Nobody gathers around to watch the host pour a can of beer. Eyeballs don’t turn toward the home bartender who drops a few ice cubes in a glass and pours into a dram of whiskey. Taking out the cocktail-making gear at a party, though, steals the show. Mixing a cocktail is an elaborate, dramatic event, and you won’t do it correctly if you don’t have all the right gear.
I’ve had more bad cocktails in my life than I care to remember, and it often comes down to the maker not knowing how to measure out their liquor, muddle their solid ingredients, or strain ice. You need a measure of knowledge, a splash of experience, and the right tools, which we’ve collected below. Start bartending for your family (or yourself) like a pro.
Updated March 2022: We’ve added slides on buying a bar cabinet and setting up a cocktail-mixing station. We also expanded our sections on drinkware, strainers, and ice trays.
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