The Best Barware for Making Cocktails at Home | Reviews by Wirecutter

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Whether you’re outfitting your first home bar or you just want to up your cocktail game, having the right tools for the job will set you up for success. The good news is you don’t need to spend a fortune to make great cocktails at home. We’ve interviewed some of the top bartenders in the country and tested an array of items since 2013 to find the best tools for your home bar.

Though it might seem more convenient to buy all-inclusive bar-tool sets, the majority tend to be cheaply made or designed more for their looks than for functionality. You’ll get better value and quality for your money by buying individual tools, because no manufacturer makes the best in every category. This guide provides recommendations for anyone who wants to outfit a stylish and functional bar at home, with options for every skill level.

Michael Sullivan is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter who has reviewed all kinds of kitchen equipment and tableware. Previously, he worked for several years in the restaurant industry, and part of that time was spent as a barback and bartender in New York City. Nick Guy is a senior staff writer and former bartender who wrote our original guide in 2013. And Emily Han is an experienced cocktail-recipe developer, educator, and consultant who contributed to our 2015 update.

Over the years, we’ve also solicited expert opinions from several well-regarded professionals. They include:

You don’t need a lot of equipment or to spend an exorbitant amount of money to make great cocktails at home. Alex Day and David Kaplan, co-authors (along with Nick Fauchald) of Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, note, “You can spend an absolute fortune on any bar tool, but by and large, it’s not necessary.” If you’re just getting into cocktails, we recommend starting with the basics: a cocktail shaker and a jigger. If you want to take your bartending skills to the next level, you should consider investing in a good mixing glass, spoon, muddler, and citrus press. Here’s a rundown of what you’ll need to set up your home bar. At the end of this guide, we’ve also included tips on how to use these tools.

The most essential bar tool is a cocktail shaker, which is used to shake combinations of spirits, mixers (such as juice, dairy, or egg), and ice in order to blend flavors while simultaneously chilling, aerating, and diluting the drink. There are a variety of shakers, but the two most common types are the cobbler and Boston styles. For home use, we recommend cobbler-style shakers (which consist of a tumbler, a lid with a strainer, and a cap to cover the strainer) because they’re easier to hold and shake. That said, cobbler shakers have a tendency to leak. Several of our experts also said their lids often get stuck, or their built-in strainers have holes that are either inefficient or too big. Finding one that avoids these pitfalls is important.

Most professionals use Boston shakers, which are made up of a large cup and a small cup that fit together. Both cups are usually metal, but sometimes bartenders use a pint glass for the smaller one. A Boston shaker requires a little more finesse to connect and shake, and it requires a separate strainer, so we recommend it only for cocktail enthusiasts who want to avoid the pitfalls of a cobbler shaker. Regardless of which style you get, the experts we spoke with recommended getting a shaker with a 28-ounce capacity, because it’s just the right size for making two drinks.

A jigger is a small measuring cup for portioning liquid ingredients. Although your favorite bartender may free-pour liquor right from the bottle into a shaker or mixing glass, measuring into a jigger offers much more accuracy and consistency from one drink to the next. It should have clearly labeled measurement markings and a wide opening that’s easy to pour into. Since most cocktail recipes call for quantities of 2 ounces or less, a jigger is far more practical and precise than using a full-size measuring cup or an unmarked shot glass.

If you want to use a Boston-style shaker or a mixing glass, you’ll need to get a strainer to keep ice and herbs, such as mint, out of your cocktails. The two main types are Hawthorne and julep strainers. Most of the experts we spoke with recommend a Hawthorne strainer, which has coils of metal around its perimeter, so it fits snugly over a shaker or mixing glass and is easy to use. Julep strainers, which are essentially wide perforated spoons with short handles, are an elegant option, but they require more skill to use. Since a julep strainer doesn’t perform any better than a Hawthorne strainer, we don’t recommend getting one, unless you want a classy tool to impress your party guests.

