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Everything You Need To Make Cocktails At Home

It’s fun to make cocktails. In exchange for a little effort, you get to learn something new, and you gain a delicious alcoholic drink out of it. If you’ve got no idea where to start, we’ve got you covered with some great ideas on all the tools you need for home cocktail making.

It’s quite easy to spend a crazy amount of money on cocktail making equipment. However, we’ve focused on the essentials. The tools that will make a noticeable difference to your cocktails, even when you’re just starting out. As you progress further, you can consider upgrading a few things, such as buying fancier glasses to pour the drinks into.

For now, here are some suggestions on valuable purchases to make, and the kinds of drinks they’ll enable you to prepare well.

Three-Piece Shaker: OXO SteeL Cocktail Shaker ($30)

The OXO SteeL Cocktail Shaker is perfect for making a classy Gin Martini. The drink will look as timelessly fashionable as the shaker itself. It’s an 18 oz shaker that includes a built-in Jigger cap and strainer. A jigger is a fancy word for a measuring cup. Made of stainless steel, it has a soft non-slip grip that means you won’t inadvertently fling this across the room while you shake. It looks great too.

Boston Shaker: Top Shelf Bar Supply Stainless Steel Boston Shaker: 2-piece Set ($20)

A quick look at the list and newbies may wonder why there are two different cocktail shakers listed. Well, they come in two basic styles—a three-piece shaker like the one in the previous section and a two-piece Boston shaker like this one. Your decision on which one to use is a fairly personal one, although we’d argue that a three-piece shaker is a little easier to get to grips with at first because everything you need (like a Jigger and strainer) is built into it. Whichever you choose, remember to shake it like you mean it. Ideally to a good rhythm.

If you’re keen to use a two-piece Boston Shaker rather than a three-piece shaker, then the Top Shelf Bar Supply Stainless Steel Boston Shaker: 2-piece Set is a solid example of one. Stainless steel and dishwasher safe, it’s suitably durable and offers plenty of space for three cocktails.

The shaker component is best for shaken drinks like Margaritas or Mojitos while the bottom tin is perfect for a Manhattan or Old Fashioned. There’s plenty of flexibility here.

Jigger: OXO SteeL Double Jigger ($9)

In case you didn’t know until today, a Jigger is a type of measuring cup for making cocktails. In the case of the OXO SteeL Double Jigger, it’s a two-sided device with different measurements on either side. One side measures a Jigger which is 1-1/2 ounce capacity with 3/4-ounce and 1/3-ounce increments, while the other measures 1/4-ounce, 1/2-ounce, and 1-ounce increments.

You really need to get your measurements right, both for the sake of your liver and the fact the cocktail will taste better if you get the recipe right. So, this is well worth the purchase. You need a jigger for most cocktails but how about using it for a lime mojito the first time around? Make sure you use just the right amount of lime so it’s not overwhelmingly zingy.

Measuring Shot Glass: Kolder 13211BLK Mini Measure Heavy Glass ($5)

The Kolder 13211BLK Mini Measure Heavy Glass is a much more conventional looking measuring device. It looks like a regular shot glass but with measurements down the side so you know exactly how much you’re pouring. 20 measurements are marked up, with increments in teaspoons, tablespoons, ounces, and millimeters. It’s an important tool to get the measures just right when serving up a tasty (but not too potent) drink. A vodka martini is the perfect drink to measure out with this shot glass.

Strainer: OXO SteeL Cocktail Strainer ($7)

If you solely use a three-piece shaker, then the OXO SteeL Cocktail Strainer isn’t essential, but odds are you’ll find yourself experimenting. In which case, $7 for an extra strainer is well worth it.

Amongst other things, it strains ice and fruit into your drinks for smoother cocktails. There’s a raised lip that prevents liquids from dripping with a soft non-slip finger rest and comfortable handle so you won’t make a mess. It’s not the most exciting of gadgets, but it’s a worthwhile addition to your cocktail making arsenal.

Fruity cocktails benefit most from a good strainer. How about a tasty margarita with blood orange strained directly into the drink?

Mixing Spoon: Hiware Stainless Steel Mixing Spoon ($6)

Shaking will only mix your drinks so far. You also need a mixing spoon to get things just right. The Hiware Stainless Steel Mixing Spoon is suitably long so that it easily fits into tall pitchers, shakers, as well as cocktail glasses.

It has a twisted middle for better control and grip from you. As it’s made from stainless steel, it’s easy to wash-up afterward too. Use it to stir up a delicious Manhattan.

