Stock the Bar Series: Part 1 – Essential Tools for Every Home Bar


Embarking on a journey into mixology or simply looking to elevate your home bar? Crafting the perfect cocktail is both an art and a science, and like any artist, you need the right tools to perfect your craft. In this series, we’ll delve into the must-have tools that will make your bar the talk of the town (or at least your next gathering). Let’s kick off and stock the bar with the essentials.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.

The Indispensable Boston Shaker Set

While there’s a place for the cobbler or three-piece shaker in the world of mixology, the Boston shaker reigns supreme for its versatility. This is why we’ll start to stock the bar here. Lesser shakers can lock when cold, making them a chore to open, and often pour slower. I’m partial to the Cocktail Kingdom Koriko Tins, (sold separately so you need this one too) especially for its weighted bottoms and sleek design.

The Mixing Glass: A Seamless Beauty

For stirred drinks, a mixing glass is vital. The Cocktail Kingdom Seamless Yarai is my choice in 550 mL. It boasts a substantial weight, ensuring stability, and the seamless design ensures a smooth stir every time. The cut crystal design speaks to me but they have others if it’s not your vibe.

Strainers: Double Trouble

A shaker or mixing glass is incomplete without a good strainer. The Cocktail Kingdom Koriko hawthorn strainer is a masterpiece in design, easily held in place with just one finger, even easier to clean, and won’t topple the tin if left sitting on it. For those with muddled greens in their cocktail repertoire (and technically anytime you use your mixing glass), a julep strainer, also from Cocktail Kingdom, becomes invaluable. However, in a pinch, the hawthorn can double up.

The Mighty Bar Spoon

A bar spoon is not just a spoon; it’s an instrument of precision. The Barfly 16″ model is a game-changer. Its length offers a balanced stir without hunching over, and its teardrop end ensures optimal balance. But a word of caution: its length might not fit in standard kitchen drawers. For those with storage concerns, a shorter model is available.

Precision Pour: Measuring Devices

The secret to a perfect cocktail often lies in the exact measurements. Here are my top picks:

  1. The stepped jigger from Barfly, ranging from 1/2 oz to 2 oz, is a gem. Its clear markings and efficient rim and a handle make for an effortless pour.
  2. Cocktail Kingdom’s Japanese-style 1 oz / 2 oz jigger is a beauty and has graduated markings on the inside, but be wary of the mess if you’re using both sides.
  3. The graduated measuring jigger from Oxo is a household favorite that moonlights perfectly in the bartending world, making it a dual-purpose tool every home should have. I’ve even noticed it on the bar at fancy establishments like The Raven Club in Ann Arbor.

Ice, Ice Baby: The Molds

No cocktail is complete without the right ice. For most of my drinks and even for shaking, the 2-inch cubes from Oxo are unparalleled. Its solid plastic frame and lid are spill-proof wonders. For a touch of drama in tall glasses, collins spears by Cocktail Kingdom make for an excellent addition, though beware of the occasional nose poke!


Equipping your home bar with the right tools is the first step in becoming the mixologist you’ve always dreamt of being. In our next installment of the “Stock the Bar” series, we’ll delve into more specialized tools. Until then, happy mixing!

2 thoughts on “Stock the Bar Series: Part 1 – Essential Tools for Every Home Bar”

    1. Well this is definitely the place to start. A shaker and hawthorn strainer and a good jigger would be useful and aesthetically pleasing on that cart. Plus I think the Koriko stuff is totally your vibe.

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