Homemade Cocktails

Homemade cocktails toolkit.

Homemade cocktails. Everything you need.

Your home bar checklist and cocktail tool kit.

If you’ve always wanted to mix up a cocktail from the corner of your living room like they do in the swanky movies from the fifties and sixties, you can turn your personal mixology lab into a reality with only a few pieces of equipment along with some glasses and, of course, your liquor and mixers. Your homemade cocktails will rival those you order from a bar.

Bar Equipment

Before you even pour your first cocktail, you’ll already look impressive with your bar equipment. You can find all of these pieces as a set if you’re starting from scratch. And here is what they will do for you…

  • Ice bag: Put cubes in your ice bag and club the cubes into cracked pieces, which offer more surface area for cold shaken cocktails.
  • Bar spoon: Use your bar spoon to stir cocktails. For example, stirring – rather than shaking – your martinis and Manhattans makes them colder and silkier.
  • Muddler: This is the tool you see bartenders using to crush fruit at the bottom of a cocktail. The ideal way to incorporate fresh fruit is by crushing cut pieces in the mixing glass.
  • Jigger: Yes, these names are colorful, but a jigger is only a measuring tool with a ¾ oz measurement on one end and 1 ¼ oz on the other. A heavy pour isn’t always your friend.
  • Cocktail shaker: The professional preference is the Boston shaker, which allows your mixtures to strain quickly, reducing dilution for a tastier sip.
  • Strainer: Of course, you’ll need a strainer to strain the cocktails from your shaker.
  • Ice cube trays: Try the trays that make big, dense cubes that won’t dilute your cocktail while keeping it cold.

You’ve probably come up with some ideas for simple cocktails after reading about bar equipment. You’ll really be inspired after reading about cocktail ingredients. When stocking your bar, keep your liquor in a cool space without direct sunlight. While liquor keeps for a long time, the lower the liquid level, the more likely the air in the bottle will leach the flavors of your liquor. Better drink it quickly! Vermouth should be refrigerated because it is a wine, which is also why you should drink it quickly.

For a wide range of cocktails, you really only need a handful of liquors for your home bar…

Vodka: Vodka is the workhorse of the liquor cabinet, used in basic drinks such as vodka tonics, screwdrivers, and the vodka martini.

Cognac: For sidecars, brandy milk punches, crustas, daisies, and smashes.

White Rum: For daiquiris and mojitos.

Gin: For martinis, gin, and tonics, Tom Collinses, etc.

Bourbon: For Manhattans, old fashioned, and whiskey sours.

Tequila: For margaritas, sunrises, and Palomas. The best tequilas are made from 100 percent agave; check the label.

Mixers

Cointreau: A bar essential — clean, full of natural orange flavor, and not too sweet. 

Red Vermouth: For Manhattans.

White Vermouth: Essential for truly sublime martinis.

Bitters: Bitters are used not to make the drink taste bitter but to help other flavors blend.

For cocktail parties, allow for a pound of ice for each guest, as well as three drinks, three glasses, and three napkins per person for a two-hour party. 

To make fantastic, creative cocktails, there’s no need to stock your bar with 12 brands of expensive vodka and a rainbow’s worth of brightly colored liqueurs. A half-dozen base spirits and a few mixers will not only allow you to turn out a surprising number of cocktail classics but also give you enough to tinker with to come up with some cool drinks of your own. 

glasswear

For everyday use in your home bar, you only need six or eight of each of these three basic types: a short glass, a tall glass, and a stem.If you plan to serve wine at your parties, invest in eight to 12 basic stemmed wineglasses, either a single shape that is appropriate for both red and white or separate sets of glasses for each.

The short glass

For liquor that’s served neat or on the rocks. A heavy-bottomed glass is best, so you can muddle in it (think old-fashioneds and caipirinhas). Six to eight ounces is the ideal size — not so big that a slug of Scotch gets lost in it, but not too small to fit some big ice cubes. (You can serve wine in this, too.)

The tall glass

For drinks that have bubbles or a lot of juice in them. You’ll need a 10- to 12-ounce glass, one that’s narrow enough to preserve the carbonation in a mojito or a highball, but wide enough for a stack of ice cubes.

The stem

For cocktails and other cold drinks served without ice (the stem keeps your warm hand away from the cold drink). A standard martini glass is good, but a rounded five- to six-ounce Champagne coupe is better — it spills less, it suits other mixed drinks, and it has a nice, retro style to it.

White wine glass

A tulip-shaped stemmed glass is the classic vessel for white wine. If we had to pick just one as our favorite all-purpose glass, this would be it. The best versions feel steady in the hand when they’re full of liquid and also when they’re empty.

For cocktails and other cold drinks served without ice (the stem keeps your warm hand away from the cold drink). A standard martini glass is good, but a rounded five- to six-ounce Champagne coupe is better — it spills less, it suits other mixed drinks, and it has a nice, retro style to it.

Red wine glass

This glass tends to have a more swelling profile, with a little extra room in the bowl for  vapors and aromas to collect. (Supersize wineglasses, however, are overkill.) 

Stemless glass

A stemless wine goblet performs virtually the same as a stemmed glass, but the wine may warm up as the heat from your hand transfers to the glass.

Fortified wine glass

Because dessert wines and fortified wines, such as sherry, port, and Madeira, tend to be richer and more alcoholic, they are best sipped from a slightly smaller glass, proportioned to a smaller pour. The inward taper focuses the intense aromas.

Champagne flute

A tall flute is the most festive way to serve sparkling wines. The surface encourages the formation of bubbles, while the shape accentuates their ascent. With bubbly, there is no shortage of vapor being released, so an inward-tapering lip isn’t necessary.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email