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10 Essential Bartender Tools

Discover the 10 bartender tools tools we can’t live without. They’re all easy to find and none are expensive.

Selfie at Anastasia Triantafillou in Rhodes
Move over wine. We’re lazy mixologists now.

We started 2020 with one bottle of liquor and barely any barware. We ended the year with a bar filled with more than 20 bottles of liquor and glasses in all shapes and sizes.

Now that it’s 2023, we go shopping for silver olive picks and different types of vermouth for fun. And our liquor cabinet is literally bulging with bottles. Who are we???

People don’t really change and that’s the case with us. We love things that taste good whether we’re dining at a 2-star Michelin restaurant or cooking in our kitchen. Now we apply this same concept to crafting cocktails.

Lazy mixologists at heart and in real life, we like to craft classic drinks that are easy to make with just a handful of ingredients and basic bar tools. While we have all sorts of mixers and blenders in storage back in Philadelphia, we’ve chosen to keep things simple in our Lisbon apartment.

So, while we’ve purposely avoided purchasing any fancy tools or equipment, we’ve become addicted to buying basic tools to craft cocktails at home. This evolution has been a guilty pleasure during a year filled with lockdowns and trip cancellations.

Necessary Bartender Tools

Gibson Cocktail with Bar Tools
Cheers to lazy mixology!

Crafting classic cocktails at home is easy to do with basic bartender tools. You don’t need expensive gadgets and you probably already have many of the necessary bar tools in your kitchen.

Buy an inexpensive bar took kit if you’re starting from scratch. You’ll want to replace these tools with quality items once you officially join the unofficial lazy mixology club.

We recommend buying the specific bartender tools that you need and supplementing as you go. This approach will allow you to spend your money on important things like top shelf liquor and pretty glasses instead.

1. Jigger

While it’s not the sexiest aspect of crafting a drink, properly measuring liquor is an integral aspect of mixology. This two-sided stainless steel jigger is a great tool for any lazy mixologist looking to follow a cocktail recipe. Your drinks will taste better when and if you use a proper jigger.

2. Boston Cocktail Shaker

This two-piece Boston shaker is ideal for both shaking and stirring drinks. Thanks to its durable construction, it doesn’t drip or make a mess. Lazy mixologists can start drinking their daiquiris and margaritas sooner without spillage to clean up. As a bonus, a premium shaker negates the need for a separate cocktail mixing glass.

Lazy mixologists can start drinking their daiquiris and margaritas sooner without spillage to clean up. As a bonus, a premium shaker negates the need for a separate cocktail mixing glass.

3. Bar Spoon

A long bar spoon is a must for any lazy mixologist who wants to stir cocktails with panache. This ‘Japanese style’ bar spoon, with its twisty stem and blunt end for simple muddling, is just a little bit better than the average bar spoon.

4. Cocktail Strainer

Straining cocktails is often the last step in a recipe. In other words, it’s the step that separates you from your first sip.

Even though most shakers have built-in strainers, using a stand-alone strainer provides a cleaner pour. Since lazy mixologists don’t like cleaning messes, this is a good tool to have in the arsenal.

5. Cocktail Muddler

Muddling brings drinks like Mojitos and Caipirinhas to life. We like to use a wooden cocktail muddler without ridges on the bottom. Not only is this type of muddler both safe to use and easy to clean, you won’t lose any herb bits stuck on the bottom.

6. Hand Juicer

You don’t need a fancy juicer to make cocktails at home. In fact, we prefer using a simple hand juicer to squeeze lemon and lime juice when we craft a Bee’s Knees or Gimlet in our kitchen.

Disclosure: We might feel otherwise if we were crafting dozens of drinks each night. Until that happens, anything fancier would just mean spending money that could be better spent on cocktail ingredients.

7. Peeler

A good peeler is invaluable for creating cocktail garnishes. You probably have one in your kitchen utility drawer. If not, get one now.

8. Paring Knife

A decent paring knife comes in handy for making precise peels and cuts. We use one all the time to make orange twists, lemon twists and lime twists. If you don’t have one, you need one. You can also use it to perform non-cocktail kitchen tasks.

9. Jumbo Ice Cube Tray

Have you noticed that Old Fashioned and Negroni cocktails look cooler when they’re served with jumbo ice cubes? We have and they do. More importantly, your drink will cool faster and stay cold longer when you drink them with jumbo ice cubes at home.

10. Waiters Corkscrew

A waiters corkscrew comes in handy when we’re so lazy that we’d rather open a bottle of wine than craft a cocktail. The same applies when a wine club delivery arrives or when we’re in the mood to drink wine with our pasta.

We recommend keeping a few corkscrews on hand in case you misplace one. It’s not just lazy, it’s smart.

About The Authors

About The Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.


We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Original Publication Date: February 7, 2021

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