The 10-Bottle Bar - Bar Tools & Glassware
So if you've read my theory, the idea is that you can start a quality bar at home with just 10 bottles of spirits plus a handful of bitters, syrups and other bar accoutrement. This page covers the bar tools and the glassware that you will need to complete your home bar.
I recommend that you try a Boston shaker. It won't affect the taste of your cocktail result, but most bartenders these days prefer the Boston shaker over the traditional cocktail shaker. Boston shakers seem to be in vogue right now amongst bartenders and the those who wish to be hip.
I like the Boston because the strainer included at the top of most traditional shakers is not fine enough to strain smaller pieces of ice from the drink. So I poured my cocktails from a traditional shaker with the help of a strainer (see below) until i eventually got a Boston shaker.
Whichever shaker you get, be sure to get at least a 24 ounce model.
Regardless of which shaker you use, I recommend that you get one or possibly two strainers for your home bar.
The hawthorn strainer is a bar standard. It fits directly over the top of your shaker, and the coils adjust to the width of your shaker's rim to strain the ice from your drink.
The fine mesh strainer is also nice to have to strain even the smallest pieces of ice from your drink. If you shake your drink for 10 seconds (as you should, at a minimum) then you're going to get your share of small ice pieces in your shaker. This tool will strain even the smallest pieces of ice from your drink.
I had used the traditional two-sided jigger for a number of years. It works just fine and measures as you would want it to do.
But then I started noticing bartenders using those Oxo mini measuring cups like my wife had in the kitchen. I have never gone back to the old-school jigger since. Whereas most jiggers are .75 oz. on one side and 1.5 oz. on the other, the cup lets you pour out any amount in nearly any measurement that you would want (tbsp, ml, oz, cups, etc.).
The barspoon is nice to have for stirred drinks (Manhattans, for example, are not to be shaken). They also are very handy for swizzles - which are drinks that you stir by spinning the spoon between your hands (think Boyscouts trying to start a fire) inside of your shaker or mixing glass.
There's not a lot to think about here. You see three styles of barspoon that I own. Any of these styles will work just fine. The spoons with the threaded handles are easier for some people to swizzle with - but I have managed just fine with all three.
The muddler is handy to have around the bar for those cocktail recipes that call for you to muddle an ingredient (say a lime or a sprig of mint or a spice pod) to release the oils from that ingredient.
Muddling is often done right in the bottom of your cocktail shaker or mixing glass. But sometimes its handy to have a pestle around as well to muddle your ingredients.
The plain wooden muddler works best with mint and other spices, while I prefer to use the textured head muddler for citrus.
Fruit Peeler & Stripper
More and more cocktail recipes call for a piece of citrus peel either on the rim of the glass or tossed into the cocktail itself. When you shave the peel off a citrus fruit, the peel releases some of those delicious smelling oils both into the air as you sip the drink and also onto the surface of the drink itself.
The citrus squeezer is one of your best friends.
As I discuss on this page, whenever a cocktail recipe calls for a citrus fruit juice it should ALWAYS be squeezed straight from the fruit into your shaker.
Fresh-squeezed citrus juice will always taste better than pre-packaged juice, and squeezing also gives you the extra aroma from the citrus oils in your drink.
Perfect Ice Cube Trays
The "perfect" ice cube refers to the fact that the ice is in the shape of a solid cube. The cube allows you to have both a solid block of ice and the maximum surface area from this block to chill your drink. Perfect ice cubes are beautiful and classy-looking in the the glass as well.
Perfect ice cube trays are an optional item in the 10-Bottle Bar, but one that will make a positive impact on your old-fashioned cocktail to be sure.
The double old-fashioned glass is used to serve the majority of the "down" drinks in the 10-Bottle Bar. It should have a liquid capacity of between 10 and 12 ounces.
The long drink glass will be taller and thinner than the double old-fashioned glass. This glass will be used for the longer drinks such as a Pimm's Cup or a Mojito or a Singapore Sling. It should be able to hold between 12 and 14 ounces of liquid.
The up glass is a workhorse in any bar. Martinis, Manhattans and any number of other cocktails are served "up". You should be sure to stock one or both of these styles in your bar.
The coupe glass is very trendy right now. It tends to hold a little less liquid (6-8 ounces is common), but can be very ornate and lovely.
The martini glass is a classic up glass that many people may already have in their home. These vary in size (between 6 and 12 ounces) - but most are between 8 and 10 ounces in volume.