Cocktails made entirely of alcohol or very light mixers, such as a martini or a Manhattan, should be stirred in a mixing glass instead of shaken so they don’t become foamy or cloudy. “You can use the metal mixing tin of either the cobbler or Boston shaker, or typically bartenders will use the pint mixing glass of the Boston shaker,” Robert Hess, author of The Essential Bartender’s Guide, told us. “However, a drawback of any of these is that the base of them is relatively small, and it makes it more difficult to work the ice well as you stir. For this you want to use a true mixing glass.”

A mixing glass with straight sides, a heavy base, and a pour spout is far easier to use (and it looks nicer, too). Mixing glasses are traditionally made of glass rather than metal; glass is a better insulator and allows party guests to watch the cocktail being made. Jeffrey Morgenthaler, author of The Bar Book, notes that “a good mixing glass has to be large enough to hold the drink, and a good amount of ice.” We found that 550 mL (18.59 ounces) was the appropriate volume for making two drinks. As mentioned above, a mixing glass also requires a strainer, to keep the ice from sliding into your drinking glass.

A bar spoon has a long skinny handle for reaching the bottom of a mixing glass or shaker. The small bowl of the spoon makes it easier to stir cocktails over ice. It’s also handy for scooping up garnishes, like maraschino cherries or olives, from narrow jars. Our experts said they look for bar spoons made of one continuous piece of metal, because they tend to be more durable and less likely to fall apart than those with the bowl welded to the handle.

If you want to smash herbs, fruit, or sugar cubes for making cocktails like a mojito, you’ll need to get a muddler. Muddlers can be made from a variety of materials, but most of the pros we spoke with recommend getting a wood muddler free of varnish, lacquer, or paint that could chip into a drink. In our research we found that 11 to 12 inches is generally a good length. Chris Tunstall, a mixologist and founder of, said, “Nearly all muddlers on the market are around 8 inches, which is fine if you’re muddling in a short glass. But if you muddle in your shaker, you run the risk of accidentally smashing your fingers on the side of the shaker. I’ve done it, it hurts!”

Most experts also recommend muddlers that have flat bottoms, rather than teeth: “Having spikes can result in over-muddling herbs like mint, resulting in a bitter cocktail,” Tunstall said. Alex Day and David Kaplan, co-authors (along with Nick Fauchald) of Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, said they prefer muddlers with sharp bottom edges (rather than rounded) for digging into the corner of the glass.

Most of the bartenders we spoke with recommended a hand press for citrus-based cocktails. Handheld citrus reamers are messy and won’t collect the seeds, while electric citrus juicers are overkill (unless you’re preparing drinks for a crowd). A hand press makes just the right amount of juice for a couple of drinks, and it catches most seeds while providing better aim, so the juice ends up in your shaker or drink, not all over the counter. “I prefer the unpainted metal ones because eventually that acidity from the citrus chips or flakes the paint on the metal,” said Brian Van Flandern, founder of Creative Cocktail Consultants and author of Vintage Cocktails and Craft Cocktails.

Most expensive, high-end glasses aren’t intended for dependable home use because they are often too fragile or have long, exaggerated stems or wacky designs. We recommend getting glassware that’s affordable, durable, and well balanced. Avoid stemmed glassware that’s too big—unless, of course, you’re Ina Garten in quarantine (video). “Most drinks are meant to be consumed fairly quickly. There’s a short window to enjoy a drink while it’s really cold,” said Abigail Gullo, a veteran bartender. If you’re serious about cocktails, we recommend getting four styles of glassware:

If you’re looking for wine glasses for spritz cocktails or Champagne flutes for French 75s, see our guide to the best wine and Champagne glasses.

This all-in-one shaker and strainer is easy to use. It fits together snugly so it has less of a tendency to leak than other cobbler-style shakers.

