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Enjoying an expertly made cocktail at a classy bar is one of life’s great pleasures, but you don’t always want to go out for the evening. Sometimes you just want to stay in and enjoy a drink or two, or maybe you have guests over and you’d all like to sip on some pre-dinner aperitifs.
For these occasions, a well-stocked home bar is essential. But this goes beyond having a thorough and eclectic selection of spirits, mixers, and bitters. The quality of glassware, cocktail shakers, jiggers, ice buckets, and even the bar or cocktail cart itself all go a long way towards making your home bar experience an enjoyable one.
There are many luxury items available to furnish your home bar that are both beautiful and designed with function in mind. We have compiled some of the best essential items to set up a home bar that will impress your family and friends: a new take on whiskey glasses, a gold-rimmed drinkware set, a luxury crystal ice bucket, even a fully-stocked bar cart with high-end spirits essential to any cocktail. These items are not cheap, but they will help you design a complete home bar experience so you have everything you need to whip up some drinks, and look really good doing it.
Death & Co. Home Cocktail Kit
The Death & Co. brand is synonymous with excellent cocktails, with locations in NYC, LA, and Denver currently serving up delicious food and cocktails to-go. Please support these locations and any other bars that you can, but for home cocktail mixing check out this high-quality cocktail kit. It includes weighted shaking tins, strainer, mixing glass, bar spoon, and jigger, some of which is emblazoned with the Death & Co. logo.
To buy: $119; deathandcompanymarket.com
Stemless Cocktail Glass
Stemware is classic and timeless, of course, but you might decide you don’t really need it after trying these beautiful stemless cocktail glasses from Iittala Aarne. They were created by pioneering Finnish designer Göran Hongell, and are mouth-blown and minimalist. These glasses will make your cocktails shine, but could just as easily be used for a non-alcoholic drink as well.
To buy: $75; finnishdesignshop.com
William Yeoward Cocktail Shaker
William Yeoward is known for its fine crystal pieces, but it also has luxury metal barware as well. This nickel-plated cocktail shaker has a retro design that recalls the fancy speakeasies of Prohibition and the haute society era immediately following it. At 9.5 inches tall, it’s large enough to shake up three or four cocktails in one go.
To buy: $445; williamyeowardcrystal.com
Alkemista Infusion Vessel
You may have tried infused spirits at your favorite bar or restaurant before, but this contraption from Ethan Ashe allows you to make a DIY version at home. Just fill the stainless steel filter with your favorite botanical mixture, then pour a bottle of whiskey, gin, vodka, or any spirit you’d like into the attractive glass vessel, let it steep, and enjoy on its own or in a cocktail. You can bundle the Alkemista with infusion packets like Black Denim and Ancho Libre if you likeas well.
To buy: $70; ethanashe.com
Whiskey toothpaste might be a stretch, but these toothpicks provide the closest thing. These variety packs from Daneson include four different flavors—Bourbon No. 22 (steeped in 6-year-old Kentucky bourbon), Single Malt No. 16 (steeped in 14-year-old Islay scotch), and for the times you want to skip the booze flavors, Cinna Mint No. 7 and Mint No. 9.
To buy: $32; daneson.com
The Bitter Truth Travel Pack
If you really want to up your cocktail game at home, good bitters are essential items to keep stocked. Start with this travel pack from The Bitter Truth, which offers an eclectic mix of flavors that you can bring with you on the go. Bitters included in this metal travel tin are Original Celery Bitters, Orange Bitters, Creole Bitters, Old Time Aromatic Bitters, and Jerry Thomas' Own Decanter Bitters.
To buy: $19.99; booze.wine
Summit Copper Serving Tray
After whipping up a few cocktails at your home bar, it’s time to think about serving and presentation. Whether you are bringing drinks to your guests or setting them down for people to help themselves, this lovely copper serving tray from Viski is both fashionable and functional. Load it up with a bottle, some glasses, even some snacks, and you are ready to entertain.
To buy: $54; bespokepost.com
Smoked Cocktail Kit
Another trick you may have experienced when ordering a drink at a high-end bar is the smoked cocktail, literally infused with smoke to add flavor and atmosphere. With this kit, you can attempt this at home. Each comes with a smoking stand, a glass carafe, and 20 smoking pellets. Fill the carafe with your favorite spirit or drink, light up the pellet to infuse to your desired level of smokiness, and enjoy.
To buy: $80; truebrands.com
Riedel Tumbler Collection Ice Bucket
If you are going to be serving champagne, sparkling wine, or white wine at your home bar, it’s important to keep the bottles nice and cold. This classic ice bucket from Riedel is made of crystal and provides a gorgeous set piece for your bar. And after you’re done using it, you can put it in the dishwasher to easily clean it.
To buy: $124; riedel.com
Proof Cocktail Syrup
It’s easy to make a classic cocktail like an Old Fashioned at home, but admittedly some of us don’t have the time or the desire to procure various ingredients. If you’re one of those people, try this cocktail syrup set from Proof. It offers five different flavors to choose from, including Traditional and Maple Bacon, along with a bar mat and a bunch of different cocktail recipes. Each bottle has enough syrup to make 32 drinks.
To buy: $165; proofsyrup.com