Cocktail Equipment

Your Ultimate Home Bar Shopping List Here

The essential equipment you need to stock your home bar.

Making drinks at home can be rewarding and fun especially when you want to impress your friends or a date! But remember a good workman is only as good as his tools so make sure to invest in the right cocktail equipment. 

We are going to go into a bit of depth on how to use bar tools correctly and layout the must-have items so you look and feel the part as a home mixologist. Below you will find our top picks for cocktail equipment and how to use them. 

There are three main methods for making cocktails. Built, Shaken and Stirred. Built cocktails are all made in the vessel the drink is being served in. Usually, you would start with any fruit or herbs, then liquor, ice and finally any sodas. Think Mojitos and the Old Fashioned

Moving on, next we have stirred. The main reason to stir is to chill the drink and also to create dilution. Usually, you would want to stir for up to 40 seconds. 

Lastly, we have shaken. Well everyone has their own shake but as long as you use enough ice and shake with enough force, your cocktail will turn out well. Between 10 – 12 seconds your drink will have reached thermal equilibrium, meaning it’s ready to drink. 

When making cocktails, add all your ingredients first, with the least expensive liquor last, just in case you make a mistake on the way. Then follow up with the ice.

Cocktail Equipment
Shakers & Shaking Cocktails

Like we said above, everyone has their own shake. To get technical, the two variables to concentrate on are the quantity of ice and force. During shaking a cocktail you are creating tiny air bubbles that add texture to a drink through the process of aeration.

Shaking a cocktail with enough force, and with a fluid motion, will help the ice hit the sides of the tin. You want to shake for 10 – 12 seconds which is the point your cocktail will reach thermal equilibrium.

Basically this means it has hit ‘optimum temperature’ and anymore shaking will create unwanted extra dilution. You can see from the chart below from ‘Tales of the Cocktail’ the process of shaking and how the temperature is affected.

The Y-axis (vertical line) shows the temperature and the X-axis (horizontal line) shows the time shaken. The only other way to reach a lower temperature would be to keep your glassware and possibly alcohol in a freezer before serving

shaking process with temperature

Barfly Weighted Cocktail shaker tin set

For a long time, the Boston tin on glass was seen in almost every bar. Although yes durable, they are clumsy and heavy to deal with. We recommend using these tins instead. The metal is better for conducting temperature and you will find they are easier to handle. They are also near indestructible.

Greenhill Bronze Cobbler Shaker

The Cobbler shaker is a great addition to your home bar and you will find it in many metal finishes. This shaker has three parts to it, with the lid having a built-in strainer and a small cap to cover it whilst shaking. Perfect for practising the Japanese hard shake

Mezclar Copper Plated Parisian Cocktail Shaker 500ml

The Parisian Shaker, also known as a French shaker, is somewhere between a Cobbler and a Boston. The shape is similar to the Cobbler shaker, but does not have a built-in strainer.

While the two peice shaker is designed to fit perfectly together, it can be troublesome to pul apart. 

Visually it is impressive and great for batch shaking cocktails. 

Cocktail Equipment
Mixing Vessels & Stirring you Cocktails

Like shaking, with stirring you are trying to chill your cocktail and achieve dilution. Now most shakers can be doubled up to be used as mixing vessels too, but there are also some really stunning mixing glasses out there that will make you bar look super sleek.

When stirring cocktails, like above add all your ingredients first, with the least expensive liquor last. Add as much ice as possible to the mixing vessel, in simple terms the reason is that ‘the less ice the less it melts!’ but to be technical it creates faster chilling and slower dilution. 

Hold your spoon centrally with you forefinger and middle and keep the spoon circling around the inside sides of the vessel. What this should do is keep all the ice spinning in one structure. If it sounds like your ice is churning you are doing it wrong! 

In terms of timing, 30 seconds will give you that sweet spot in temperature and dilution. Although Rich Woods, author of ‘The Cocktail Guy’, states he likes to add a further 10 seconds to his Martini or Manhattan to bring a greater release of aromatics. We couldn’t agree more.