Most pro bartenders prefer using two-piece Boston shakers, but since they require a separate strainer and a little more skill, we think that the all-in-one Usagi Cobbler Shaker from Cocktail Kingdom is the best choice for home bar setups. All three parts of the shaker—which consist of the tumbler, lid with built-in strainer, and cap—are snug and didn’t leak in our testing, yet they weren’t so tight that it was difficult to break them apart. The 28-ounce capacity is the ideal size for making two cocktails at once. We also like that there’s a little ergonomic indentation in the cap for your index finger, making it easier to hold while shaking. The Usagi is heavier and more solidly built than most of the other cobbler shakers we tested, and its classic design is handsome enough to display on a bar cart in your home. This shaker has been in and out of stock due to high demand, so if it’s unavailable and you need a cobbler shaker stat, you might consider the copper-plated version. Just remember that copper tarnishes easily, so this one will require more maintenance if you want to keep it looking bright, and the plating is generally a little less durable than stainless steel.

If you want to bartend like a pro, get a Boston shaker. The Koriko set has better balance, and it’s easier to break the seal on this set than on others we tried.

If you’re an aspiring mixologist and you want to up your game, Cocktail Kingdom’s Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins make the best Boston-style shaker we’ve tested. All the pros we spoke with use Boston-style shakers professionally, but keep in mind, this style requires a bit more skill to use (we have some pointers at the end of this guide). We like the Koriko shaker because it has a pleasant weight and balance. It doesn’t leak, and it’s easy to break the seal and separate the tins. The small tin of the Koriko shaker sits higher in the large tin compared with the other Boston shakers we tried, and this makes the Koriko set feel more balanced and easier to hold while shaking. Unlike some of the cobbler shakers we tested, the Koriko set fits our recommended Hawthorne strainer snugly.

We tested a number of 18- and 28-ounce Boston-style shakers from and The Boston Shaker, but we dismissed them for the following reasons: hard-to-break seals, flimsy construction, or unbalanced weight. Some of the shakers we tested didn’t fit strainers well or were too hard to pour without spilling. We also tested Anchor Hocking’s Pint Mixing Glass with the 28-ounce weighted tins from Koriko. But shaking with glass can be dangerous, particularly if your hands are wet and slippery. Leave the glass tumblers to the pros.

Compared with traditional metal jiggers, this OXO mini cup has easier-to-read measurement markings and is less messy to use.

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The OXO Good Grips Mini Angled Measuring Cup isn’t shaped like a traditional jigger, but it’s the best measuring tool we’ve used for quickly and accurately making cocktails. It’s cheaper than most metal jiggers, and the bright red measurement markings are easy to read from the side or from the top down. Unlike traditional jiggers (which come in only 1-and-2-ounce and ½-and-¾-ounce measures), the OXO measures ¼, ½, 1, 1½, and 2 ounces. It also provides measurements in tablespoons, milliliters, and 1/16 cup, ⅛ cup, and ¼ cup, which is handy, depending on the recipe you’re using. The one drawback to this cup is that it lacks the common ¾-ounce measure, but we think it’s easy enough to eyeball. Since the OXO is shaped like a tiny liquid measuring cup, it’s more stable than most two-sided jiggers, which are tall, narrow, and easy to knock over. The wide mouth is easy to pour into, and the spout prevents it from dripping.

If you’re not a fan of plastic barware, the OXO mini measuring cup also comes in a stainless steel version. It’s almost identical in shape to the plastic version, but unlike the plastic version, it doesn’t provide measurements in milliliters.

This double-sided jigger is messier to use than our main pick, but it looks more classic, for a traditional bar setup.

If you prefer using a traditional jigger, we recommend the OXO SteeL Double Jigger. It’s messier to use than the OXO Good Grips Mini Angled Measuring Cup, but its measurement markings were easier to read than those on any other double-sided jigger we tested. With ¼-, ½-, and 1-ounce measures on one side and ⅓-, ¾-, 1½-ounce measures on the other, this jigger provides all the ounce measurements you need (but it lacks tablespoon and milliliter measurements). The measurement lines are etched inside the cups, making them fairly easy to see as you are pouring ingredients (although they can be difficult to read in low light). We like the rubber center, which makes the jigger easy to grip with wet hands. This jigger is well balanced and durable, but we’ve noticed that the rubber can get a little scratched over time.

