Having a home bar is a delightful way to elevate your entertaining skills and create memorable moments with friends and family. But to craft delicious cocktails and perfect your mixology game, you need the right tools at your disposal.
Whether you're a seasoned bartender or a beginner enthusiast, this article will guide you through the essential bar tools every home bar should have. From cocktail shakers and jiggers for precise measurements to muddlers and strainers for extracting flavors, we'll explore the must-haves that will turn your home into a hub of cocktail creativity.
Get ready to shake, stir, and sip in style with these indispensable bar tools for your home.
Home bar accessories and tools are a collection of essential items specifically designed to enhance the functionality and aesthetic appeal of a home bar setup. These accessories and tools are intended to assist individuals in preparing and serving a wide range of cocktails and beverages with precision, style, and convenience within the comfort of their own homes.
While purchasing an all-inclusive bar tool set may seem convenient, it's important to note that many of them are often of poorer quality or prioritize aesthetics over functionality. To ensure the best value and superior craftsmanship, we recommend to buy individual bar tools instead. No single manufacturer produces high-quality tools in every category.
Home Bars USA prepared a comprehensive guide for home bartenders. You'll find recommendations suitable for every skill level, helping you create a stylish and highly functional home bar. By carefully choosing individual tools, you'll have the opportunity to curate a collection that meets your specific needs and ensures an exceptional bar experience.
A cocktail shaker is an indispensable bar tool in the world of mixology, allowing for the seamless blending of ingredients to create perfectly balanced cocktails. It consists of a main body, typically made of stainless steel or glass, along with a tightly fitting lid and a built-in strainer. With a few shakes, the cocktail shaker chills and dilutes the ingredients while ensuring thorough mixing, resulting in a harmonious fusion of flavors.
There are two popular types of cocktail shakers:
The Boston Style Shakersare a two-piece cocktail shaker, consisting of a glass and a metal tin. A useful and common combination of a Boston style shaker is a 16 oz. mixing glass, and a 28 oz. metal shaker tin.
The Cobbler Shaker has a very simple design. It's a three-piece cocktail shaker, made of shaking tins, integrated strainer and cap. Every part is removable, so once a cocktail has been well shaken, the lid can be taken off to strain it. This type of shaker can be slightly larger, making it convenient to mix a few portions at a time.
❗It doesn't matter what type of a shaker you choose, remember the "gold standard" - shaker tins should have a tight seal and separate easily. And find your ideal size depending on how many guests you plan to have.
If you plan making cocktails, you'll definitely need a mixing glass. It's a versatile bar tool that brings convenience when it comes to the cocktail making. Typically made of glass, it provides a clear view of the mixing process, allowing you to appreciate the beauty of the cocktail as it comes together.
The mixing glass is primarily used for stirred cocktails, where gentle blending without excessive dilution is desired. Its wide and sturdy base provides stability while you effortlessly stir ingredients with a bar spoon. The smooth walls of the mixing glass promote controlled temperature transfer, resulting in a perfectly chilled and well-integrated concoction.
❗Note that some mixing glasses have wider spouts that allow ice and other ingredients to slip through when straining. Also the lightweightmixing glasses can move unsteadily from side to side, spilling the drinks.
A bar spoon is an essential tool for any professional bartender or a cocktail enthusiast. Bar spoons have long skinny handles, often with a twisted design, to reach the bottom of a glass. The length of the spoon allows for easy stirring in tall glasses and mixing vessels, while the twisted handle enables effortless layering and gentle muddling of ingredients.
A bar spoon also has a small bowl or disc at the end, helping to facilitate controlled pouring and layering of liquids. It can be used for the scoop of sliced garnishes such as maraschino cherries or olive flakes in small jars.
❗A tip: Bar spoons made of single continuous metal are usually more resilient and less prone to break than those welded on handles.
Correct measurements are key to quality cocktails, and jigger helps you measure and portion out ingredients properly for well-balanced drinks. This bar tool has an hourglass shape that typically features two different-sized cups, one larger and one smaller. This shape allows accurate measurements of spirits, liqueurs, and other cocktail ingredients.
