The holiday season is the perfect time to hone your bartending skills. Whether you sling a dozen mojitos for your wife and her friends for their Bachelor watch party, or make yourself an old fashioned after a seemingly endless day of Zoom calls for work, a quality home bartending set ensures that you have everything you need to shake, stir, and pour the best drinks.
The Mixology Bartender Kit from Mixology & Craft is an excellent starter set containing all the essentials. Reviews chalk up the 10-piece set as having a “big-little touch”, because it takes up minimal space, but is incredibly versatile and fully capable of producing even the most complicated cocktails. The craftsmanship has been approved by professional bartenders, as all the pieces are made with stainless steel alloy and have a good weight to them. And for the love of all that is good, do not stuff your bartending materials in an already-cluttered drawer. The eco-friendly bamboo stand keeps your gear organized and accessible; not to mention, it makes a beautiful addition to any minibar.
Once we get the fundamentals out of the way, if you find a set that includes tools such as lemon zester, bar knives or a corkscrew, you know you’re dealing with the big dogs. This elite barware set, although a bit more expensive than others, is worth the extra dough. (You’ll probably earn it all back in tips after entertaining your friends and family anyway!) The Japanese-style jigger, which tends to be tall and slender to allow for finer measurements, also has easy-to-read lines on the inside for that precision pour. The durability and reliability of these tools will exceed expectations with their solid, heavy feel.
We recommend only those who know their way around a bar cart opt for this one. If you like to dive into the more difficult end of the drink mixing pool, this complete 24-piece set will have you whipping up whiskey sours and strawberry daiquiris with ease. All of its materials are abrasion-resistant and rust-proof so you won’t have to worry about it wearing down over time. Here’s a little game to play if you want to step outside your comfort zone: flip to a random page in the included SOING cocktail recipe booklet to get some inspiration and try out a new drink!
Strip off the fancy bells and whistles and you’re left with all you really need to make a classic cocktail – besides the booze, of course. This 3-piece set has all the practicality of a full bar. Did you know you can make margaritas, bloody marys, and even martini vodkas with just a cocktail shaker, proper stirring spoon, and measuring jigger? The two premium weighted shakers (18 oz. and 28 oz., respectively) fit perfectly into each other for a watertight seal. No leaks, creaks or seeps. The Koviti set is also great if you want to keep spare utensils around or mix-and-match your favorite bar tools.
Cobble shakers are admired and preferred by many home bartenders for their most useful feature: the built-in strainer. (Compared to a Boston shaker, in which using a hawthorn strainer would be a necessary extra step.) Equipped with a sleek muddler that has a nylon-grooved head for maximum flavor extraction from fruits, herbs and spices. The two liquor pourers, which fit most alcohol bottles, allow for greater control and help you streamline your pour, thus avoiding any spills. You also get a velvet bag to hold all your accessories and prevent scratches during travel or storage.