but one like the portable, stainless steel OXO Steel Bottle Opener might work best, thanks to its flip-top-off and punch holes functionality. If you tend to misplace small items and have some wall space to spare, try a wall-mounted version. Save yourself the struggle of finding a bottle opener when craving the hoppy flavor of your favorite IPA.
And of course, there are occasions best suited for wine. Whether the wine is a “Two-Buck Chuck” or a more aged and expensive choice, a corkscrew is needed to remove the bottle’s cork and let the spirits flow freely. The best corkscrews are those that are sturdy and include a grip handle and a hinged lever.
Skip locating a taxi, fighting for the bartender’s attention and paying for overpriced, watered down drinks. Bring the party to your own home with a home bar that boasts of everything you need for that perfect martini.