With metric and imperial measurements marked on its sides, a jigger ensures precision and consistency in recipes, enabling you to replicate your favorite cocktails with ease. Whether you're a professional bartender or a home mixologist, a jigger is an essential tool that guarantees the perfect proportions, leading to the creation of flavorful and well-crafted cocktails every time.
❗Pay attention to the markings on the jiggers. They should be easily visible and have various measurements.
A muddler is a bar tool that brings depth and intensity to cocktails by gently crushing fruits, herbs, and sugar cubes in the bottom of a glass or shaker, extracting their juices, oils, and fragrances. Typically made of wood or stainless steel, a muddler features a sturdy handle and a flat or textured end.
Muddlers are must-have for enhancing the complexity of cocktails like mojitos, mint juleps, and caipirinhas. With a muddler in hand, you can transform ordinary ingredients into vibrant and flavorful concoctions, adding an extra layer of freshness and creativity to your home bar repertoire.
❗This bar tool should have just the right length to muddle ingredients (typically in a 16- or 28-ounce glass or shaker). Also, a good muddler is ergonomically shaped, easy to use, and accommodate different glass widths or ingredients.
The purpose of cocktail strainers is to separate solid particles and ice from the liquid. The most commonly used cocktail strainer is the Hawthorne strainer. It fits snugly over the mouth of a cocktail shaker, allowing the liquid to be poured while trapping ice, fruit, and other solid ingredients. This prevents unwanted debris from diluting the drink or interfering with its texture.
Another type of a strainer is Julep strainer. Generally, julep strainers have the same purpose but they will offer a better fit than Hawthorne strainers if you’re using a mixing glass to make your drinks.
Traditionally, the julep strainer is better designed and used when straining a cocktail from a mixing glass, while the Hawthorne is perfect when straining from a mixing tin.
❗You don’t necessarily need a strainer if you’re using a cobbler shaker, since it’s already got a strainer built into the lid. When choosing a strainer, we recommend to get the one with very short handle with a rubber finger grip. This form makes it much easier to hold and push the coils against the shaker to keep shards of ice from slipping through.
A citrus juicer is a bar tool for any home bar enthusiast seeking to incorporate the flavors of freshly squeezed citrus juice into their cocktails. A citrus juicer can be handheld or electric. This bar tool efficiently extracts the juice from lemons, limes, oranges, and other citrus fruits.
With a citrus juicer, you can effortlessly elevate classic cocktails like margaritas, cosmopolitans, and mojitos, as well as experiment with your own citrus-infused concoctions. If you frequently host parties and need to squeeze a lot of juice, Home Bars USA recommends using an electric citrus juicer instead of a handheld press.
❗It’s far easier and less messy to use than a handheld reamer as it prevents most seeds from falling into your drink. Some citrus juicers are too small to fit an orange or grapefruit.
A fine-mesh strainer is a valuable tool in the realm of cocktail making, ensuring that your drinks are free from unwanted particles or pulp. Fine-mesh strainers have baskets made of finely woven steel mesh and usually sporting handles and resting hooks.
Its tightly woven mesh screen efficiently filters out small solids, such as fruit seeds or pulp, to achieve a silky-smooth texture in your cocktails. It is particularly useful when working with freshly squeezed juices or homemade syrups, removing any impurities while preserving the flavorful essence.
An ice bucket and tongs are essential accessories for a home bar. They are useful to have a ready supply of ice for your cocktails. The ice bucket, often made of stainless steel or insulated materials, keeps the ice cubes chilled and prevents them from melting too quickly.
It serves as a stylish and convenient storage solution, allowing you to have ice readily available for mixing and serving. The accompanying tongs provide a hygienic and efficient way to handle the ice, preventingthe ice from falling and splashing into the drink.
