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All the Best Home-Bar Essentials We’ve Written About on the Strategist

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Stocking your home bar is actually a bit more complicated than just getting your booze selection squared away. If you need some help on the spirits front, Punch features editor Leslie Pariseau has this advice: “When I build a home bar from scratch, I always go back to the canon of classic cocktails and stock the spirits and modifiers that support their blueprints.” She and Punch senior editor Chloe Frechette suggest keeping a whiskey, a London dry gin, a blanco tequila, a mezcal, a vodka, rum (both an aged and a white), a dry vermouth, a sweet vermouth, Campari, a sherry, Italian red bitters, and an amaro or two on hand to cover all your bases. Once you’ve gone to the liquor store and got your booze basics covered, you’ll need more than just a cocktail shaker. Below, we’ve compiled a list of all the expert-recommended bar essentials we’ve written about on the Strategist — from tools, to bitters and syrups, to ice trays and swizzle sticks, to glasses, to cocktail books.


In our at-home bar-tools guide, we identified several basics every bartender should have: a shaker, a bar spoon, a jigger, a strainer, and a mixing glass. Instead of shopping for each item individually, Johnny Swet, the owner of Brooklyn’s Grand Republic Cocktail Club and a bar consultant for Jimmy at the James and the Skylark, recommends Cocktail Kingdom’s set, which includes just about everything you need.

If you’re not totally comfortable using a Boston-style shaker set like the one included in the set above, a cobbler shaker may be the better choice because it’s easier to hold and has a built-in strainer in the lid. Karen Lin, a certified sommelier, sake expert, and the executive general manager of Tsukimi, suggests this shaker from Japanese barware brand Yukiwa. “The steel is very sturdy, and the shape fits perfectly in my hands,” she says. “It is also designed well, so you can take it apart easily to clean.”

Any bartender worth their salt will tell you that freshly squeezed fruit juice is the only way to go when mixing drinks, which is why “having a fantastic juicer on hand is a must,” says Ivy Mix, the owner of Leyenda in Brooklyn and bottle shop Fiasco! and the author of Spirits of Latin America. Grand Army’s beverage director, Brendan Biggins, and head bartender, Robby Dow, call this one the “best of the best.”