You might now be armed with the best top-shelf brands of liquor and have extensive knowledge of popular cocktails in your brain, but you still need the proper tools and accessories to bring those drinks (and your bar) to life. Here is a list of accessories that every home bar should have.
1. Glass racks
No matter what kind of bar set-up you have, a hanging glass rack is a must. It provides a better and overall safer way to store your drinking glasses and makes for easy access. While all of them are space savers, this one, in particular, will be resistant to rust, so you will be able to get long and lasting use out of it.
If you’re a wine enthusiast, it is essential to have a corkscrew around. There are plenty of different kinds of corkscrews available, from ones shaped like birds to those with an “easy twist” handle. You can keep it on your bar, or grab a holster so you always carry one with you. Next time you’re at a wine tasting and the host realizes that they don’t own a corkscrew, you can have yours ready to go.
3. Bottle openers
Sure, you can certainly try to open a bottle of beer just by lightly hitting the top on the corner of your bar, but it may result in a lot of broken glass, spilled liquid, and a trip to the hospital. That whole experience may make you question yourself, and that’s the last thing you need. Bottle openers are another great tool to have under your belt, both literally and figuratively. They also come in a variety of styles. For example, this one is an opener designed like Thor’s hammer. It only picks those it deems worthy of running a home bar, though. Are you up to the challenge?
4. Mixer tool
When combining ingredients, you will need a mixing tool of some sort. Whether it be a small spoon or a metal stick, they will all get the job done, and you’ll feel like an at-home chemist at the same time. These will be the same kind of mixer sticks that you may use for your coffee, and they come in a variety of different styles, like some with skulls and some with plastic drinks on the end. If you’re ever on a road trip, you can look for some of these in a souvenir shop while you’re looking for novelty shot glasses.
As you may already know, some cocktail recipes call for crushed ice to be removed from a mixed drink before you pour it into a glass. To do this, you will need a strainer. There are two distinct types to keep in mind when shopping: the Hawthorne and Julep strainers.
Hawthorne strainers are identified by the spring fixed around their edge, which makes it easier to not have to touch the rim of the glass as it filters the ice. The julep strainers are bowl-shaped with a little handle and fit inside mixing glasses or shakers.
6. Mortar and pestles
You may have seen these before in restaurants to make guacamole table-side. They can also be used to make some amazing mojito Cuban cocktails. This is a stronger alternative to muddlers if you really want to make sure those herbs get properly pulverized.
If you’re keen on serving wine, you’ll need a good decanter to aid you in your endeavors. It’s not only good for storing and pouring wine. Decanters can be used to display the liquids in a way that makes them look more attractive. In some cases, it opens up the flavor. It can also be used with other liquors, such as scotch, chilled vodka, and whiskey to name a few.
8. Bar mats
Since you’re working with a lot of liquid ingredients, you’re going to need to keep yourself safe from any possible spills so that your bartending career doesn’t end faster than you start it. You can put one on the floor where you step behind your home bar and a longer, thinner one that will rest on the edges of your counter. They catch small amounts of liquid and are very easy to clean. Just run them through the dishwasher, and you’re all set to open for another night.
9. Cocktail shakers
Sometimes when you’re at a bar, you see or hear the bartender shaking some kind of metal container. They’re not practicing their maraca skills for their garage band, they’re shaking up your cocktails. A proper shaker is a must to make your favorite cosmopolitans or Moscow mules, as well as a variety of other cocktails. One thing to keep in mind is that the surface will get cold as you shake because of the air trapped inside. However, the sheer amount of muscle that you will be able to gain will be worth it.
10. Speed rails
For your favorite or more popular drinks that you will be pouring at home, you don’t want to be searching behind you for too long to find the mixer or liquor that you need. This is where a speed rail, sometimes referred to as a cocktail rail, comes in. It consists of a metal rack that makes for easy storage and increases your accessibility to the alcohol that you use most frequently. It can be attached to any bar for easy installation.
11. Cutting board
When you’re slicing and dicing your different ingredients for your garnishes, you will need a sturdy cutting board that will fit your space. It’s also a good idea to find one that has a non-slip material like the cutting board listed above. It’ll be like having a mini kitchen, as long as you can fit a small knife inside your bartending kit.
12. Ice bucket
When a cocktail calls for ice, you’ll want to have a bucket handy that will not only keep ice cold for extended periods of time but also save you the trip of having to run to the freezer. You will need some tongs and a small scoop as well, though most sets you find should include both.
13. Ice crusher
Some cocktails are so extra, they call for crushed ice. A proper crusher will ensure that you will get the desired consistency of the ice that you want to destroy. If you can find one that’s portable, that’s even better, as you can practice your skills when you’re visiting other home bars.
14. Ice shape kits
If you want to add a little more flair to your ice when serving drinks, there are lots of different kits that can make ice into different shapes. From skulls to perfect spheres for your whiskey on the rocks, there are lots of kits out there to help put your own unique spin onto popular cocktails.
Jiggers are the same size as a shot, and they are used for measuring liquid when crafting cocktails. They come in a range of sizes from 0.5 ounces to 2.5 ounces. The standard jigger size is about 1.5 ounces.
Many cocktails require some kind of fruit juice, so you will need an instrument that can extract it from the main source. If you want something compact to fit amongst all of your other accessories, you can find a juicer that’s a handheld size. If you’re planning on making a lot of juice-based drinks, alcoholic or not, you can invest in a larger one.
If you want a cheaper alternative to a mortar and pestle set, you can go with a traditional muddler for crushing up herbs. These are typically most used in making Old Fashioneds and Mojitos. They can also make for great stress-relieving tools, so you can crushing up your enemies and serving them.
These aren’t just good for peeling fruit in order to eat them. Peelers are also used in order to get a beautiful-looking garnish for your drinks. Make sure you get one that is easy for you to grip and has an extra-wide blade so that you’re able to get more peel for your budget. You’ll be a garnish master in no time!
19. Salt rimmers
Calling all margarita lovers, here is an answer to your prayers. These clever inventions that we call salt rimmers are quite cheap and come in a variety of finishes. Just rub a lime all around the rim of your glass, dip the rim into your salt, and presto! You are now ready for Tequila Tuesday.
Lemon zest, orange zest, any kind of zest don’t just make for a good component to a garnish. They also enhance the aroma and taste of many popular cocktails, like Dry Martinis, Sidecars, and others. For this, you will need a small zester tool. Some people like to use small handheld graters, but they’re harder to hold, and with a proper zester, you will be a lot more accurate, even if you don’t get as much zest at once.