The right glassware not only showcases the visual appeal of your cocktails but also enhances the aroma, flavor, and overall enjoyment of the drink. The serving glass is quite important, and naturally when you start you home bar, you will want to get all types of glasses. But that’s really unnecessary when you’re first starting out. Here is the list of basic glasses to start with:
A highball or collins glass is a tall glass, perfect for refreshing cocktails such as Tom Collins, Bloody Mary, or gin fizz. But the collins glass can also serve as an all-purpose cocktail glass. If you don't plan to get hammered after second drink, we recommend to get a glass about 12 ounces.
Rocks glasses are high demand glasses for spirits served over ice. The perfect size is between 8 and 10 ounces.
A coupe glass is a bell-shaped glass that lends a vintage charm. They're sleek and smaller, and they look a lot classier than a martini glass. The coupe glass should between 6 and 8.5 ounces. They are perfect to serve champagne, cocktails and martinis.
Glasses for shots or sippingare ideal for takingyour favorite spirits neat. We suggest to get 2 ounce size as one ounce is normally too small and requires to be refilled too often.
A bar knife is an essential bar tool for a home bartender. The bar knife allows for precise cutting, slicing, and trimming of garnishes and ingredients. Whether you're creating citrus twists, slicing fruits for garnishes, or cutting herbs, a bar knife provides the precision and control needed to achieve beautiful and professional-looking garnishes. Its compact size and sharpness make it a reliable companion for intricate tasks, allowing you to add the perfect finishing touch to your cocktails.
❗Bar knives often incorporate other features such as a citrus peeler or a forked edge for picking up ingredients.
Whether it's a bottle of beer, soda, or other capped drinks, you'll need a sturdy and reliable bottle opener to remove the cap quickly. Its ergonomic design provides a comfortable grip, allowing for swift and efficient opening without damaging the bottle or spilling its contents.
A bottle opener is a simple yet essential tool that ensures you're always ready to enjoy your favorite beverages and share moments of refreshment with friends and loved ones, making it a must-have accessory for any home bar.
❗Simple and thin designs are more convenient, making it easy to grab and go. Bottle openers with a traditional beer opener on one end and a round shape on the other is good for removing a stuck cork or pour spout.
A wine key, also known as a corkscrew, is versatile device combines a corkscrew, a small knife, and a bottle opener all in one compact tool. Its primary function is to effortlessly remove corks from wine bottles, allowing for the smooth and efficient opening of your favorite vintages.
With a sturdy handle and a reliable worm or spiral, a wine key ensures a secure grip and easy extraction of the cork.
❗We suggest getting one with a serrated blade (to take the foil off of the bottle) and coated coil, because it’ll go into the cork more smoothly.
Bar towels and napkins are also called bar mops. They are typically made of absorbent and durable materials like cotton, and thicker and more plush than kitchen towels. They are used for wiping spills, drying glassware, and keeping surfaces clean. Bar mops are designed to quickly absorb moisture and prevent cross-contamination, ensuring a hygienic environment while bartending.
Napkins, on the other hand, serve a dual purpose as functional and decorative elements. They can be used to neatly present garnishes, protect surfaces from drips, and add a touch of elegance to your cocktail presentations. Together, bar towels and napkins enhance the professional and polished appearance of your home bar setup.
❗You also can use bar towels to polish glasses and other barware. Look for a bar towel with a stripe - it makes easier to identify and reach for the right towel when needed.
Made of rubber or silicone, a bar mat provides a non-slip surface, ensuring stability and safety while mixing and serving drinks. Its textured surface helps to keep glassware in place and prevents spills and accidents.
Additionally, a bar mat serves as a protective barrier, preventing damage to your bar counter from scratches, spills, and condensation. It also provides an organized space for placing bar tools, bottles, and other accessories within easy reach.
❗A tip: Get a bar mat that measures around 3.25" x 14", it'll be enough for most home bars. Also, a durable thick rubber material will withstand longer use.
Cocktail Shaker: A must-have tool for shaking up cocktails, achieving proper dilution and to chill.
Jigger:Essential for precise measurements and ensuring accurate proportions of ingredients in your cocktails.
Mixing Glass: Used for stirring cocktails, especially those that require gentle blending without the need for shaking.
Strainer: An indispensable tool for separating ice, fruit pulp, and other solid ingredients from your cocktails while pouring.
