Spice things up
Everyone loves a good cocktail, no matter what your favorite cocktail is. Big hits for the fall involve plenty of spices, such as pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon. But when it comes time to make your favorite cocktail at home, you probably realize why drinks at bars are so expensive.
You can make the process much easier on yourself if you have the right set of cocktail-making equipment or even a cocktail-making machine. You can also become your friend group’s resident barkeeper.
The list of equipment a would-be mixologist needs to make any given cocktail is a long one. Most cocktail-making kits contain, at the very least:
- A jigger: This is the single most important piece of equipment to have for making cocktails. This lets you precisely measure how much alcohol is going into your drinks so you don’t disturb the flavor profile of your recipe. One side holds 1 ounce, while the other holds 2 ounces. Some jiggers have markings on the sides so you can precisely measure other ounce amounts.
- A shaker: When you think of cocktail-making equipment, you likely think of a shaker. These are used in a huge amount of recipes and are the second most important piece of equipment to have.
- A mixing spoon: There are four types of mixing spoons, and most kits contain one or more types. The American type holds one-sixth of an ounce and has a small red cap on the end. The European type holds one-twelfth of an ounce and has a muddler on the end. The Japanese type holds one-twelfth of an ounce and has a teardrop on the end to better balance it. The forked spoon holds different amounts depending on the style and has a fork on the end for fishing out fruit from jars.
- A cocktail strainer: There are three types of strainers: mint julep, fine mesh and Hawthorne. Each is used for various cocktails and, like with the spoons, kits include one or more types.
- A muddler: This is essentially a weighted stick with a flat end for mushing ingredients to get all the flavor out of them.
On top of these basics is a range of extra equipment that might be included. These are undoubtedly useful but not strictly necessary. Possible inclusions are:
- Openers: These could be individual bottle and cork openers, or they could be combined into one.
- Ice tongs: If you keep a bucket of ice ready and you’re making a cocktail for yourself, you don’t need to avoid handling the ice. Your guests will likely prefer you use tongs.
- Ice pick: This is an uncommon inclusion, but it’s useful if you need crushed ice and don’t have an automatic ice maker.
- Lemon squeezer: Many cocktails call for lemon or lime juice. Having one of these on hand makes getting fresh juice much easier and keeps your hands clean.
- Peeler: If you’re making cocktails for guests, using the peel of various fruits is an easy way to spice up your presentation. The peels of fruits also contain oils to subtly enhance your drink, especially when rubbed on the rim of the glass.
- Liquor pourer: If you plan on making cocktails regularly, pourers inserted into the tops of your bottles make measuring easier and cleaner.
- Stopper: These are most commonly used to seal bottles of wine, but they can make your display of liquor bottles look a little sharper too.
- Reusable straws: If you like drinking your cocktails with a straw, using reusable straws rather than disposable options nets a small positive environmental outcome.
- Recipe book: Technically you have an infinite recipe book by the way of your smartphone, but leafing through a book is less mood-killing than the distraction of your phone.
Cocktail makers typically come in two general forms. One mixes liquids into a glass or bottle, and the other freezes them into a slushy-like consistency.
Best cocktail-making equipment kits
This is one of the best bartender kit options on the market, containing a shaker, two liquor pourers, a double-lever corkscrew, a Japanese mixing spoon, a Hawthorne strainer, a mesh strainer, a julep strainer, a muddler, a jigger, ice tongs, a cocktail booklet and a bamboo stand to keep it all in.
This kit contains a shaker, a muddler, a Japanese mixing spoon, a mesh strainer, a julep strainer, a Hawthorne strainer, ice tongs, a jigger and two liquor pourers. It comes in copper, silver and black.
This kit contains a shaker, a muddler, a forked mixing spoon, a lemon squeezer, a mesh strainer, a Hawthorne strainer, ice tongs, a jigger, three liquor pourers, a corkscrew, four ice picks, three brushes, three stoppers, a storage bag and a bamboo stand.
This kit contains an ice scoop, four liquor pourers, three stoppers, three jiggers, three shakers, a mixing glass, a Hawthorne strainer, a mesh strainer, a julep strainer, a European mixing spoon, a forked mixing spoon, tweezers, an ice pick, a peeler, a zester, a muddler, a lemon squeezer, a corkscrew, a bottle opener, ice tongs, an ice muddler-mallet, a cocktail booklet and a storage bag.
This kit contains a European mixing spoon, a jigger, a corkscrew, a muddler, two liquor pourers, ice tongs, a Hawthorne strainer, a shaker and a bamboo stand.
This kit contains a jigger, an American mixing spoon, a bottle opener, a Hawthorne strainer, ice tongs, a shaker, recipe cards and a wooden stand.
Best cocktail-making machines
This Bartesian cocktail machine works exactly like a Keurig coffee maker in that you use pods filled with oils, fruit juices, bitters and everything else your chosen cocktail needs, except for the liquor. This is pulled from four giant reservoirs on the Bartesian cocktail maker that you fill with your chosen poison.
This cocktail-focused Margarita machine and blender has settings for several frozen drinks, including margaritas, daiquiris and pina coladas. Once it’s mixed, you and your guests can dispense it into your glasses with a lever.
This slushy maker is the perfect thing for keeping frozen margaritas on deck at your next big party. You can buy it with one, two or three tanks.
This is another great slushy maker for any alcohol-based frozen drink you are craving. It comes in 10-, 20-, 24- and 30-liter capacities.
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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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