We also tested the elegant Cocktail Kingdom Japanese Style Jigger, but we found its tall, narrow shape too easy to knock over and messier to use than the OXO measuring cup. We also tried the Uber Bar Tools Projig US Multi Measure Jigger, which has four separate compartments in one double-sided jigger. However, we dismissed it because with its complicated, labyrinthine shape, it took longer to measure ingredients.

This Hawthorne strainer fits snugly in either a Boston shaker or a mixing glass. Its tight coils prevent shards of ice and herbs from escaping into cocktails.

The OXO Steel Cocktail Strainer is the best Hawthorne-style strainer we’ve tested, and it fits snugly inside the mouth of the Boston shaker and mixing glasses we recommend. Unlike some Hawthorne strainers, the OXO has a very short handle with a rubber finger grip, which makes it much easier to hold and push the coils against the shaker to keep shards of ice from slipping through. We were impressed by just how tight and solid the coils of the OXO felt, especially compared with others we tested that were thin and flimsy, and easily bent out of shape.

We also tested the Swissmar Stainless Steel Cocktail Strainer, but it leaked and had a less comfortable handle than the OXO. Umami Mart’s Stainless Steel Long Hawthorne Strainer seemed promising, but it’s $36, and we didn’t think it looked like it would perform significantly better than the $10 OXO strainer.

Based on a 1930s vintage design, this stylish julep strainer comes in luxury finishes like gold, silver, copper, and gunmetal black.

If you want something a bit more elegant, we recommend the Premium Julep Strainer. It’s based on a classic 1930s vintage design, and it is available in several finishes, including gold, silver, copper, and gunmetal black (note: only the stainless steel version is dishwasher-safe). Since most of the experts we spoke with didn’t think a julep strainer was necessary for a home bar (because it’s more difficult to use), we didn’t test this strainer against other types. However, we have used it for after-work cocktails in the Wirecutter test kitchen and have found that its shape fits the mouth of our recommended mixing glass and Boston shaker perfectly. That said, it doesn’t offer any advantage over a Hawthorne-style strainer, so we recommend getting it only if you want a sophisticated-looking tool that will impress your guests.

This mixing glass has a stable base, a narrow spout, and a wide mouth that makes stirring and pouring cocktails easier.

After considering 13 mixing glasses and testing seven, we think the Umami Mart Seamless Plain Mixing Glass is the best for home use because it makes stirring, straining, and pouring cocktails easy. At first glance it may seem too simple for a $58 mixing glass, but its clean lines give it an understated elegance. Its wide, heavy base gives it more stability and better balance; it does not tip or move around, so it’s easier to stir a cocktail in than in other glasses we tried. And the 550-mL (18.60-ounce) capacity is just the right size for making two drinks.

The Umami Mart glass also snugly fits the OXO Hawthorne strainer that we recommend, and its small spout makes straining a drink into a cocktail glass a foolproof affair. We think a nice mixing glass like this one truly adds to the art of mixing cocktails at home and will look great displayed on your bar or bar cart.

We also tested the Cocktail Kingdom Yarai Mixing Glass and the W&P Mixing Glass, but they had wider spouts that allowed ice and other ingredients to slip through when straining. The Cocktail Kingdom Seamless Yarai Mixing Glass we tested had a tendency to wobble, as did the lightweight French press carafes we tried—the BonJour French Press Replacement Glass Carafe and the Bodum Spare Glass Carafe—so that knocked them out of the running.

This glass will tip more easily when you’re mixing, and it doesn’t look nearly as elegant as our top pick. But it’s one-fifth the price and works just fine.

If you don’t plan to make cocktails often or don’t want to invest in an expensive mixing glass, we recommend that you get the Anchor Hocking Pint Mixing Glass. Unlike a traditional mixing glass, it has a narrower base, with slanted sides that make it more difficult to get a smooth and fast stir using a bar spoon. It also lacks a spout, so pouring is less precise than when you use the Umami Mart Seamless Plain Mixing Glass we recommend. But the Anchor Hocking glass is heavy, durable, and perfectly sufficient for the task. The wide mouth also fits a Hawthorne strainer well.

