7 Essential Home Bartending Tools

If you’ve ever watched a professional bartender put together a drink, you’ll notice that they’re using a bunch of specialised tools to stir, shake, mix, peel and do all the little things that makes great drinks great. If you’re just getting started making drinks at home, trying to find the names for these tools or even purchasing them might feel a bit intimidating. That’s why we put together this list of the 7 most essential tools for home bartending along with a few suggestions on how to replace them with normal household items. Let’s get into it!

Boston Shaker
The Boston Shaker is probably the most iconic among bartending tools, and for good reason! The Boston Shaker is an extremely versatile tool that’s used in the majority of cocktail recipes to chill, dilute, mix and aerate your drinks. If you’re planning on getting one, we recommend the tin on tin variety, as it’s easier to use and won’t break if you drop it on the floor. If you don’t have access to one, a jam jar with a tightly sealed lid will do just fine.

Learn more about shaking here!

Most Boston Shakers come with a Hawthorne Strainer. These are brilliant for straining out fruit pulp and ice  from your shaken cocktails. Don’t have one? Don’t worry! A fine mesh sieve or other type of strainer will do just fine!

Learn more about shakers and strainers here!

The Muddler is used to crush up fruits, berries, herbs and other ingredients inside of your mixing vessel. By muddling ingredients in the glass or shaker all of the essential oils will be released into your drink, rather than onto your cutting board. If you don’t have one at hand, a wooden spoon or rolling pin will do just fine.

Learn more about muddling here!

Paring Knife
A nice and sharp Paring Knife will be indispensable for your home bartending adventures. Use it to quickly cut up fruits for muddling or to make garnishes like lemon wheels for your drinks. A normal kitchen knife will work as well, but we like the Paring Knife for its compact size and maneuverability.

Learn more about Knives and Peelers here!

Speaking of garnishes, get a nice peeler for your home bar. The Peeler will let you zest fruits like a pro, and it won’t hurt you as bad as the Paring Knife if you manage to slip up. If you don’t own one, the Paring Knife will do. Let’s be honest though, you’re more likely to own a peeler than a teeny tiny bougie knife.

Hot tip: If you’re zesting fruits for garnish, do so over the glass. This lets you splash all those aromatic oils over your cocktail rather than your work surface.

Learn more about Knives and Peelers here!

Bar Spoon
The Bar Spoon is a long, skinny-looking spoon that makes stirring cocktails like the Martini and Old Fashioned somewhat easier. Essentially, when you’re stirring, you want to be moving the ice and liquids around rapidly, but gently without chipping off any small pieces of ice from the cubes. If you don’t have one, use a chopstick for the stirring and a teaspoon for the spooning.

Learn more about stirring here!

Mixing Glass
This is a tall, wide glass outfitted with a small spout for easy pouring. Again, this could easily be replaced with a jam jar or any wide glass container. Just make sure it’s large enough to let you move the ice cubes around when you’re stirring.

Learn more about stirring here!

Now that you know what kind of tools you’re going to need, you’re going to need some recipes to try them out. Here are 9 basic drink recipes every home bartender should know!

9 Basic Cocktail Recipes

espresso martini in environmentespresso martini in environment

Espresso Martini

Absolut Vodka, Kahlúa, Espresso, Coffee Beans

vodka sour in environmentvodka sour in environment

Vodka Sour

Absolut Vodka, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup, Bitters, Egg White, Cherry, Lemon

tom collins in environmenttom collins in environment

Tom Collins

Gin, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup, Soda Water, Cherry, Lemon

old fashioned in environmentold fashioned in environment

Old Fashioned

Sugar Cube (white), Bitters, Bourbon, Orange

martini in environmentmartini in environment


Gin, Dry Vermouth, Green Olive

mojito in environmentmojito in environment


Mint Leaf, Simple Syrup, Lime Juice, Light Rum, Soda Water, Mint Leaf

cosmopolitan in environmentcosmopolitan in environment


Absolut Citron, Triple Sec, Lime Juice, Cranberry Juice, Orange Zest

manhattan in environmentmanhattan in environment


Rye Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth, Bitters, Cherry

amaretto sour in environmentamaretto sour in environment

Amaretto Sour

Amaretto, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup, Egg White, Cherry, Orange

Get weekly drink recipes parallax background

Get weekly drink recipes