Beaumont Mixing Glass 720ml

A Stylish scientific style mixing glass. Tall and thin this is a great all rounder. 

Speigelau Crystal Mixing Glass, 630ml

Speigelau has a great range called the ‘perfect serve’ with this mixing glass being part of it. Not only does it look great with its crystal cut base but its very durable due to its think shape and heavy base. 

Haokaini Stainless Steel mixing tin

In a bar enviroment, we choose these stainles steel mixing tins. The surfaces are polished and look proffesional in any setting. The advantage of using tins is that metal chills drinks much faster and more consistently than glass. Keep this in the freezer for about a minute before using it for a more precise temperature controlled drink.

Cocktail Equipment
Essential Tools & Other Equipment

A good bartender relies on his tools for precision, efficiency and ease. This is our extensive list of the essential tools every home bartender needs. The next section we will cover strainers but be sure to put this section at the top of your shopping list.

Barfly Leopold Jigger

Jiggers are the double coned measuring tool that are a bartenders essential best friend. Measuring drinks with precision is a key factor in succesful cocktail. Opt for a double coned jigger which are usually 25/50 ml measurements. 

Mezclar Jigger

Not as heavy as the one above, this fancy looking jigger is fantastic to use and keeps measurements on point.

Teardrop Bar Spoon, 39cm

The bar spoon is what you will need to stir ice and mix drinks. The choice is yours and depends on what you are comfortable with. We prefer a longer spoon because we find it easier to stir with the additional weight. 

Victorinox - Paring Knife 10cm (2 Pack)

Use a paring knife to cut any fruit, herbs or vegetables you plan to use for your drinks. This knife by Victorinox is durable and comes in a pack of two for when the first gives up. Just mind your fingers!

Heavy Duty Y-Shaped Swivel Potato Peeler

Perfect for peeling long strips of lemon, orange or lime peel. We like to keep our strips long and rustic looking. This tool does the job nicely.

Fruit Zester Peeling Tool

This tunnel peeler is useful for peeling long thin strips of lemon peel for those Martini’s you plan on whipping up. This zester takes a bit of getting used to, especially if you are left handed like us. 

Razor-Sharp Stainless Steel Zester + Protective Cover

Great for zesting fruit and veg and spices like nutmeg. This one also comes with a protective cover. 

Afufu Citrus Press with Heavy Duty

Also known as the Mexican elbow. Easier and more precise to juice your fruit. Just be careful, we’ve seen juice fly into a bartenders eye on occasion. Painful. 

3 in 1 Bottle Opener,Corkscrew Wine Opener,Waiters Friend

A waiters friend indeed. This is quite a cheap corkscrew but frankly if you look after it well there is no reason it shouldnt last a lifetime. 

Two 50ml Amber Brown Glass Bottles with Dropper Pipettes

These pipettes are used for measuring tiny amounts of liquid consistently. This is great for delicate flavours or any bitters you may have. 

Gold Bulb 78ml Classic Round Perfume Bottle Atomizer, Filling Funnel & Gift Box Included (GF)

Atomisers are great for spraying a thin mist of alcohol as a finisher or spraying the inside of glass as an additional flavour. There a few metal versions but let’s face it, this one looks awesome and we will really add that flair to your cocktail game. 

8 Pcs Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks Circles

Perfect for holding your garnishes in place (no one likes to go fishing for that olive). Choose metal above anything else, they are durable, resuable and you are doing you part to save the planet. 

Large Square Ice Cube Trays - 8 Square Cubes

Ice will make or break a drink. Ideally we would all use ice blocks from the freezer and cut what is needed but that’s not always practical. These silicon molds are easy to pull the ice it and easy to keep clean. When choosing it is better to go for large cubes like this ones so the dilution rate is slower. 

