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Cocktail Bar Equipment For Beginners

April 22, 2020 by Jonathan Paxley

What Cocktail Making Kit Do I Need?

So to debunk a few myths.

Mixology or cocktail making is not a dark art. With the right kit, such as this great cocktail-making kit from our friends at The Cocktail Society, and knowing the essential bartender tools, a beginner can knock out some great tasting cocktails.

Cocktail making equipment is not high brow, difficult to get hold of equipment that needs special training to use.

Good, glad we have got that out of the way.

So in this post we are going to explain what the essential bar kit is to have when starting out making cocktails.

If the kit is essential – we’ll tell you. Some is  nice to have but you can survive without it.

Essential Cocktail Equipment

Cocktail Shaker

This is essential. Cocktail shakers are very important and are the key mixing tool for great cocktails. There are many different types of shaker.

We won’t go into these here but check out this complete guide to shakers. To help you pick a style.

We recommend for the absolute beginner, a Manhattan Shaker, as they are the easiest to use. It will avoid you looking like a fool and making a mess first time.

In essence, a cocktail shaker is enclosed tin or toughened glass where you put ingredients and ice to fully shake up and integrate ingredients into cocktails.

Hawthorn Strainer

Again, the strainer is essential. It’s less important if you pick a Manhattan Shaker but vital if you pick a Boston Shaker set.

We have put together a highly entertaining and exceptionally riveting guide to strainers to help you on your way.

The strainer is important as it’s the first defence against ice, fruit and other detritus getting into your drink after shaking.

It is a strainer that fits on top of cocktail shakers or mixing glasses.


Jiggers are a must. Vital. You cannot do without one.

The Jigger is the name for the tool that bartenders use to measure ingredients (you know the small metal cups that come in different sizes)

These come in various sizes but the key ones are 25ml and 50ml. This allows you to do all measurements from recipes.

Non-Essential Cocktail Equipment

Bar Spoon

So a bar spoon is not any spoon.

It’s a long-handled metal tool with a 2.5ml spoon at one end and a small silver disk at the other (this is needed for techniques such as layering and stirring effectively.

Now, you can get away with a regular spoon or similar if required.

As a beginner, you are going to be using the spoon for stirring mainly. But it will be much harder to do this effectively without a bar spoon.

Fine Strainer

The fine strainer…a mini sieve that is a bartenders friend when mixing top quality cocktails.

While a hawthorn strainer will remove 95% of the hard elements from a cocktail, a fine strainer takes out that extra 5% for smooth cocktails.

While not strictly essential, making cocktails without one will affect the drink quality.

Imagine a beautiful martini with tiny ice crystals floating around in it. Or worse still a fruit martini with tiny bits of fruit swimming around.

In our eyes that’s ruined the drink.


Speed Pourer

These little beauties are essential in professional bars where speed is of the essence.

At home, although you will look slick with a set of speed pourers in your bottles at the cocktail party, they are not vital.

These are not a must-have although we recommend paying a few extra quid to get yourself some.


So again…nut essential for the home bartender but you will need an adequate replacement.

A muddler is a small tool used like a pestle to mash and crush fruits and herbs pre shaking or churning.

It’s a really useful tool that you would use a lot (Mojitos need muddling) but you can use other items.

Rolling pins or pestles will fill the void.

For all of your muddling needs have a look at this post here.

Mixing Glass Or Tin

Most shaking sets come with the mixing glass or tin.

This is a cup-shaped tool that is used for stirring cocktails. Check out this post on cocktails that you stir.

It’s important but there are tons of replacements around the kitchen. Anything with a slightly wider top and that holds about a pint of liquid will do.



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