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Last week you guys did an amazing job letting me know exactly what kind of drinks you order and what you’d like to learn on my boozy survey. Thank you so much for helping me get to know you better.
Since I will be amping up the type of cocktails we make, I want to get you outfitted with all the essentials you need for your at home bar in a series I’m calling Home Bar 101. Having the essentials for an at home bar can make cocktails taste better, take less time to make, and simply easier on you. Think about it like this, you would never go do a DIY project without the right power tools. Same can be said for DIY-ing cocktail drinks. These are just the tools you will need, and I’m keeping them pretty basic. In another post we will discuss practical glasses to have on hand. (i.e. you don’t need a glass for every type of drink) Let’s get into what you need.
THE COCKTAIL MAKING ESSENTIALS
The mixing bowl of your drink. Shakers are personal, and much like coffee mugs. You should go with what feels good in your hand. Especially since you will be flinging it, shaking it, and pretty much man handling it. There are two types of shakes; A Boston Shaker and a Three Piece. A Boston Shaker looks like two glasses sitting on top of each other and is great for making more than one cocktail at a time. A Three Piece is your standard home shaker that comes with a strainer in your top. Better for making one cocktail at a time and tends to fit easier in hand for shaking. There is not wrong buy here, just pick what you are most comfortable with.
Look at your jigger as a measuring cup for your drinks. It measures out your liquids to the perfect degree for even cocktails. I typically like a double sided jigger which means one side is 1 ounce and the other holds 2 ounces. Now you will find ones that are 1.5 ounces and 3 ounces. I prefer the smaller but if you’ll be mixing up cocktails for two, more often than not the larger jigger is not a bad option for you.
My favorite bar tool, the muddler. You guys asked for fresh ingredient cocktails so this guy is going to be a must. A muddler breaks down herbs and fresh fruit in the bottom of your shaker so that you can get those bright flavors and oils from your ingredients. A good muddler will save you time and possible tennis elbow down the road.
No a regular spoon can not be subbed here. A bar spoon lets you reach down far into your shaker for perfect stirring, is a great guide is measuring bitters, and also gets garnishes out of tight jars. If you’re mixing gin martinis you’ll use this guy on the regular.
A must if you go the Boston Shaker route, and personally would say it is regardless of what shaker you get. With fresh fruit being muddled you need to be able to keep those skins from falling into your drink. These strainers help grab those pesky floaters better than your Three Piece thanks to the design of the coil. Optional but highly recommended.
Fresh ingredient cocktail making can be a little needy. It’s not as simple as opening a bottle and pouring. However the extra work is always worth it. Instead of hand squeezing your way through a pitcher of margaritas get yourself a juicer. I personally like the larger juicers so I can do a big batches of juice at once and not have to worry about doing it again later. However the small over the cup juicers work beautifully as well.
That’s the basics of what you need for a home bar. While I do love and recommend pour spouts and bamboo tooth picks that make cocktails pretty and easier. For starting out I find it not top priority and more of secondary must haves. However keep them in mind if you want to start upping your presentation and making pouring less messy.
If you have all of these things you can make just about any cocktail you want with the help of quality ingredients. Hopefully you already have most of these in your bar kit! If you are starting from scratch I recommend buying separate pieces. Much like makeup the products right for you are not always from the same maker. However I know there are some of you who want the easy way out, so down below I’ll leave the barware tool kits that cover most if not everything you need. Now that you know what you need, are you ready for the fun part? Leave me a comment below telling me what your favorite drink is, and maybe I’ll put a spin on it!