Last month we asked Aisha Sharpe, co-founder of drinks consultancy Contemporary Cocktails and one of our advisors, to help us stock our liquor cabinet. But to make cocktails at home you also need a good set of bartending tools. While you can blow hundreds of dollars on just a fancy shaker, you can also make great drinks with far more modest equipment. To put this theory to the test, we challenged Sharpe to outfit our bar for just $50 with items from Amazon.com. Here’s what she bought.
Shaker and Strainer ($20-$22.50):
To mix drinks like a pro, get this two-piece Boston shaker set, which includes a Hawthorn strainer. For an extra $2.50, Sharpe recommends you also pick up a julep strainer to use with drinks that are stirred. If you’re still working on your bartending skills, try this simple 24 ounce shaker with a built-in strainer.
Oxo Jigger ($4):
To make accurate measurements, Sharpe likes Oxo’s clear jigger, which she says is “easy to use” and can measure up to two ounces of liquid.
One of the most important tools you can own is a muddler. Use it to release the oils of fresh mint leaves for Mojitos or crush limes for a Caipirinha. Sharpe recommends this 10-inch version made from cherry wood.
Bar Spoon ($1.50):
To make a Manhattan or stir up a pitcher of Margaritas, you need a long-handled bar spoon like this 11-inch model.
If we had given Sharpe an extra $20 she would bought this Black & Decker electric juicer, which makes quick work of lemons, limes and oranges.