The Tools of the Trade

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 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.

Muddler ($19):

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.



Juicer ($18):

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.

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