Building your home bar doesn't have to break the budget or fill your home with unnecessary clutter. Steer clear of unnecessary ingredients that linger on the shelf—or gadgets that serve only an occasional purpose—with these proven tips from our expert team.
Even before you start buying liquor, you're going to need a few tools of the trade. (OurShakenandStirredcocktail sets include all of these items, if you're starting from scratch!)
Shaker: We prefer a three-piece cobbler shaker for ease of use and for how great it looks on your home bar.
Muddler: Used to crush ingredients (everything from fruit to fresh herbs) to release and build flavors in cocktails.
Bar Spoon: A bar spoon is a multi-purpose tool that can be used to stir cocktails and measure small amounts of potent cocktail ingredients.
Strainer: To strain stirred cocktails, a julep strainer's larger holes and simple construction make it easy to use and clean.
Jigger: Ideally, you want double-sided stainless steel with 1:2 measurements.
Bar Knife: Our 3-in-1 bar knife is specifically designed for peeling, slicing and spearing cocktail ingredients.
Ice Trays: Most cocktails can be made with one of three types of cocktail ice: 1-inch cubes, 2-3 inch extra-large spheres and crushed ice.
The 10-Bottle Bar
To keep things really simple, you can simply pick a "house cocktail." But you actually can mix up most classic cocktails with just 10 bottles. These high-quality brands are the workhorses on our own bar, requiring only the addition of club soda, tonic or a squeeze of fresh citrus (pictured: bourbon, dark rum, light rum, gin, vodka, tequila, mezcal, Campari, red vermouth, white vermouth).
For citrus, ginger or herbs, you'll still have to run to the store, but keeping sugar cubes, simple syrup, bitters, club soda and tonic on hand will keep you ahead of the game. Better yet, our Craft Cocktail Syrupseliminate the need for fresh ingredients, making it even easier to whip up a weeknight drink.