Shopping for Bar Tools – The New York Times

The time to toast the days of late summer is now. But with indoor bars still largely off-limits, finding a well-crafted cocktail is more difficult than it used to be.

That’s where a good wet bar comes in handy.

“I have a lot of bar tools, and I like having a kit that’s pretty,” said David Kaplan, the founder and an owner of the cocktail bar Death & Co, based on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. “But the kit I reach for most is still hyper-functional.”

Every serious home bar should have weighted shaking tins, a mixing glass, a Hawthorne strainer, a mixing spoon and a quality jigger, he said. Also, consider extras like a muddler and ice trays with intriguing shapes.

Mr. Kaplan keeps his workhorse accessories in a closed cabinet, but leaves his best-looking pieces, including a laser-cut strainer and a rose-gold spoon, on display.

“I have them on a vintage silver tray with a couple of other accoutrements to make a little vignette,” he said, adding that he makes martinis in bulk and keeps them in the freezer. “It’s a lovely but dangerous convenience.”


  • How many jiggers do you need? One with various measurements is usually enough. “All these products we buy aren’t really accurate,” Mr Kaplan said. “But as long as you’re using the same measuring device for everything, proportionally your cocktail will be correct.”

  • Do you really need a special mixing spoon? Apparently so. “Stirring a cocktail is one thing that actually takes a bit of practice,” he said. “You want to introduce the least amount of air.”

  • How else can you improve a cocktail? “Glassware is one thing you can have a huge amount of fun with,” said Mr Kaplan, who prefers vintage martini and Collins glasses that he finds on eBay and in antique stores.


Pure copper jigger with measurement indentations

$26 at Bull in China: bullinchinapdx.com

Japanese mixing glass from Ninomiya Crystal

$43 at Umami Mart: 510-250-9559 or umamimart.com


Shaking tins with stainless-steel, gold, copper or black finish

From about $8 each at the Cocktail Kingdom: 212-647-9166 or cocktailkingdom.com


Maple or walnut muddler with Corian tips by AHeirloom

From $28 at Food52: food52.com


Glass ice bucket with copper-plated tongs

$260 at Tom Dixon: 866-446-3140 or tomdixon.net


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