Cocktail and bartending starter kit

Mixing great cocktails at home does not have to be complicated. Many start by using a protein-shaker as a mixing glass, a set of sushi chopstick as a bar spoon, and a wooden cooking spoon as a muddler and that is totally okay. But, if you have caught the craft cocktail bug and want more, like making amazing drinks for yourselves and friends, it’s time to consider your tools.

Do-it-yourself bartenders often buy all-inclusive sets, but these tend to be cheap or made more for looks than function. You will get better value and quality for your money buying individual tools, as no manufacturer makes the best in every category. So if you want to take your cocktail game to the next level, you should upgrade your barware, both for the quality of your cocktails and the picture you present to your guests. We have put together a list of the essential barware and tools you need.

Cocktail shaker for beginners

It’s possible to stir most drinks in almost any vessel, as long as it’s large enough. However, many classic cocktails require shaking and for that the original two piece Boston Shake is a must. It doesn’t cost a fortune and it’s easy to use. It consists of a glass and metal container that fit over each other to create a seal before shaking. The glass section is really handy for drinks that need stirring and you can see what you are mixing. Some even comes with measures on the side.
Cocktail shakers, one with measurements, one with build in strainer and a cocktail shaker in plastic

What to look for in a cocktail shaker:

  • Almost all Boston Shakers comes with toughened glass, but lookout for the super cheap models as these are made of thinner glass which breaks easier.
  • If buying second-hand keep an eye on the edge of the glass for chips showing up. They could prevent the glass from sealing properly and at worse cause the shaker to separate or even break when you least expect it.
  • Measurements on the mixing glass are a convenient feature, but remember to check that they include both oz and ml. This will make following recipes easier later on.
  • Quick strain is a neat feature, but often cost a bit more and it require a bit more technique in operating, however you save money, as you don’t have to buy a strainer.
  • Examine the shaker carefully. Some mixing tins are fitted with a re-enforced base, often in the form of a spot welded on, which for the skilled bartenders will affect the way the tin spins in the air, as it moves the center of gravity. Our advice is to try different shakers before selecting the perfect on for you.

It’s possible to find good quality clear plastic Boston glasses, which still have a good weight to them and are far more durable than their glass counterparts. These are also often cheaper and perfect for practicing bartending flair without the risk of breakage, if you by accident should drop the shaker . In general, an expensive cocktail shaker doesn’t mean that it’s better. If you’re paying prices that are anything above $30, you will be paying for the designer name and the looks.