A complete List of Bar Tools and Equipment for your home bar to help you make the best cocktails. If you make cocktails at home or love to entertain, you need this list. The investment is worth it and your drinks will be that much better. There's a reason your bartender has so many tools behind the bar...
Why you need this List of Bar Tools and Equipment
One of my favorite things to do is go to a bar, try a cocktail or two, and then go home and try to recreate it or make up my own recipe inspired by what I tried. I also love to make my own liqueurs, syrups, shrubs, bitters, etc. because let's face it, that's pretty cool.
Making cocktails at home also saves you money, which is always a good thing. Before you do any of that, you have to make sure you have the correct bar tools.
Most of the items on this list will last a long time and can be a one-time investment. There are individual bar tools on this list and also sets available if you are looking for more than one item at a time.
I am a self-taught home bartender, but as I mentioned, I use all of these tools on this list and have had great success making craft cocktails at home. The products shown below are what I use or are close to it.
I don't generally recommend the most expensive option, because you may be new at this or are not ready to invest a ton of money yet. I do believe you get what you pay for so be careful of the really inexpensive items.
Cocktail Making Tools
This is an obvious essential for shaking up your favorite cocktail. I like the one shown below because it has a built-in strainer and it's stainless steel so it's easy to clean.
Another common type of shaker is the Boston Shaker. I don't use this type, but it is another popular option.
Ok, I just told you the shaker I recommended had a built-in strainer and now you need another one?? Yup. Plus, if you use a shaker without a strainer, you will definitely need to buy one. Strainers will catch any leftover citrus pulp or ingredient pieces you don't want in your drink.
This is my go-to strainer because it catches almost everything and it will strain an egg white drink to make beautiful froth that floats perfectly on top of your cocktail.
A less common strainer, but it fits nicely on a glass and just looks cool, IMO.
The most common strainer is the Hawthorne because the spring fits snugly on most glasses. It doesn't catch everything and can be hard to clean, but it works nicely with stirred drinks to catch any ice pieces you don't want in your glass.
There are many different muddler options out there, here are two that I use and why you need two different versions.
Muddler with Teeth
Teeth are good for smashing berries and citrus. They are not recommended for delicate ingredients like mint leaves or basil.
Muddler without Teeth
Because teeth will ruin ingredients like mint and basil, a wooden muddler without teeth is a good option.
4. Bar Spoon
This spoon is essential when stirring drinks. It's stainless steel and has a cool spiraled handle. There are many options and uses for these bar spoons. Yes, you need one and yes, it ups the cool factor 😎.
5. Stirring Glass
You need this for making cocktails like negronis or old fashions where stirring is required. I like the one below because it comes with a Hawthorne strainer that already fits perfectly.
6. Ice trays
You should have round and square ice cubes for different drinks and glasses. This set comes with square and round shapes and is made of silicone for easy removal and clean-up. There are also different scientific reasons for the different shapes, but we are focusing on the use and looks today.
Tip: to get clear ice cubes, use distilled water or boil the water first, allow it to cool, and then freeze.
7. Multi-Sized Jiggers
I like this set because there are several measurements, they are stainless steel, and they are a classic style. Eyeballing in a cocktail can lead to a disaster and if you are using expensive liquor, you don't want to mess up.
Repeat after me: "fresh juice is the only juice I use in a cocktail". Ok, now that we have that covered you need something to get all of that delicious juice out of your fruit.
The first juicer below is one of the most popular and easiest to use. The only downfall is you can't juice larger fruit like grapefruit. In this case, I would suggest a tabletop juicer as shown below.
9. Garnish Peeler
There are several multi-tools and peelers specific for bartending, but I use my trusty vegetable peeler in my kitchen to make garnishes for my drinks. It's easy to use and like other things on this list, you can use this tool for more than one thing.
I also find I can manage the depth of the cut more with this tool. There is also a different tool shown to make smaller garnishes if that is what you are looking for.
10. Garnish sticks
Can you just use toothpicks? Yes, and I do it all the time. But, these are nice because they are longer and look better.
You get 100/pack and they will probably last a while. There are also reusable versions shown below.
11. Glass Rim Plate
A glass rim plate is very convenient when making cocktails like margaritas or lemon drops that have a salt or sugar rim. You can also get creative with sprinkles, coconut, etc. to take your cocktail presentation up a notch. This is a handy tool, although you can get away with a small plate in a pinch.
Cocktail Recipes To Try with Your New Bar Tools
- The Last Word
- Grapefruit Tequila Cocktail
- Lavender Pisco Sour Recipe
- Modern Negroni
- Pumpkin Spice Martini
This one is tricky because there are so many different glasses out there. I believe it's a personal preference, but here are some ideas for the basics below.
Toolsets to Make Shopping Easier
There are also some bartending toolsets available if you want to get more items at once and more bang for your buck.
For another resource on creating the best home bar experience, check out How to Create a Bar in a Tight Space & Mix Like a Pro.
Homemade Syrup, Liquor, and Garnish Recipes:
- Homemade Creme de Cassis
- Lavender Syrup
- Pumpkin Pie Liqueur
- Fresh Fruit Shrub Recipe
- Homemade Luxardo Cherries
- Amarena Cherry Recipe
- Candied Ginger and Ginger Syrup
Did you Enjoy this list of Bar Tools and Equipment?
I hope you find this Bar Tools and Equipment list helpful and continue to experiment with making cocktails at home.
If you want more tips, tricks, and recipes, sign up for my email list and follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest! I love to hear from my readers and see what's in your cocktail glass so feel free to tag me if you post a photo.
I bought the old-fashioned glasses you recommend above and just love them! Thank you!
Oh good! Those are such good-looking glasses, I'm glad you like them!
Cindy Mom the Lunch Lady says
I am not a big drinker but the cocktails I enjoy use some of these gadgets (which I currently do not have). I need to add them to my wish list!
Yes! These make a great gift and make a great item to put on a wish list!!
A full set would make a great present idea (for my partner, since he makes the cocktails and I am the beneficiary:)))))
The sets are a perfect gift idea! And beneficial for you, LOL 😂.
you just gave me a gift idea for my friend’s birthday! this is a nice gift for her as she also likes to explore bars
Oh good! Yes, anything on this list would make a great gift!
Gregory Halpen says
I love this! I’ve been wanting to explore cocktail making for my shoots. Thank you for the inspiration!
I'm glad you liked it, Greg. Hopefully some of these tips will help!
This is a fabulously useful post! I am a whiz around the kitchen but absolutely hopeless when it comes to mixology. I often want to serve a signature drink alongside a dinner but don't know where to start, this helped me so much.
Thanks, Christina! I'm glad this post helped you out and I hope you are more comfortable behind your home bar 😁.