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The Home Bar Toolkit

TAB_HomeBarTool

Bartending is like pretty much everything else in life. You get better results when you use the right tools. Here’s the rundown on gadgetry for the well-equipped home bar:

Must-haves:

  • Jigger: A jigger lets you measure cocktail ingredients accurately for a consistently balanced taste. Most jiggers (or measuring glasses) have a half ounce measure on one side and a two ounce measure on the other.
  • Shaker: The Boston shaker (with pint glass) is the shaker of choice for professional bartenders. A standard cocktail shaker works just as well for your home bar. Plus it looks cool.
  • Hawthorne Strainer: You usually use a Hawthorne strainer with a Boston shaker. It keeps ice in the shaker while allowing fruit pulp to pass through.
  • Cutting Board and Knife: You’ll want to prepare your garnishes and have them set to go before the party. But a cutting board and knife come in handy if you start to run out.
  • Bar Spoon: Have one ready for layering, stirring, and pulling cherries and olives from jars.
  • Muddler: Use it for mashing fruit or mint leaves into the bottom of a glass.
  • Corkscrew: If you serve a lot of wine, a winged corkscrew makes it easy to get those bottles open.
  • Ice Bucket: No matter how small the party, you’ll need LOTS of ice. A good ice bucket keeps ice from melting. And it’s indispensible if you’re bartending outside.

Nice-to-haves:

  • Blender: Make sure it can crush ice!
  • Bottle Stoppers: Especially useful for maintaining the bouquet in wine
  • Julep Strainer: This smaller strainer is ideal for straining into narrow glasses.

GLASSWARE

Bartender’s Tip: Try chilling your glassware in the freezer, or by filling with ice cubes, before use. Always hold glassware by the base or stem to avoid leaving finger marks.

Must-haves:

  • Martini, or Cocktail Glass: Martini glasses have a chic, slender stem that lets guests hold their glasses in an elegant movie-star manner, without warming the drink.
  • Old Fashioned Glass or Rocks Glass: Short and sturdy with a heavy base, it’s the quintessential tumbler for whiskey and drinks served on ice.
  • Highball, or Collins Glass: Taller than a rocks glass, the highball is used for drinks with larger amounts of mixer, such as a Scotch and Soda.
  • Wine Glass: The long stem on a wine glass keeps chilled wines from getting warm, and the bowl shape of the glass concentrates the wine’s flavors or “bouquet.” Red wine glasses typically have a larger bowl than white wine glasses.

Nice-to-haves:

  • Champagne Flute: The narrow shape helps keep the carbonation in your bubbly.
  • Snifter: Usually used for serving brandy, the bulbous shape concentrates the aroma.
  • Pint Glass: A classic for beer that’s also useful for serving low-alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks. A must-have if you’re using a Boston shaker.
  • Shot Glass: A thick-walled glass for serving shots or spirits.

 

 

 

Remember, any cocktail is best enjoyed in moderation, and only by those of legal drinking age.