While it’s possible to whip up a basic, non-alcoholic cocktail with whatever kitchen equipment you have on hand, there’s a good reason why expert mixologists turn to professional bartending tools. Stocking up on a few bartending essentials can help you elevate your home cocktail creations from good to great. Not only do the right tools make a difference in taste, but working with beautiful equipment can enhance the experience of preparing your favourite drink and become a treasured part of your cocktail-making ritual. Here are a few essential tools for your alcohol-free home bar.
True to its name, a shaker is used to shake together spirits (either traditional or non-alcoholic), mixers and ice in order to blend their flavours, as well as effectively chill, aerate and dilute your drink. There are dozens of different kinds of shakers but two of the most common types you’ll come across are the cobbler and the Boston. Many home bartenders appreciate the ease of the cobbler, a one-piece shaker that consists of a tumbler, a lid with a strainer and a cap. The two-piece Boston shaker, however, is a favourite of professional mixologists thanks to its cleanability and simplicity (although you’ll need a separate strainer to stop ice and any other solid ingredients from slipping into your glass when pouring). A shaker is handy for making non-alcoholic cocktails like the Lavender Raspberry or the Sobrii Low Bluelade.
A jigger is a double-sided measuring cup used for portioning your liquid cocktail ingredients. It achieves more accurate measurements than a shot glass, while its streamlined designed makes it simpler to work with when mixing cocktails than standard measuring spoons. Exact measurements may seem like a minor consideration, but many at-home mixologist are pleasantly surprised to discover that the difference between an average cocktail and an excellent one often comes down to correct ingredient ratios. A stylish jigger can also add a touch of elegance to your bar cart set-up.
Silicone Ice Mold Set
The right ice is another simple swap that can take your cocktail from ho-hum to top-notch. Ice from a standard freezer tray melts quickly, diluting your drink as you sip. Try using a silicone ice tray with larger square or circular molds instead. The silicone tray makes it much easier to pop out ice while you’re mixing, while the bigger cubes melt more slowly, helping to maintain your drink’s ideal strength. Plus, the larger cubes look lovely in your glass.
Bar spoons feature long, skinny handles designed for stirring a mixed drink from the bottom of the glass. Compared to a short, wide standard spoon, a bar spoon’s small bowl makes it easier to gently stir cocktails over ice without splashing. They can also be handy for picking up garnishes like maraschino cherries without needing to stick your hand in the jar, or even quickly smashing sugar cubes into the bottom of your glass.
Handheld Citrus Juicer
Citrus juices like lemon and orange are a key component in dozens of delicious cocktails, such as this Almond Orange 0-GIn Sour. While the little plastic squeeze citrus bottles available at the grocery store are convenient, freshly-squeeze juice can help take your cocktail’s flavour to the next level. Instead, buy fresh citrus and use a handheld juicer. They’re no-fuss to use and clean, plus they can also be used for juicing citrus in the kitchen when you’re cooking.