I often get asked what one should buy to get a home bar started. Everyone has an opinion on this. Here’s mine, starting with hardware needs.
Hardware – The Musts
There are a few things it would be hard to do without.
- A shaker. Here’s a nice one for about $25, but if you’re on a tight budget, you can find a metal cup and use it with a plain old pint glass and spend less than $15.
- A Hawthorne strainer. I like the Oxo ones. $8.
- A jigger. Here’s a traditional one that will work just fine. $9. I will confess, though, I use a 50ml beaker. Because I’m difficult.
- A barspoon. This one’s pretty standard and good to start with. $3.
- A knife. Fruit has an annoying habit of coming whole. This one’s fine. $7.
- A cutting board. For murdering fruit. This little bastard is the right size. $6.
- Cocktail glasses. Pro tip: they’re going to get broken. You know your friends. Buy cheap ones and store them in the freezer to look all classy. You could do worse than these. $18.
Hardware – The Really Shoulds
You can do a lot with just the stuff on the must-have list. But here’s what I’d add, in order, to expand your mixing capabilities.
- A zester. Like this. Them twists ain’t gonna make themselves. $8.
- A peeler. That sexy large swath of peel in your drink? Also didn’t make itself. $9.
- A muddler. Yeah, this is like finding the right magic wand. If you’re just starting out, this isn’t a bad choice. No worries about lacquered wood dissolving in citrus. $14.
- A mixing glass. You can use the metal shaker for mixing, but day-um, a mixing glass is SO much nicer. Yeah, you want one of these. $40.
- A fine strainer. Because fruit pulp and other detritus in your drink is just not sexy. This one is great. $9.
- Rocks glasses. Hey, look, here’s a set of six of them for $18. See above, re: your friends.
- A lighter. Because sometimes you just have to set shit on fire. Because I do not like burning myself, this is the kind of thing I buy. Orange peels cower in front of me. $3.
So you can get all the hardware basics for your bar for around $80, or if you want to get all fancy, about $180. Next time we’ll look at booze.