Sure, there’s a time and a place for tossing vodka and orange juice into a glass and calling it a day, but every now you might want to get a little more inventive. Something a little more… crafty, perhaps. If you’re considering making any sort of craft cocktail, you’re going to need some barware.
As the name suggests, barware are the tools that allow professional bartenders mix those stunning craft cocktails. The right set will allow you to create more involved concoctions—from an Old Fashioned to a Martini—with a professional twist, right from the comfort of your home.
Most barware sets include a jigger to measure out ingredients, a shaker to put them into, a bar spoon for stirring and a strainer. Various sets will add more specialized pieces, but the fundamentals remain the same. Now, you just need some practice to make that Don Draper-worthy Old Fashioned. Here are four of our favorite sets to get you started.
1. Prince of Scots 10-Piece Barware Set
Both stylish and practical, this five-piece barware set from Prince of Scots has everything you need to elevate your at-home cocktail making skills. The whole set is crafted in a stunning copper that’s sure to be eye-catching. Additionally, the hammered texture will feel nice and sturdy in your hands, providing a good grip as you dole out each ingredient. With a jigger to measure, a strainer for pouring and even ice tongs, you’ll be well on your way to making quality drinks.
Pros: Complete set gives you everything you need in a package that’s both stylish and functional.
Cons: Color and hammered details might not be everyone’s personal style choice.
2. ALOONO 11-Piece Barware Set
ALOONO’s 11-piece barware set is just as well-equipped as your local watering hole, providing just about every single tool you could need, including a strainer and a muddler. Made with high-quality stainless steel, each item in the set is forged to last. The set is nothing if not comprehensive: For your investment, you’ll get two shakers (18 and 28 oz), a hawthorne strainer, julep strainer, conical strainer, a jigger, muddler, bar spoon, an ice tong and two liquor pourers. The cocktail shaker resembles the model you’re probably used to seeing professional bartenders use, so you know in your good hands.
Pros: A comprehensive set gives you everything you possibly need.
Cons: Most home bartenders will not likely need every piece in this set.
3. Koviti 12-Piece Barware Set
Complete with a starter recipe guide, this barware set from Koviti is complete set that ensures you’ll be fully prepared to make just about any kind of cocktail. The only missing thing is the spirits you’ll need to make a cocktail. The set is equipped with a shaker, three kinds of strainers, jigger, mixing spoon, muddler, ice tong, and two liquid pourers. Additionally, its stainless-steel construction provides a long-lasting and durable pieces that won’t easily fall apart. It’s a set that’s built to last.
Pros: The complete package, it’ll be a long time before you have to buy a barware set again.
Cons: Experienced home bartenders will likely not need the recipe book.
4. Mixology 10-Piece Barware Set
This 10-piece barware set has the tools needed for those who want to begin experimenting with cocktail-making at home, including a strainer, bar spoon, jigger and cocktail shaker—all in a sturdy and elegant Bamboo stand. As a bonus, two pouring spouts will help you nail that perfect portion every time.
Pros: A stylish set that’s great for beginners.
Cons: Some might not like the built-in strainer included in the shaker.