This elegant spoon has better balance and a more tightly twisted handle (making for an easier grip), so it allows you to stir cocktails with ease.

After testing seven bar spoons, we think the stainless steel Cocktail Kingdom Teardrop Barspoon is the best for stirring cocktails. It’s nicely balanced, and the bowl is a good size for stirring ice. The slightly curved shape of the bowl is also handy for scooping garnishes, like cocktail olives, out of a jar. The Teardrop Barspoon has a tightly twisted shaft that takes a little getting used to, but ultimately this spoon is easier to grip and handle than spoons with smooth, skinny shafts. (We have a tutorial on how to use a bar spoon at the end of this guide). The Teardrop Barspoon’s one-piece construction is also more durable and elegant than that of spoons made from two pieces of metal.

The Cocktail Kingdom spoon is available in other sizes, but we think the 30-centimeter spoon (11.8 inches) is the appropriate size for home use. It’s also available in various finishes: silver, copper, gold, and matte black (only the stainless steel version is dishwasher-safe).

The Swissmar and Über Bar Tools ProStirrer spoons we tested felt top-heavy. The RSVP International Endurance spoon was very lightweight and harder to control. The loose coils of the Winco spoon made it harder to grip while stirring, so we dismissed it.

If you prefer to buy a multi-use tool, this spoon works well as a spoon and muddler, but the hammer at the end makes it top-heavy.

If you’re tight on space or you just want to limit the number of bar tools in your home, we recommend the Swissmar Stainless Steel Cocktail Spoon with Hammer, which doubles as a muddler and a spoon. It has a medium-size bowl and a tight coil that’s easy to grip, like our main pick, the Teardrop Barspoon. We dismissed the Swissmar as a standalone spoon because it feels a bit top-heavy due to the hammer on the end, but we think that’s a reasonable tradeoff for an all-in-one tool. To be clear, we prefer using a designated wood muddler for herbs and citrus, but this spoon is a decent option if you want a multi-use tool.

This affordable muddler felt the most comfortable in hand. Both ends work well, without tearing herbs. And this muddler doesn’t have a varnish that can chip into a drink.

Every expert we interviewed recommended a different muddler, but after we tested nine, the clear winner was the Fletchers’ Mill 11-inch Muddler. It was the most ergonomically shaped and the easiest to use overall. Unlike most muddlers, this one is just the right length to muddle ingredients in a 16- or 28-ounce glass or shaker. Even though one end of the Fletchers’ Mill muddler is considered the top and the other end is considered the base, in practice we found this muddler easy to hold either way, and both ends make a good muddling base. This means the muddler can accommodate different glass widths or ingredients, and you can choose which side is more comfortable to use.

Unlike the OXO SteeL Muddler, which has teeth on the bottom that tore herbs, both ends of the Fletchers’ Mill muddler have flat bases that are easy on delicate ingredients. We also like that the wood is unvarnished, which makes it easy to grip with wet hands and eliminates the risk of varnish chipping off into your drink. Like all kitchen utensils made from untreated wood, this muddler should be hand-washed and then towel- and air-dried. If it becomes dry, treat it with food-safe mineral oil.

We also tested these muddlers: the Cocktail Kingdom Bad Ass Muddler, the OXO SteeL Muddler, the Mr. Mojito Master Muddler, and the Rabbit Springing Muddler (plus a few more that have since been discontinued). We dismissed them all because they were either too big, too small, difficult to hold, painted or varnished, difficult to clean, or muddled herbs too aggressively.

The geared hinge on this citrus juicer gives you better leverage when you’re pressing cut citrus, and it prevents seeds from falling into your drink.

The Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer is the best we’ve tried for extracting citrus juice for cocktails. This handheld press makes just the right amount of juice for the home bartender. And it prevents most seeds from falling into your drink, so it’s far easier and less messy to use than a handheld reamer. The Chef’n is made of heavy plastic, with an unpainted metal cup that presses down on the citrus, so there’s no risk of chipping paint. Despite its mostly plastic construction, this citrus juicer weighs almost a pound and feels solidly built.

The Chef’n has an innovative gear mechanism at the hinge that increases juicing power and minimizes hand strain. As a result, we were able to extract more juice with it than with any of the other hand presses we tested. It worked equally well with lemons and limes, although it’s too small to fit an orange or grapefruit. Virtually no juice sprayed out the sides of the juicer, and when we squeezed five lemons, only two seeds slipped through. If you frequently host parties and need to squeeze a lot of juice, we recommend using an electric citrus juicer instead of a handheld press.

We also tested the Cocktail Kingdom Beehive Juicer, the Norpro Stainless Steel Citrus Press Juicer, and the OXO Good Grips Citrus Squeezer. But we dismissed them all because they were either difficult to hold or to squeeze, didn’t fully extract the juice, or sprayed juice out the sides of the juicer.

The Libbey 12-ounce Collins glass is best for tall drinks like a Tom Collins, Bloody Mary, or gin fizz. It isn’t ornate, but it’s a great option for parties because it’s so affordable.

If you need several dozen highball glasses for serving fizzy drinks at a party, we recommend the inexpensive Libbey Clear Collins Glass. This glass isn’t as decorative as some of the other options we considered, but it has clean lines and a classic look. If you want to split hairs, technically there’s a difference between a Collins glass (which is any tall glass) and a highball glass (which is a tall skinny glass), but our experts agreed that a Collins glass is a good one-size-fits-all option. The base of the Libbey glass is slightly weighted, which helps keep it stable and less likely to take a tumble from an errant elbow.

These poured crystal glasses have all the elegance of expensive Waterford crystal, but they are actually affordable and durable enough to use every day.

We recommend the Godinger Dublin Double Old Fashioned Glass for serving drinks neat or on the rocks. Made of poured crystal, it sparkles under the light, giving it the appearance of finer, more expensive glassware, such as etched Waterford crystal. The Godinger glass feels substantial in your hands without being clunky, and its classic pattern evokes the ambiance of a swanky, old-timey bar. At 8 ounces, this glass is the perfect size for an old-fashioned, a margarita, or a martini on the rocks. Since these glasses are so affordable, they’re also a great option for parties.

This 4½-ounce coupe glass is the ideal shape for serving drinks “up.” It’s sturdy and affordable, making it a great option for entertaining.

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The 4½-ounce Libbey Classy Coupe Glass has an alluring shape that’s the ideal size for serving cocktails—like Manhattans and martinis—“up.” We prefer a coupe glass to the V-shaped cocktail glass because its curved rim keeps your drink from sloshing out of the glass. The Libbey has a pronounced lip and is made of thicker glass, so it’s a durable option for parties. However, we don’t recommend coupes for bubbly because they kill fizz (a wine glass will do more for preserving carbonation than a coupe glass).

This Mexican-made, traditional mezcal glass is the ideal size for sipping or shooting your favorite spirits.

The Cocktail Kingdom Veladora Mezcal Glass is typical of what you’d find in a mezcaleria, but it can also be used for shooting or sipping your favorite spirits neat. This 2-ounce Mexican-made mezcal glass has enough space to hold a single ice cube or a splash of water, for dilution. We like that it is more elegant and slightly larger than your typical dorm-room shot glass. The extra texture and weight from the exterior ribbing make it nice to hold, too. If you think these glasses look like votives, you’re not mistaken. These traditional Veladora mezcal glasses have a cross etched on the bottom to pay homage to their origins as church votives.

This 16-ounce plastic tumbler gives the appearance of glass and is a great option if you frequently entertain outdoors. Its tall, narrow shape makes it most appropriate for water and cocktails.

