If you’re anything like us you have probably dabbled in making the odd cocktail here and there at home either for yourself or for friends, however making a quick margarita is one thing where as making a Brazilian Caipirinha is quite something else and going to require some specific cocktail making equipment.
Generally when people catch the cocktail bug, the first thing they do is buy a complete cocktail set, however whilst there are couple of kits that we do like, buying a kit simply means that you’re going to need to upgrade your kit over the coming months as your find their weakness.
What You Need
For a great cocktail and home kit you’re you going to need a few items and whilst you can probable start with just shaker, a jigger and a strainer, you will find that you kit grows over time. Below we have outlined the equipment that you should be buying and more importantly, what to look for in great equipment.
The Shaker is the most important part of your cocktail making equipment and something that you need to think about before you buy. We have bought cheap shakers that do come apart after you have mixed your cocktail or shakers that do not quite fit together meaning that your cocktail juice ends up spraying all over the place.
Generally there are two styles that you should be aware of, the Boston and the Cobbler with the Boston requiring more practice and finesse and therefore more suited to professionals (needs a separate strainer) rather that home cocktail makers, however they don’t leak whilst the Cobbler which comes with a strainer built into the design and therefore uses a cap is much easier to use but does often leak thus spraying you cocktail juice all over the place. Buy the Boston and learn how to shake.
The Jigger – What’s a Jigger, it’s the small liquid measuring glass the helps to measure out the precise ingredients that you will need for each cocktail. Generally speaking, cocktails require the precise amounts for each of the liquids that you making them with and without a way to measure this, your guessing in the wind.
You have a choice of Metal, Glass or Plastic construction, however generally we find that metal means that it’s too difficult to the see the precise measurements, glass too fragile and this leaves plastic which luckily proves perfect for our needs.
Strainer – The Strainer – Obviously it depends on whether you’re buying the Cobbler or the Boston type of shaker given that the Cobbler will have a strainer built into the design whereas the Boston will need a separate strainer to be used.
Again you have choice of strainer’s but you’re probably going to need two different styles one finer than the other, however make sure that you buy a strainer that will fit you’re design (we have done this in the past) and more importantly buy metal rather than plastic as plastic tends to last longer over the longer term.
Mixing Glass – If we’re honest, you don’t need a mixing glass as you can do all your mixing directly in a pint glass or similar drinking glass, however if you want to buy all the kit, get yourself a glass or lead-free crystal mixing glass with a heavy base and pour spout which will not only look nicer, but also work far better.
Bar Spoon – Another item that you’re going to need if you want to be able to stir you cocktail all the way through. There is nothing worse that only part stirring your cocktail part of the way through, however if you’re going to buy a Cocktail Spoon then make sure that you buy one that is at least 30 centimetres long and secondly made of steel.
Muddler – Another tool that you will want to use especially if you plan on crushing citrus fruit or leaves into your cocktails and another item that has a million different designs that some people like and other hate. Our advice, do your research and test out a few before you buy.Personally we like the solid feeling of wood and solid wood with a flat base to really punch in and crunch up that fruit, although our barman loved light metal as he finds it easier to control the muddler.
Best Cocktail Set
Winware Boston Cocktail Shaker Home Set
If you’re looking for a great cocktail set to use at home that will give you all the equipment you need for a value for money price tag, the Winware cocktail set is something that you need to look at. Whilst it does not offer everything that you need it does offer quality items that will get you started whilst at the same time allowing you room to upgrade over time. What we really like about this set is that it teaches you to use to the Boston style shaker whilst at the same time allowing you to practice your skills with what is one the easiest cobbler shakers that we have ever used.
The metal shaker comes with a wide opening meaning that the glass portion of shaker easily fits to create the seal. It's easy to use and more importantly, easy split apart once you have mixed your cocktail given that the metal shaker comes with a decent amount of flex.
The kit comes with;
- 30oz Boston Cocktail Shaker including Glass
- 4 Prong Hawthorn Strainer
- 25ml Measure
- 50ml Measure
- 28.5cm Bar Spoon
- Wooden Muddler
Overall it’s a great value for money product that offers superb performance, however it’s not perfect and probably will require some upgrades. Firstly, we hate the measurement glasses as they are hard use and would much prefer a single jigger that offers a range of liquids within the same glass. We also don’t particularly like the wooden muddler given it’s actually quite small and the rounded head really drive me crazy.