If you’re itching to make your favorite cocktails at home, you’re going to need the right tools. (And some booze, of course.) Admittedly, you can get pretty far with gear that you probably already have. If you’re just starting out your cocktail game, a regular shaker pint glass can work wonders. No need to get too fancy with the bar spoon. Sure, a measuring cup can work as a jigger. But, if you’re looking to properly stock your bar cart and take cocktail prep seriously, you’re going to want to invest in the best barware.
For the top-tier at-home bartender, we recommend picking out each individual item. By opting for a custom set of bar tools, you can pick and choose the jiggers, shakers, pairing knives, and more that feel right for you. But, the ease and presentation of a barware or cocktail shaker set are undeniable. A quality bar tool kit can make a great gift for a new homeowner or a burgeoning cocktail aficionado. And if you’re kicking off your own journey, nothing looks better than a stylish bartender kit beside your favorite spirits.
What Bar Tools Do I Need?
Most barware sets include the basics with a handful of additional accouterments. You’ll likely find a jigger, a bar spoon, a muddler, a mixer and/or a shaker, a strainer, and a bottle opener. Some bartender kits also include ice molds, pairing knives, tongs, and more. Ultimately, though, you’ll decide what you need based on the cocktails you like to make. And how you decide to make them. Building all of your cocktails in your glass? You can probably skip the shaker. Got a decent ice maker? You’re probably set. (Just don’t use whiskey stones.)
The Best Cocktail Shaker Sets
These are usually the gold standard when it comes to bartender kits and include the essentials: a shaker, a strainer, a bar spoon, and a jigger. The main differences tend to be in style, shape, and material. Below we’ve picked out several of our favorite cocktail shaker sets to kick off your home bar adventure.
Mixology Bartender Kit
This matte black bartender kit is a great entry-level barware set. In addition to the tools (a shaker, strainer, jigger, bar spoon, bottle opener, and tongs), you’ll get a handsome wooden stand and cheat sheet cocktail cards. It’s a striking bartender kit that makes for a great gift for yourself or the cocktail lover in your life.
Crafthouse by Fortessa Boston Shaker Set
While the Mixology Bartender Kit was a solid budget option, the Crafthouse by Fortessa bar tools are certainly a step up. And that’s reflected in the price. All of the pieces (minus the muddler) are dishwasher safe and built to last. Included in the set are a two-piece Boston shaker, a strainer, muddler, and jigger. Plus, you can upgrade and add on additional bar tools to match your set as you expand your cocktail repertoire.
Aloono Cocktail Shaker Set
This is a seriously sizable cocktail shaker set considering the price. Included in the Aloono kit are a two-piece Boston shaker, a strainer set, jigger, muddler, tongs, bar spoon, and, spirit pourers. It’ll deliver solid performance for years to come with its stainless steel construction. And, the impressive lineup of bar tools means you can seriously test out your bartender skills at home.
Fenton Bar Tool Set
The minimalist design and hanging tool construction is sure to make the Fenton Bar Tool Set stand out on your bar cart. Included in the kit are a jigger, bottle opener, muddler, and strainer along with the sleek cocktail shaker. It pairs well with modern aesthetics and fresh margaritas.
Barillio Elite Mixology Bartender Kit
This bartender kit is another expansive set with just about all the tools you could think of. Along with a cocktail shaker, strainer, jigger, muddler, tongs, and bar spoon you’ll find liquor pourers, wine stoppers, and brushes to keep those pourers neat and clean. Plus, the set is packed well in a bamboo stand that’ll display your complete shaker set.
Whiskey Leatherworks The Traveling Mixologist
Bring your bar on the go with The Traveling Mixologist from Whiskey Leatherworks. Wrapped in this handsome olive canvas and leather roll is all the basics you need to make yourself a decent cocktail on the road. We’re talking a two-piece shaker, set of tumblers, jigger, pairing knife, muddler, strainer, mixing spoon, and wine key. Perfect for car camping or trips to the lake, The Traveling Mixologist is easily the best portable cocktail set we’ve come across. Just don’t forget the booze.
Williams Sonoma Encore Bar Tools Set
Like the Fentone Bar Tool Set above, this bartender kit from Williams Sonoma features a modern hanging stand for its tools. Plus, it tacks on a bar spoon and set of tongs to the list of tools. It’s a bit pricey but it packs in a suite of cocktail tools for a comprehensive set.
The Best Cocktail Sets
Not all cocktails call for a shaker. So, there are some designers who have opted for a more minimal approach to the cocktail sets. We rounded up a few of the best bar tool kits without shakers included.
Old-Fashioned Cocktail Set
Crate and Barrel’s cocktail set is a stunning kit build for fans of Old Fashioneds. It’s a simple, elegant set with a pair of rocks glasses, a mixing glass, a strainer, and bar spoon that doubles as a muddler. Pick out a decent jigger and you’ll be building expertly crafted cocktails in no time.
Rabbit Craft Cocktail Set
This cocktail set is about as “designy” as they get. With just a few tools, you can accomplish all of your bartending needs. The muddler doubles as a reamer, the bowl jigger sits beneath the silicone strainer, the zester/peeler combo looks like it could be a James Bond gadget. It’s a stylish set of cocktail tools that is sure to be a conversation starter.
MOFADO Crystal Cocktail Mixing Glass Set
If all you need is a simple mixing set, this cocktail kit is perfect. For $26 you’ll get the crystal mixing glass, bar spoon, jigger, and strainer. It’s an attractive, versatile set that will have you nailing the basics of a solid cocktail.