The Gift Guide for the Aspiring Bartender

To make the perfect drink, you need the right gear.

Making cocktails
Getty Images

Looking to become a better mixologist, or know someone who is? Here's the gear that'll get you start on the path to enlightened inebriation.

1 of 16
Yarai
Yarai mi glass

Larger and more balanced than a pint glass, and with a pour spout, the Yarai mi glass will inspire you to upgrade your cocktail stirring from a finger swirled in the booze to an elegant spoon spinning the liquid.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
2 of 16
OXO
Hawthorne Strainer

The downside of the Boston shaker is that it requires a separate strainer. But shakers are useful, and they make you feel like a real bartender. Plus, they're also great for straining ice out of stirred drinks.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
3 of 16
asdf
RSVP Endurance stainless steel 3-inch conical strainer

Sometimes a Hawthorne strainer doesn’t filter out everything. For that, you need a fine mesh strainer, which will stop even the smallest bits of ice from getting into any drink served up.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
4 of 16
asdf
Cynar

Cynar—that’s CHEE-nar—comes from artichokes and 12 other herbs and plants, makes for a mean spritz, and delights with bitterness. Use it in place of Campari for a fun variation on a negroni

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
5 of 16
asdf
AxeSickle pour spouts

Need to get the Cynar out of the bottle more quickly? Throw one of these in the bottle and the liquid will flow smoothly rather than glug haltingly. A tiny cap on a hinge keeps bugs and dust out.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
6 of 16
Cocktail Kingdom
Japanese-Style Jigger

If the utilitarian cuteness of the Oxo measuring cup isn't your style, or if you want to look fancy when you're making cocktails, this is the jigger for you. Made of stainless steel, it has markings on the inside for smaller measurements than its 1- and 2-ounce cones.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
7 of 16
Bodum
Bodum Pavina 8.5-Ounce Double Wall Glasses

From your coffee in the morning to your whiskey at night (that's the order you're drinking them in, right?), these glasses have you covered—and your table ring-free. They'll keep hot drinks hot, cold drinks cold, and your hands around the glasses the temperature your hands were to begin with.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
8 of 16
Cocktail Kingdom
Cato Muddler

Smash fruit and sugar to your heart's content with this muddler, made of ipe, a wood from South America so hard and dense that it has the same fire resistance rating as concrete and steel.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
9 of 16
Kuhn Rikon
Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler

Sometimes, the most basic version of a tool is the best. That's the case with this Swiss peeler, whose only bonus feature is a potato eye remover—for all those times when you're really making a drink from scratch, including the vodka in it.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
10 of 16
Usagi
Usagi Heavyweight Cobbler Shaker

In 1884, Brooklynite (of course) Edward Hauck patented the cobbler shaker, that familiar three-piece set. With one container for mi, a top with a strainer, and a small lid to cover that strainer during shaking, it's a bartending classic, well-suited to home mixologists and pros alike.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
11 of 16
Top Shelf Bar Supply
Set of Two Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins

Before Hauck's version, the Boston shaker prevailed, and it's stuck around through today. These two tins together become a Boston shaker, which is essentially just two cups—a large one and a small one that get wedged together. Some bartenders use a metal base and a mi glass; others use all metal, like this version. Either way, Boston shakers are easier to clean than their three-piece counterparts, and, when used properly, tend to leak less. .

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
12 of 16
Akagawa
Stainless Steel Teardrop Barspoon

Shakers are great, but there are some drinks that are meant to be stirred, like old-fashioneds. An elegantly long-handled stirring spoon will do the job better than a clunky regular spoon, swirling the liquid around the ice so it's blended and chilled just so.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
13 of 16
OXO
Miniature Measuring Cup

Sure, you can eyeball it, adding a splash or capful of vermouth to your martini. But why not be more precise? A double-sided jigger does the trick, as does this adorable miniature measuring cup, which has the added benefit of markings in tablespoons, ounces, and milliliters. While the plastic measuring cup doesn't boast metal's odor resistance, that shouldn't be a problem, since it's dishwasher-safe.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
14 of 16
Chef'n
Juicer

Until your corner store starts stocking seedless lemon and when everyone has the grip strength of an "American Ninja Warrior" competitor, a juicer will be better than hands at squeezing citrus.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
15 of 16
Tovolo
Spherical Ice Mold (Two)

Spheres of ice melt have less surface area than the same amount of ice shaped in a block, so they melt more slowly and prevent your drink from getting overly diluted. Plus they look damn cool. Price:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
16 of 16
Basil Hayden
Bottles We Love

High West American Prairie Bourbon: Affordable bourbon shouldn’t taste this delicious, it’s dangerous. But , a blend of 2- to 13-year whiskeys, is smooth, sweet, and needs no ice.

: Can't decide between Scotch or bourbon? This smooth, triple distilled single malt offers the best of both spirits, thanks to aging in bourbon casks.

Anchor Junipero Gin: This crisp and deeply floral gin will light up any martini, negroni, or glass of tonic water.

Old Overholt: Old Overholt is the perfect good-enough rye—a whiskey that's aggressively decent, sufficient, and every other word you'd say when you're trying to come up with a better adjective than "all right."

: A more refined version of the famously peaty scotch doesn't lose that ferocity. At $125, it's for best friends only.

: Start with good old Kentucky rye, blend with Canadian Rye, and add a little California port. The result is a dark, silky whiskey with a sweet-but-not-too-sweet finish.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below