Home Bar Tools: Essential Bartending Equipment

The best bartending tools to stock your home bar

Our bartenders independently research, test, and recommend the best products.  If we don’t love it, we won’t tell you about it. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. 

Best Bartending Kit:  11-Piece Boston Cocktail Shaker Bar Set by VinoBravo

2 Weighted Shaker Tins, Strainer Set, Double Jigger, Bar Spoon, Ice Muddler & Tong, 2 Liquor Pourers & Cocktail Recipe GuideThis is the ideal starter set for someone who is serious about making great drinks.  This kit has everything you need with three types of strainers: Julep, Hawthorne & Fine Mesh strainers; Japanese Jigger with precise measurements for 2, 1.5, 1 & 0.5 oz; European style Bar Spoon with spiral handle to help you stir your drinks with ease.

We love the weighted shaker tins because they come apart easily, yet still hold a strong seal.  And the strainers fit perfectly over the tins.

The downside to this kit is that a Yari strainer is not included, but no worries, you can use the shaker tins for stirred drinks.  Or, if you want to get official, we recommend adding a Yari Mixing Vessel to your bar…

Yari Mixing Glass:  Stainless Steel Mixing Pitcher

Double wall diamond pattern – 500 ml

For those unfamiliar with a Yari it is a large mixing vessel used for stirred cocktails.  Frequently used by the world’s top bartenders and mixologists, Yari’s are essential for chilling stirred beverages and can hold 3 cocktails.  Use with a bar spoon and julep strainer.

We prefer stainless steel Yaris opposed to glass Yaris because stainless steel doesn’t break when you accidentally drop it on the floor.  Believe it or not, but the stainless steel also keeps your beverage at a cooler temperate, which means less ice will melt into your cocktail.  For more information on this phenomenon, we recommend reading Liquid Intelligence’s section on “Ice, Ice with Booze, and the Fundamental Law”.

Best Bar Books:  Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails

Written by the famous Death and Co bar in New York, this book is a bible for those interesting in building craft cocktails.  Featuring creative recipes and beautiful images, this book is a comprehensive guide to creating balance in your drinks.
This book changed the way I saw cocktails.  They do a fantastic job breaking down complex recipes and make the learning process approachable.  For beginners to experts, there is something everyone can take away from Death & Co’s approach to beverage service.

Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail

After reading Liquid Intelligence, it is impossible to see cocktails the same again. Winner of the 2015 James Beard Award for Best Beverage Book and the 2015 IACP Jane Grigson Award.  Dave Arnold explains how to achieve perfection through every intricate detail that goes into beverage service.

Liquid Intelligence is not for novices, infact Arnold skips most of the basics and dives right into the science behind the craft.  This book makes a fantastic gift for the person who is obsessed with great cocktails, or an experienced bartender.

Best Juicer:  Manual Citrus Press Juicer

Premium Quality Metal Lemon Lime Squeezer

The only kind juice that is acceptable in your home bar is fresh juice.  That is why you need a hand-held juicer.  Squeeze fresh for each drink, or prep your citrus ahead of time.

We love this press because it is extremely durable, dishwasher safe and stops the seeds from sneaking into our juice.  For less than $10, this is one bar tool you can’t live without.

Rubber Bar Service Mat: BonBon Professional 18″ x 12″ Rubber Bar Service Mat

Every bar needs a bar mat.  This lovely rubber mat catches all spills and leaves you with a tidy, easy to clean working surface.

We love bigger size bar mats because they are very versatile.  From drying shaking equipment to cutting solid blocks of ice, rubber mats are a multi-tool and a necessity that will leave you wondering, how did I ever serve drinks without a bar mat?

Thanks for checking out our favorite home bartender essentials.  If you already have a few of the pieces and need help filling your basic kit, refer to our favorite individual products below.

If you are in the Reno and Lake Tahoe area and you want to learn how to master your bar tools while developing balance in your cocktails, be sure to check out our mobile mixology classes.  We bring everything so your group can learn to make artisanal cocktails from the comfort of your home, cabin or corporate retreat.

If you have any experience with these products or have any fantastic cocktail recipes that you made with at your home bar we welcome positive comments below.  Cheers and happy mixing!

Spiral Pattern Cocktail Spoon

Japanese Jigger 2/1 oz

Boston Shaker Tin Set

Hawthorne, Julep & Sifter