15 Essentials to Stock Your Bar Cart Like a Pro
Related: 21 Gifts for Cocktail Enthusiasts
The good thing about the Boston shaker (a two piece operation comprised of a tin and a cup) is that it can double as a mixing glass so you can stir or shake as needed.
Stainless Steel Boston Shaker, $20 at crateandbarrel.com
Whatever you have in your silverware drawer just won’t make a martini as easily as the twisted, long-handled bar spoon will. It will fit into any tall mixing glass and the design makes it easy to pour ingredients down the spoon.
Hiware Stirring Spoon, Set of 3, $10 at amazon.com
Precision, precision, precision. If you’re going to make a good drink it should be measured correctly. It’s best to grab a jigger that measures up to 2 ounces in half-ounce measurements.
OXO Steel Double Jigger, $10 at amazon.com
In a pinch a paring knife will do—the most important thing is that the knife be reasonably short for control when you’re cutting things like fruit or citrus peels. A knife like this Rabbit is an affordable one that can also help you garnish, but if you want to get really fancy, there’s nothing better than the Jackson Cannon knife.
Rabbit Bar Knife, $8 at amazon.com
This one should be self explanatory, but you’ll have to move those drinks from the shaker to the glass somehow.
OXO Steel Cocktail Strainer, $8 at amazon.com
For an old fashioned, a Negroni or anything with ice the lowball rocks shape is a classic. Go with a simple set or splurge on durable glasses from Riedel or Dorset. The reason drinks served up (those without ice) typically come in stemmed glasses is so you don’t warm the cocktail holding it in your hand. Opt for a coupe for those cocktails.
Riedel Spey Double Old-Fashioned Glasses, Set of 2, $23 at williams-sonoma.com
Leopold Coupe Glass, 6oz - 6 Pack, $40 at amazon.com
For your G&Ts and most anything fizzy. Highballs usually hold bright, cold refreshing cocktails.
Italian Highball Glasses, Set of 6, $22 at amazon.com
Since it’s often so basic (as in “not complicated” not as in “pumpkin spice flavored) vodka can get overlooked sometimes. But you can get a great small batch bottle for under 30 bucks that will mix well in any cocktail you please. We’re partial to Hangar 1 and Deep Eddy, but you can find a few more here.
A bottle of whiskey could easily become the single most expensive item on your bar, but a super affordable yet super mixable bottle is a surprising old stand by you might have snuck from parents’ liquor cabinet growing up: Jack Daniels. Don’t believe us? Try one of these cocktails and get back to us. When you’re ready for something pricier, here’s a list for you.
A good martini and Manhattan should be in your cocktail repertoire, and that means you’ll need some vermouth handy—dry will be the most versatile. Dolin is a solid brand to start with.
A Few More Things
Make sure you have some sugar handy for making some simple syrup and some citrus for juices and garnishes.