Yes, it’s true. You don’t need expensive tools to make that cocktail. And, I have to admit, I’ve totally used my finger to stir a Manhattan and then strain it into a glass because everything was in the dishwasher. The quality of the ingredients you put into your drink should matter first (also, a little know how as to what you are doing wouldn’t hurt either). But after that, a handful of solid instruments will help you along that much further. Here’s some of my favorite tools that I have at home and use in my home bar. If you’re looking for liquor/bitters/syrups then head over to the Liquor Shelf.
Again, these guys get the job done and they’re cheap. I prefer these over the Hawthorne Strainer but that is just preference.
I have these guys in multiple sizes from 1/2 ounce to 1 to even a 2 ounce (I make a lot of Manhattans). You can stock up on the 1-1/2 plus 1 ounce size since you’ll be using that a lot for most cocktail recipes.
If you’re stirring and straining out a cocktail, you need one of these guys. Heavy bottomed, tempered glass is best since you want your glass sturdy and not likely to shatter on you. Also, it will fit with the metal half of a Boston Shaker too.
Speaking of a Boston Shaker, you’ll need these for those cocktails you need to shake. If you’re scared of shattering your glass bottom while trying to break the seal after shaking (I’ve done this), just get two metal halves instead.
If you have herbs or fruit going into your cocktails, you’re going to need a muddler. Yes, you could also use the end of a wooden mixing spoon, but you’ll look the fool if you’re doing that in front of people. Trust me.
Cocktail Picks (Basic)
One may notice I use a lot of coupe glasses on here. They’re lovely to look at and hold a nicely proportioned drink. Picking just one is hard, but start with a basic style, in multiples, since you might break a couple.
Double Rocks Glass
Yarai Mixing Glass
One thing I hate is getting liquor all over the side of the bottle. It’s sticky and drips on the counter and makes a mess. Speed pours help cut down on this, and also make for precise pouring into jiggers.
Giant ice spheres are another item you see at bars more now. If chipping your own ice sphere sounds daunting, you can make your own in the freezer with these molds. Downside is that you only make two at a time. Unless you buy more molds.
Tincture and Bitters Bottles
Again, these are great storage bottles for smaller experiments like tinctures and bitters. Also, they look professional when you give away a bottle of that giant batch of bitters you will never get through in a lifetime.