We recommend the US Acrylic Classic 16-ounce Water Tumbler for outdoor cocktail parties. We were impressed by how much this tumbler looks like a regular glass, and in our tests it didn’t fade or crack in the dishwasher after more than 20 wash-and-dry cycles. Because it’s wider than a typical Collins glass, it’s suitable for both water and cocktails. The US Acrylic glasses stack, but because they’re so tall, they take up more cupboard space than a typical stacking tumbler. The glasses are sold in sets of six and are available in multiple sizes: 9, 12, 16, and 24 ounces.

When it comes to stocking your home bar, there’s no need to have 12 types of whisky or seven types of gin. If you’re an enthusiast and you have the space, that’s great. However, you can make most classic cocktails from just a few types of liquor. How you choose to stock your bar is a matter of personal taste, so buy what you prefer. But if you need to stock up from scratch, we have suggestions for basic, crowd-pleasing bottles of liquor that won’t blow your budget. After speaking with celebrated bartenders and researching advice from entertaining experts, we recommend the following:

For parties, we recommend offering make-ahead batch cocktails or serving punch in a large punch bowl so you can mingle with your guests instead of playing bartender all night. How much booze should you buy for a party? You probably know the drinking habits of your friends and family, so use that as a starting point. Sage advice: It’s always better to have too much alcohol than too little. You can save any unused bottles for future parties. Also, don’t forget to pick up plenty of ice.

In addition to stocking the bar tools we recommend in this guide, be sure you’re equipped with a handful of other basic tools (which you may already own), to keep the night running without a hitch:

If you need a lot of citrus juice for a party, we recommend using an electric citrus juicer instead of a handheld press. You can make the juice ahead and store it in plastic squeeze bottles in the fridge. If you misplace those little red caps on the bottles, use this restaurant and bar trick for storing the juice: Cover the top of the bottle with a small piece of plastic wrap, and then screw on the lid. Most bars use spouts on their bottles for speed and/or to measure alcohol by counts (instead of measuring it by volume using a jigger). However, we don’t recommend using spouts on your bottles at home because they expose the alcohol to the elements and attract fruit flies. For more entertaining advice, see our guide to great gear for parties.

If you’ve never used a Boston-style shaker before, it may take a few attempts to get the hang of it. Here are the basic steps:

A Hawthorne strainer filters out ice and herbs for cocktails served “up.” Here’s how to use it:

A julep strainer is a little more difficult to use than a Hawthorne strainer, but you’ll feel pretty elegant once you get the hang of it. There’s no wrong way to hold it, so do whatever feels more comfortable. Here’s how to use it:

A mixing glass has a wide mouth and straight sides, so you can easily stir cocktails with a bar spoon. Here’s how to use it:

This article was edited by Marilyn Ong and Marguerite Preston.

John deBary, former bar director for Momofuku restaurant group, interview, 2013

Brian Van Flandern, founder of Creative Cocktail Consultants and author of Vintage Cocktails and Craft Cocktails, interview, 2013

Chad Solomon, co-founder of beverage consultancy Cuffs & Buttons, interview, 2013

Alex Day and David Kaplan, co-founders of hospitality consultancy Proprietors LLC and co-authors of Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, interview

Robert Hess, author of The Essential Bartender’s Guide, founder of, co-founder of Museum of the American Cocktail, and co-founder of The Chanticleer Society, interview, 2015

Jeffrey Morgenthaler, author of The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique and founder of, bar manager at Clyde Common and Pépé Le Moko, interview, 2015

Chris Tunstall, mixologist and founder of, interview, 2015

Michael Sullivan has been a staff writer on the kitchen team at Wirecutter since 2016. Previously, he was an editor at the International Culinary Center in New York. He has worked in various facets of the food and restaurant industry for over a decade.

Nick Guy is a former senior staff writer covering Apple and accessories at Wirecutter. He has been reviewing iPhones, iPads, and related tech since 2011—and stopped counting after he tested his 1,000th case. It’s impossible for him not to mentally catalog any case he sees. He once had the bright idea to build and burn down a room to test fireproof safes.

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