Cocktail Equipment
Cocktail Strainers

There are only 3 types of strainers you will need to get you through cocktail making. We use strainers to hold ice in place or to filter out small particles that are not for the final product. 

Professional Stainless Steel Sprung Julep Cocktail Strainer

This cross between a julep and hawthorn is perfect for the job. You could get away with just having this one. The spring around its edge fits comfortably in different tins and mixing glasses.

Gun Metal Black Premium Julep Strainer

A stylish Julep strainer which was frist created for julep cocktails to hold the crushed ice and mint in place. Now it is used for mixed drinks to keep the ice out of the glass.

Tea strainer4.5cm diameter single Handle 7cm long

Stylish, durable and practical. 

Cocktail Equipment
Advanced Equipment & Looking the Part

Ok now we are getting into the fun stuff. The list below is for the advanced bartender or for those who really want to look the part when they are hosting a cocktail party. You don’t particularly need these items but hell if you going to build a home bar, why not?

Stainless Steel Straws Drinking Straws (2 Straight|2 Bent|1 Brush)

If you are making long cocktails then straws will make it a lot easier to drink. They also look good and these metal straws are resuable. Once again choose metal, save the planet. 

Ice Bucket,Insulated Stainless Steel Double Walled Ice Bucket with Lid,Stainless Steel Ice Tongs -2.8L-Silver

Perfect for when hosting guests. Save yourself the hassle of running back and forth to the freezer and just top up a bucket before hand. Ever heard the term mise en place? 

Isi CB502 Cream Whipper

We love cream whippers. They are a handy tool for adding carbonation to a drink and can be used for rapid infusion cocktails. This Isi is a little bit more expensive than the norm but there are so many built in safety features that it will last a lifetime. 

Industrial Vintage Style Wood Metal 3 Tiers Kitchen Serving Trolley with Wine Rack

Ok you may be thinking, but shouldn’t I have a sexy glass art deco style bar trolley? Yes of course you can but in terms of price and durability, this wins top marks from us. The three tiers are great for holding all your tools, and produce, There is a glass rack on the bottom shelf, A bottle rack to hold four of your liqueurs in place, it has a removable top to act as a tray and to top it all off it has wheels! For the price of £74.95 it’s a steal. 

Apron Waxed Canvas Apron Workshop Tool Apron with Hanging Neck Straps & Adjustable (Wine)

Once again not completely necessary but you will wow your guests and show how professional you really are. It also helps for when you mess up and spill your cocktail everywhere. Save that shirt! 

NUTRiBULLET 600 Series - Nutrient Extractor High Speed Blender - 600W 8 Piece Set - Black

A good blender is worth a bit of investment. For overall performance the nutribullet is a winner. 

Anova Culinary | Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker (750W)

Probably our favourite piece of equipment on this list. This precision sous vide cooker is incredible. Just plug it in, set the temp and time and let it sit in a pot. No heat or gas needed. The Anonva will precisely rotate the water and it can all be controlled from your phone. And the amazing part is that it’s going for under £100. 

Sous Vide Tools 100 x Embossed Food Preserving Sous Vide Vacuum Sealer Pouches Bags (200 mm x 300 mm)

Of course, if you are going to be using the sous vide technique make sure to buy some pouches. 

Vacuum Sealer, ABOX V69 4 in 1 Portable Food Vacuum Sealer Machine

Does exactly what it says on the tin. For the very reasonable price of £30. 

SousVideTools® Hendi 6 Tray Shelf Fruit Dryer Machine Food Preserver Dehydrator

Now this one is fun. If you really want to up your garnish game invest in a dehydrator. You can use this for fruit and veg to make some interesting looking cocktail additions. When cutting your produce, slice thin. 

Cocktail Equipment

What did you think of our list? Did we leave anything out? Now you have your shopping list or you’ve already got some of this stuff on the way you have taken your first step to being a professional home bartender. Next time we will be writing a list on all the glassware you will need for your bar but in the meantime why not check up on some of our articles to start making cocktails!

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