Essential Tools to Make Cocktails at Home

If you are going to enjoy a cocktail at home, there are some tools you just need to get the job done. These tools we believe are essential before any cocktail can be enjoyed. Sure, you can get away without some of them, but through our experience in making countless cocktails, we’ve come up with the essential list.

Our intention here is to provide you with the tools and information you’ll need to start your “cocktail journey” so let’s get to it.

Essential Tools

Let’s start with what tools you’ll need to start your home bar.  Any self-respecting home bartender will have at least a few standard tools to use when making drinks at home.  This not only looks good and may impress your guests, but it makes mixing drinks MUCH easier than without these tools.

Shakers and Mixers

You’re going to make some drinks that require shaking, and some that require stirring.  Trust us, you do not want to shake all drinks – leave that to crappy bars that don’t know what they’re doing.  Generally, shake when the drink includes citrus or other non-alcoholic ingredients, and stir if not.  You’ll want a shaker for shaking (duh!) and a mixing glass to stir.  We prefer the Boston shaker set (two interlocking tins) which you can find here and a nice, sturdy mixing glass.

Luminarc ARC International Luminarc Barcraft Mixing Glass, 17oz, Clear
  • Includes 1 Mixing Glass
  • Capacity 18.5 Ounce
  • Lead Free Glass


You’ll need a separate strainer for that shaker and mixing glass.  You can get away with just one for both here.  Here is a good, cheap Hawthorne strainer from OXO SteeL.

OXO Cocktail Strainer, Steel
  • Durable stainless steel body effectively strains ice, fruit, and more from drinks for smooth cocktails
  • Soft, non-slip finger rest and comfortable handle allow for a comfortable, natural pour
  • Raised lip prevents liquids from dripping

Bar Spoon

Trust us, you want a separate bar spoon.  Why won’t just a regular long spoon work?  Usually regular spoons are curved which disrupts the stirring, and they are hard to spin in your hand.  Pick up a cheap bar spoon here.

Hiware LZS13B 12 Inches Stainless Steel Mixing Spoon, Spiral Pattern Bar Cocktail Shaker Spoon
  • VERSATILE & PROFESSIONAL. Long, professional and well balanced - this cocktail mixing spoon has the most outstanding and attractive advantages. Effortlessly mixes and blends cocktails with just simple stirs, allowing you to create tasty and beautiful looking drinks.
  • SUPERIOR QUALITY MATERIALS. The classy 18/10 stainless steel material makes it be long - term used with no problems. It will not be bent ,rust or remain odor even if it is used for a long time. Retains the durability and healthy of this material. Meantime, it is DISHWASHER SAFE.
  • PROFESSIONAL DESIGNS - ESPECIALLY THE FUNCTIONAL LENGTH. At 12 inches it has the ideal length for stirring drinks in taller glasses. Easily reaches the bottom of any cocktail shaker and mixing glass. The twist of the spoon makes it easier to grip and enhance the mixing strength while the striking teardrop design will accent your bartending skills.


They’re not just for doing shots!  A decent jigger is essential when mixing cocktails with different ingredients at different amounts.  I like the Japanese style as it spills less and has lines on the inside for different pour amounts.  A one and two ounce jigger will do just fine.

MYXER Double Cocktail Jigger, 1 & 2 Oz - Accurate Measure for Cocktail Recipes - Stainless Steel
  • Two sided cocktail jigger (1 Oz & 2 Oz) - Flip for different measurements
  • Made of premium 304 stainless steel with brushed finish - Rust resistant
  • Precise liquor measuring for cocktail recipes - Accurate measurement


This is where things can get expensive, but they need not be.  You’ll need a rocks glass – a flat-bottomed glass in which you’ll serve drinks on the rocks, sometimes called an Old Fashioned glass.

VENERO Crystal Whiskey Glasses, Set of 4 Rocks Glasses in Satin-Lined Gift Box - 10 oz Old Fashioned Lowball Bar Tumblers for Drinking Bourbon, Scotch Whisky, Cocktails, Cognac
  • ✅ PACKAGED READY FOR GIFTING IN A SATIN-LINED PRESENTATION BOX. Treat yourself or give these whiskey glasses and make someone's special day. Packed in a satin-lined, padded presentation box, this set makes a wonderful gift for men or women for birthdays, christmas, house warming, or wedding anniversary.
  • ✅ THICK SIDES AND BASE RETAIN YOUR DRINK'S TEMPERATURE. The thick walls and heavy weighted base are extremely durable and keep your drink insulated at the perfect temperature for longer, whether you prefer it ice cold or room temperature. The twisted design makes them easy to hold, they're dishwasher safe and are covered by our lifetime warranty so you'll never need to worry about them breaking.
  • ✅ CRAFTED FROM THE FINEST QUALITY CRYSTAL. Serving your drinks in these elegant twisted whiskey glasses is sure to impress your party guests. Blown from solid crystal they sparkle beautifully in the light and are guaranteed to make any drink look great. Ideal for sharing a toast on special occasions with family or clients, or playing poker and partying with friends.

The other essential glass is a martini glass or coupe – a glass in which to serve “up” drinks.  We prefer the coupe glass to a straight-sided martini glass – the coupe is less prone to spilling, and it just looks nice.

Mikasa Cheers Martini Glass, 10-Ounce, Set of 4
  • WHIMSICAL: the playful designs featured in this 4-glass set enliven any gathering
  • NO CONFUSION: everyone enjoys their own unique pattern and drinks will never get mixed up
  • PLAYFUL PATTERNS: Dots, lines, and swirls

Most importantly, when buying any sort of glassware, be sure the glasses are lead-free. To start, just get two of each, and you should be fine.  No need to go overboard.  There are many differences between cocktail glasses and beer glasses, so it pays to do your homework. You can find these at most home goods stores.  There are plenty of places to pick up glasses, including flea markets.

With these tools, you have a complete home bar set.  You’ll later want to pick up things like juicers, muddlers, and different ice cube trays, but the above tools get you started with a complete set. After this, be sure to add an ice machine to your bar… nothing is more frustrating than waiting for ice to freeze.

Final Thoughts

Even if you are a beer lover, there will be plenty of times when your friends will want a bit fancier. With these cocktail tools you’ll have all you need to make great cocktails in the comfort of your own home. It doesn’t cost the earth to buy these either so there is no excuse not to buy them. Once you have all of these essential tools, you’re ready add the nice-to-have items like a wall mounted liquor dispenser. All you need now is booze.