9 Essential Items For Building Your Own Cocktail Bar At Home
Maybe you can’t toss, and juggle multiple bottles of liquor all at once but does that mean you can’t whip up a quick cocktail at home should you fancy one? Absolutely not! You don’t need to be a chef to fix yourself a quick satisfying meal, and you don’t need to be the best airline pilot to fly an airplane. Okay maybe you do need to be good at the latter, but you know what we’re talking about.
When you want a cocktail, you just want one. To be fair, few things are as good as enjoying a fancy cocktail at home in your most comfortable pair of pajamas. Now if you’re the extrovert, we encourage you to imagine house parties with your own cocktail bar.
If you’re already sold on the idea, and only need guidance on what you’re going to need, let’s just get started. The Whiskypedia presents every essential tool you will need for your very own cocktail bar so that when the mood should strike, all you need is the will to make one, and nothing else.
Let us get started with perhaps the most important bar tool, the jigger. Just in case you’re not planning on having a comprehensive cocktail bar, the jigger is still a sound investment.
If you do not know what a jigger is, or what it is used for, allow us to explain. A jigger is the two-sided measuring beaker used with one purpose, and one purpose only – to measure liquor portions. It is one of the most commonly used cocktail bar tools whether it’s a swanky nightclub you’re going to, or a quaint little hole-in-the-wall watering hole.
Cocktails might be fun, and chill to think of, but to get it right, you need to get the proportion of the ingredients right. You do not want to end up with a cocktail that has too little, or too much Jameson (or Absolut!) Hence, a jigger. They are affordable, essential and make our lives much easier.
Captain Obvious right? What is a cocktail bar, without a cocktail shaker! The cocktail shaker is the Holy Grail for any bartender because that is exactly where all the magic happens.
All the ingredients go in, and what pours out are divine concoctions of goodness. Cocktail shakers are not just one of the most important bar tools, they are critical. Imagine trying to mix a cocktail directly in the glass! Have you considered the possibility of completely disappointing Mr. James Bond? How do you think you’ll serve his classic shaken not stirred dry martini?
Having a cocktail shaker lying around the house is almost as essential as having a bottle of Jameson lying around the house. You never know when you’re going to need, but you’re going to need it for sure.
This has got to be on your list even before we mentioned it. But seriously, if you are even considering skipping on the ice bucket, and even entertaining the idea of going straight from the ice tray to the glass, we are going to have a problem.
Not only is it super messy, it is simply tacky! Using an ice bucket with tongs is cleaner, it’s handy and most of all, it looks cool. Now think of yourself entertaining a guest, or even better, a date and imagine yourself fumbling around trying to get the ice cubes out of the tray.
Get an ice bucket. Please.
Look at them! They’re like those magical wands from the Harry Potter movies, except you’re not a wizard, or a child. But hey – you can prepare those potions, and we all know cocktails are magical.
Bar spoons are important to have if you are planning on building your own modest cocktail bar because sometimes, you’re NOT entertaining James Bond. Get it? Stirred!
Some drinks like the Whisky Highball, and the Manhattan often require stirring, and not shaking. These long, slender spoons are designed especially to make stirring easy for glasses filled with ice and other ingredients. If you’re sure you can just use an ordinary spoon, why not just drink out of a coffee mug and give up entirely right?
Muddlers are very similar to pestles, but have indentations at the bottom to make things easier.
Love the Old Fashioned? Mojitos? Juleps? You need a muddler. What’s a muddler?
A muddler is a petite, blunt object used to crush, or muddle ingredients for a cocktail recipe. Sugar cubes, mint leaves, lemon slices – these are all ingredients that are ‘muddled’ using a muddler.
Frankly, it’s easier to use a muddler than to make a hundred and fifty unsuccessful jabs with the bar spoon, and making a mess. There are muddlers available in the market for all budgets. You could get a plastic muddler, a nice wooden muddler, or even one cut out of marble! We recommend a wooden muddler since they are not quite as harsh on the glasses, and don’t leave scratches.
Some cocktail recipes require ingredients to be mixed into the drink, but not presented with them. Strainers are typically used with drinks that are mixed in the cocktail shaker.
Take the Penicillin as an example. The ingredients are added to the shaker with lots of ice, and shaken well. It is then strained into a glass over fresh ice cubes, and then served.
Straining may usually be carried out for cosmetic purposes to control the appearance of the cocktail, but often, it is used to filter out pieces of ingredients such as fruit, or ice cubes that have shrunk. If you think a strainer might not be one of the more important cocktail bar tools, you might be correct. Using an ordinary strainer does the job equally well, but we would recommend investing in one if you get the opportunity.
For the vino maniacs, corkscrews don’t even need to be mentioned because they already have like eight of them in different drawers throughout the kitchen. Some may even resort to using makeshift tools to get their wine bottles open, but corkscrews are a good instrument to include in your cocktail bar tool kit.
Agreed you might not even need them if you’re one of these people that only shoot vodka, sip whisky and chug cocktails. Although if you do enjoy a glass of good wine every now and then, you should consider springing for a decent corkscrew. They even make those with magnets on that you can stick to the refrigerator!
Trust us – You need this. Squeezing lemons by hand is fine when you’re alone, but it is simply nasty to look at for your guest. No one wants someone else’s fingers all over their cocktail ingredients, and the lemons are no exception.
Citrus squeezers are cheap, they are an important bar tool and you will be using them more often than you think because a LOT of cocktail recipes include lemon juice.
We saved the most important bit for the end. If your personal cocktail bar must look like THE cocktail bar, you need to have a few sets of glasses handy. You don’t have to spring for the most expensive crystal stemware, and every type of glass they make. Here is a good list of the kind of glasses you should have in order to avoid drinking a Manhattan out of a Highball glass like some sort of a lunatic.
The Highball, and the Lowball (Old Fashioned Tumbler) are two types of glasses that pretty much all whisky cocktails can be served in. You will also need a quality set of Coupe glasses, Martini glasses, decent Shot glasses, and if you are feeling particularly splurge-y, throw in one of those Pina Colada glasses too.
These are the nine important cocktail bar tools and essentials that you will need to build your own personal cocktail bar at home. Time to polish some of those bartending skills you have been meaning to, and remember – don’t be afraid to mix things up every now and then.