Updated: May 19
I love cocktails. It's a huge reason and motivation for opening our distillery.
Even though I love cocktails enough to want to make alcohol from scratch, I actually never invested in any really nice bar equipment. I just found ways to do all those fancy bartending techniques with things I already had. Now you can do them too!
I'm going to be honest. Having the actual tools is definitely pretty handy, but until you feel comfortable shaking up a cocktail every week, it doesn't make sense to spend the money. when the day comes you want all the fancy tools, I highly recommend checking out the company Fifth & Vermouth.
Here are some images of standard bartend tools.
Bartending Tools & Their Home Alternatives
Things like a bar spoon or a mixing glass can easily be replaced with typical kitchen wares like a spoon or a tall jar. For all the other tools, we've come up with some less obvious alternative tools to bartend with.
Shakers: used to mix ingredients, usually with ice to cool it down and dilute the alcohol.
Alternative: Metal to-go mugs (or tumblers). You can even use most lids to strain out the big chunks of ice. Second alternative is a mason jar with a lid (just be careful of the glass!)
Jiggers: a quick way to measure out liquids.
Alternative: baking spoon measurements. 1 oz = 30 ml and 1 Tbsp = 15 ml. If you use a regular shot glass, make sure you measure it's volume first.
Strainers: made to fit inside shakers and mixing glasses, to strain out large bits and ice chunks.
Alternative: a regular mesh strainer. Second alternative is a slotted cooking spoon or spatula.
Last but not least:
Large Ice Cubes: large ice melts slower, keeping your drink colder for longer. Even better is clear ice. Alternative: This is NOT an easy alternative, primarily because of time. But you can make the nicest ice you've ever seen right in your own home. You need a small cooler that can fit in your freezer OR it needs to be freezing outside (Oh Canada) and a serrated knife.
Put water in the cooler, then put it in the freezer without the lid. It'll take 24 hrs to freeze.
Put cooler upside down in sink, until the ice block falls out.
Take the knife and cut off all the non-clear ice.
Use the knife to cute the ice block into smaller cubes.
Full step-by-step instructions can be found here: CLEAR ICE INSTRUCTIONS
Good luck practising bartending and cocktail creation! We hope our advice helps you save money and not reduce the quality of your cocktails. Cheers!