Bar Spoon: Used for stirring, layering, and muddling ingredients, providing control and finesse in cocktail preparation.
With these five essential bar tools, you'll have the foundation needed to mix a wide range of cocktails and elevate your home bartending skills.
Proper maintenance and care of bar tools are crucial for ensuring their longevity and optimal performance. Home Bars USA has prepared some tips that will help you to keep your bar tools in excellent condition.
After each use, thoroughly clean your bar tools with warm water and mild soap. Pay special attention to removing any residue or buildup. Avoid using abrasive cleaners that can damage the surface or affect the flavors of your drinks. We recommend your bar tools to be hand washed in an old fashioned manner.
Always dry your bar tools completely before storing them. Moisture can lead to rust or damage over time. Use a clean towel or allow them to air dry on a drying rack.
Store your bar tools in a dry and well-ventilated area to prevent moisture buildup. Consider using a designated tool holder or organizer to keep them organized and readily accessible.
If your bar tools have metal parts, periodic polishing can help maintain their shine and prevent tarnishing. Use a suitable metal polish and follow the instructions provided.
Regularly inspect your tools for any signs of wear or damage. Replace any worn-out or broken tools promptly to avoid compromising the quality of your drinks.
If your tools have handles made of wood or other materials, periodically apply food-safe oil or conditioner to keep them moisturized and prevent cracking.
By following these maintenance and care practices, you can extend the lifespan of your bar tools and ensure they continue to perform optimally, allowing you to enjoy many memorable cocktail experiences at your home bar.
There are a few different types of stores where you can find bar tools for home. First of all, you can buy everything online or if you prefer to feel tools before you buy them, you will need to go to a physical store.
Specialty Barware Stores. Look for local or online stores that specialize in barware and cocktail accessories. These stores often have a wide selection of high-quality bar tools to choose from.
Kitchenware Stores. Many kitchenware stores carry a range of bar tools alongside their culinary products. They can be a great option for finding basic tools like shakers, jiggers, and strainers.
Online Retailers. Websites such as Amazon, eBay, and other online retailers offer an extensive range of bar tools. You can easily compare prices, read customer reviews, and find a variety of options from different brands.
Restaurant Supply Stores. These stores cater to the needs of hospitality businesses, including bars and restaurants. They often have a comprehensive selection of professional-grade bar tools available for purchase by individuals as well.
Home Goods Stores. Stores specializing in home goods and kitchen supplies may have a limited selection of bar tools. While the options may not be as extensive, you can still find some essential tools for your home bar setup.
Local Bartending Supply Stores. Depending on your location, there may be local stores that specifically cater to bartenders and home bar enthusiasts. These stores can offer specialized tools and knowledgeable staff to assist you in finding the right equipment.
❗Remember to compare prices, read reviews, and consider the quality and functionality of the tools before making a purchase.
Before storing, ensure that all your bar tools are thoroughly cleaned and dried to prevent any moisture buildup that could lead to rust or damage.
Consider using a designated area or drawer specifically for storing your bar tools. This helps keep them organized and easily accessible when you need them.
Invest in tool holders or racks designed specifically for bar tools. These can be wall-mounted or countertop organizers that keep your tools upright and neatly arranged. They also prevent any contact between tools, reducing the risk of scratches or damage.
If you have delicate or fragile bar tools, such as glassware or crystal mixing glasses, consider storing them separately in protective cases or bar cabinets to minimize the risk of breakage.
For bar tools with sharp edges, such as knives or peelers, use protective covers or sheaths to prevent accidental cuts and keep them in good condition.
If space allows, hanging some of your larger bar tools like shakers, strainers, or jiggers can be a practical and visually appealing storage solution. Hooks or pegboards can be used to hang them on the wall or inside cabinets.
Store your bar tools in a cool and dry area away from direct sunlight or sources of heat. Extreme temperatures or exposure to sunlight can affect the quality and durability of certain materials.
By following these storage tips, you'll ensure that your bar tools remain in excellent condition, easily accessible, and ready for use whenever you're in the mood to mix up some delightful cocktails.
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