Muddler: HQY Muddler ($6)

A muddler is effectively used to squash down certain components within a cocktail. Items like mint leaves for a mint julep are all the better if you use a muddler to lightly bruise them along the way.

The HQY Muddler is made from high-quality stainless steel, so there’s no fear of it breaking when you’re smushing stuff down. Inexpensive and easy to use, it’s perfect for those opportunities when you need a little more power than simply stirring something in.

Juicer: OXO SteeL Small Citrus Juicer ($15)

Ok, so you might already have a strainer courtesy of your shaker, and you should definitely have a measuring cup or two. Guess what? You can’t really have too many so buy the OXO SteeL Small Citrus Juicer alongside that.

The juicer is designed for extracting juice from fruit like lemons or lime so there’s hardly a cocktail that it won’t be useful with. How about adding some lime juice to your traditional Gin and Tonic?

It has a drip-free spout, so it’s easy to pour from, plus you can always see exactly how much you’re pouring in thanks to the built-in measuring jug. It has US and metric measurements so you won’t have to worry about converting measures either. The strainer ensures there’s no risk of seeds or pulp ending up in your drink.

Whiskey/Gin Glasses: Sun’s Tea Strong Double Wall Manhattan Style Old-fashioned Whiskey Glasses ($15)

Once you’ve prepared your drink, you need to be able to pour it into something. You can spend a lot of money on some very stylish glasses for every purpose, but we’ve focused on two key areas and tried to keep prices low. Don’t be afraid to splash out more at a later date but when starting out, these will do the job with style.

Our first pick looks like something that Don Draper would be proud to drink from, Sun’s Tea Strong Double Wall Manhattan Style Old-fashioned Whiskey Glasses are inexpensive yet classy looking.

They have a unique sealed double-wall two-layer structure that creates a semi-vacuum insulation between the two layers, therefore keeping your cold drink cold for longer. They’re hard wearing too, able to withstand an ice ball being tossed in them from 12 inches (not that you should do this often). With a 9 ounce capacity, they should keep you content for a while to come. Make an Old Fashioned while you’re at it.

Cocktail Glasses: Riedel VINUM Martini Glasses ($50)

A fair bit more expensive than the whiskey glasses featured, the Riedel VINUM Martini Glasses are worth the outlay. $50 buys you two sleek martini glasses that have a classic inverted cone shape at the top. They look exactly how you picture timeless martini glasses to look, and they’ll somehow make the drink taste all the nicer for it. A vodka martini is our choice of drink for this type of glass.

A capacity of 4-5/8 ounces is good enough for a drink that you sip rather than down in a hurry.

Straws: YIHONG Set of 8 Stainless Steel Straws ($8)

Not all cocktails need straws but the ones that do, well, you want them to look good, right? If you buy the YIHONG Set of 8 Stainless Steel Straws, you have straws for life and the sense that you’ve done something good for the environment by skipping the disposable plastic option.

The straw set comes with four bent straws and four straight ones, along with two cleaning brushes. The total length of each straw is 10.5 inches which is perfect for long drinks or if you want to drink straight from the shaker (we won’t judge).

Ice Cube Tray: Vremi Large Ice Cube Tray ($10)

Ice is an important part of any cocktail or drink. You want to make sure that it doesn’t chip as it’ll melt too fast into the glass, watering down your delicious drink. It’s important to have a good ice cube tray which is why we recommend the Vremi Large Ice Cube Tray Two Pack. It has two trays of 8 large ice cube compartments. The ice cubes are large enough to melt slowly and not leave you concerned about chips or cracks.

The trays themselves are stackable and also come with lids, so you don’t have to worry about freezer odor or food contamination. Everything is nicely self-contained. Place an ice cube in a glass full of whiskey. Thank us later.

Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds ($25)

Not all ice has to be cube-shaped. Sometimes, a fun spherical ice ball is perfect for the drink you’re serving, especially if you’re in a warm climate and need your drink to stay cool for a while.

The Tovolo Sphere Ice Moulds provides you with the perfect mold to create a slow melting ball that looks cool and actually is cool. It’s hassle-free, leak free, and won’t tip in the freezer. Simply toss it into your glass with a tasty vodka and tonic with a slice of lemon, and you have a classy and tasty drink to enjoy. It’s great for throwing into a punch bowl too.

Jennifer Allen Jennifer Allen
Jennifer is a freelance writer for ReviewGeek. In the past decade, she's also written for Wareable, TechRadar, Mashable, Eurogamer, Gamasutra, Playboy, and PCWorld. Read Full Bio »