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- You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get high-quality bar accessories and tools, but don’t go for the bottom of the barrel, either.
- We’ve rounded up the best bar accessories that you need for your home bar.
- Our picks include bar sets, jiggers, shakers, mixing glasses, and other tools that are as functional as they are beautiful.
Like it or not, your bar cart will say a lot about you when entertaining, and if you’re going to be hosting guests during the evening hours, it’s important to have the best bar accessories and tools available to smooth along the evening’s events, whatever they may be.
If this sounds high-brow, it is. But keep a sloppy, disorganized bar station, and you’re sure to have confused, potentially perturbed guests. No, they might not show it, but they’ll feel it. A bar, after all, must be inviting.
To find the best barware, accessories, and tools, I scoured the Big, booze-loving Apple for bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts, from the stodgiest, most bowtie-bedecked cocktail lounges to the doggiest hole-in-the-wall grills and taverns, asking what I thought was a simple question: What are your go-to, favorite barware brands?
To my surprise, I received a complex variety of answers, but conclusively sided with one bartender’s sentiment that “There are no brands.” Although the bar he works in falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, this particular worldly bartender has held court behind every kind of bar you could imagine, so he’s a good source.
With all our research in mind, we’ve rounded up the best bar accessories, tools, and barware for both big spenders and bargain hunters.
Here are the best bar accessories, tools, and drinkware:
- Best barware sets: Juliska’s Graham Collection and FINEDINE’s Home Barware Set
- Best Boston shakers: Top Shelf Bar Supply and Cocktail Kingdom’s Koriko
- Best cobbler shakers: Juliska’s Graham shaker and Cocktail Kingdom’s Usagi Weighted Cobbler Shaker
- Best jiggers: Cocktail Kingdom’s Stainless Steel and Oxo’s SteeL
- Best mixing glasses: Crafthouse by Fortessa’s Crystal Mixing Glass and Hiware’s Mixing Glass
- Best mixing spoons: Crafthouse by Fortessa’s Mixing Spoon and Hiware’s bar spoon
- Best muddlers: Crafthouse by Fortessa’s solid walnut muddler and Carter’s Stainless Steel Muddler
- Best muddling and juicing set: Crate & Barrel’s Mixologist Cocktail Tool Kit
- Best citrus juicer: Chef’n’s FreshForce Citrus Juicer
- Best ice cube tray: Tovolo’s Oversized silicone ice cube trays
- Best ice buckets: Crafthouse by Fortessa’s Stainless Steel and Fortune Candy’s Double-Walled and Insulated
- Best glassware: Juliska, Schott Zwiesel, Libbey, and Bormioli Rocco
Read on in the slides below to learn more about our top picks.
The best high-end bar set
Why you’ll love it: The Graham Collection from Juliska paired with the shaker from the same line is nearly as decadent as it gets for bar sets.
I tend to shy away from recommending barware sets because, as with most kits, attention to quality is often forgone for one component or another. That being said, you can find plenty of good bar sets for reasonable prices in our buying guide. Should you want something more high-end, check out the Graham Collection from Juliska.
It’s a simple but oh-so-swanky little set that offers just about everything you need. Though it’d have been nice if the company had included the shaker, a bartender’s knife, and a wine key, just about everything else is there.
The set contains a strainer, a jigger, a bartender’s knife, ice tongs, a mixing spoon, a bottle opener, and an elegant little stand to hold it all on display.
But, keep in mind: If you’re hunting for a set anywhere between about $50 and $200, we suggest you make up your bar set piecemeal. A bit of selectivity will go a long way toward establishing a dependable set of bar tools you could pass on to your children.
Pros: High-end design, great quality, includes many essential bar accessories and tools
Cons: Expensive, missing the shaker
The best affordable bar set
Why you’ll love it: The FINEDINE Home Barware Set is an affordable little bar kit, but it has most of the essentials to get you through any party.
There is a sweet spot with buying barware sets. Spend too little, and you run the risk of buying flimsy, rust-prone junk. Spend too much, and you’ll probably end up with a few good things and a few not-so-good things, which is money not terribly well spent.
For a decent set at an affordable price, the 14-piece FINEDINE Home Barware Set is a great buy so long as you make sure to thoroughly clean and dry it after use.
The quickest way to send anything stainless steel to an early grave is to put it away dirty or wet, and that goes double for cheap stainless steel.
The set includes 15- and 30-ounce shaker tins, a Hawthorne cocktail strainer, a 0.75- and 1.25-ounce double cocktail jigger, a 7-inch Flat bottle opener, six pour spouts, a pair of 2-ounce stainless steel shot glasses, and a red knob bar spoon.
Pros: Affordable, has almost every bar accessory you need, stainless steel
Cons: May not last forever if you’re not careful
The best Boston shaker
Why you’ll love it: Top Shelf Bar Supply’s Bost Shaker is not going to let you down when it comes time to whip up a cocktail or two or 10.
First things first: There are three “traditional” types of cocktail shakers. The three-piece, or cobbler, is the simplest of all, and fairly self-explanatory. Load it up, shake, pull off the small lid, and pour.
It’s elementary in that there’s less risk of splattering your walls with lime juice if you don’t get a good seal, but it also doesn’t enable as much force as a simple two-piece Boston shaker. It’s also about half the price of a cobbler shaker of equal quality, which is important to note: You want a shaker that’s functional.
Top Shelf Bar Supply’s Boston Shaker is a definitive bartender favorite, but if you want to save a bit, Cocktail Kingdom’s Koriko Shaker is a comparable and perfectly serviceable alternative that has a loyal following of bartenders, and I’ve had no complaints with mine at home.
Spend much less than $15 or $20 on a shaker, though, and you run the risk of subpar quality stainless steel that with just the least bit of neglect lends itself all too easily to rust. Cheap steel shakers can also freeze shut so tightly that you can easily find yourself mired in frustration and despair, wondering if your precious concoction will ever pass your lips before it devolves into a tepid soup. Heaven forbid.
Pros: Affordable, reliable, simple to use
Cons: Some prefer glass for a top piece, higher grade stainless steel, or both (18/10)