Mix It Up: 12 Pieces of Barware You Didn’t Know You Were Missing
It's time to refresh your setup.
You’ve got a shaker, a strainer, and the booze. What else do you need? How about a better shaker, for starters? An ice ball maker that is worthy of that top-shelf Manattan? Or a bar spoon. You’re seriously making cocktails without a bar spoon? When it comes to assembling the best cocktail-making tools, barware is sort of like kitchen knives. You could go the easy route and buy a cocktail-making set that matches and comes in a case — or you could cherry-pick from the best barware because making a killer cocktail is the end game. Here’s what you’ll want.
Do you know what dads like? Swiss Army knives — and all manner of well-engineered tools. This shaker, like other three-part cobbler shakers, has a strainer built-in, but it also includes a jigger too. Not to mention it's basically leakproof, unbreakable, insulated so it won't sweat, and feels really good in the hand.
While juicing citrus by hand can be a pain in the wrist, most home bartenders deal with it because an electric juicer isn't worth the mess. Joseph Joseph approaches adding torque from a new angle: the side. This two-piece ergonomic juicer employs your shoulders and arms to make squeezing lemons and limes easier, and it prevents the rogue juice-in-the-eye blast.
This jigger is really just a mini measuring cup, but it does two things conventional designs can't. First, it measures down to a quarter ounce, which means no more reaching for a tablespoon. Then, unlike those double-sided devils, there’s no need to turn it upside-down and dribble the dregs of the last thing you measured out on your countertop.
If you don't whip up cocktails frequently enough to justify a higher priced shaker, this budget option helps showcase drinks mid-shake. The simple top threads onto a 15-ounce Mason jar and has a strainer built-in. Spend the money you've saved on better-quality booze.
Some nights — even with perfectly clear ice in the freezer and a cabinet full of functional cocktail crafting tools — all you want is something simple, like an old fashioned or maybe a whiskey rocks. This crystal tumbler is engineered for those nights. Sized to hold ice, if you prefer your drinks chilled, the base has a series of groves that help trap ingredients you're muddling.
Curious drinkers are bound to experiment and eventually start Googling 'infused vodka' or 'DIY bitters recipe.' If that's you, then you'll appreciate the bottoms of these bottles. They unscrew, which means you’re not feeding liquids, or flavor agents like rosemary or lime wedges, down narrow necks. It's also perfect when it's time to clean them or infuse other things like olive oil.
Another tool for playing with flavors is a whiskey decanter, and this one also has a detachable compartment at the bottom where you can put the accompanying white oak pellets. It’s a more presentable aesthetic, and doesn’t have to be used only for whiskey — although it doesn’t come with herbs or berries for whatever off-label use you have in mind.
Whenever you’re flavoring liquids with solids — either to make an infusion or a flavored syrup — inevitably you face the challenge of separating it all. Fine-mesh metal strainers can still let particulate through and you can’t squeeze them, and cheesecloth starts to feel wasteful. These bags were designed for brewers, but you can use the 5-8 gallon size (more than spacious enough) to strain whatever concoctions you have planned. They’re easy to wash, and the 250-micron weave will work for most uses.
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