While guest-bartending last week, I not only learned how hard it is to mix drinks, I also realized the importance of proper mixology tools. The first thing you need to invest in is a cocktail shaker. Not a three-piece shaker, but a Boston shaker. It consists of a clear pint glass with a larger mixing tin. The second most crucial utensil is a measuring cup like this one from Oxo. It should have easy-to-read measurements in ounces and tablespoons. A cocktail strainer, citrus juicer, and swivel-edged peeler are items you'll use over and over again. Although there's plenty of fancy bottle openers out there, I prefer the humble waiter's corkscrew — it simply opens wine and beer bottles. Don't overlook good bar towels (I love this set from Crate & Barrel); they'll come in handy for wiping up spills and cleaning glasses. The last thing your home bar needs is a quality pairing knife for slicing fruit and garnishes. These knifes are fun because they come in a variety of colors.
While you may have the patterns and theme picked out for all of the dinnerware on your registry, have you thought about your drinkware needs? If you're big wine enthusiasts, you'll definitely want to add a full collection of glasses and wine accessories. If you and your sweetie prefer spirits over wine, then make sure you add a full range of drink glasses as well as all the essential bar extras. Likewise, if you're teetotalers, don't bother with all the drink glasses you won't use. Instead, concentrate on essential everyday glasses, a set of wine glasses — they'll double as water glasses — and mugs and teacups.
My friend Antonio is the best bartender I know. He's always looking for the latest, greatest addition to his home bar. Both Antonio, and your bartending boy, are sure to love any of these gifts.
For more gift ideas for the bartender in your life, browse below.
You may think that drink stirrers are totally unnecessary - after all, you could simply use a spoon - but no self respecting mixmaster's bar is without a unique set of drink stirrers that perfectly reflect their personality. Also known as swizzle sticks, these fun little stirrers come in just about every color, shape, and material. Glass, plastic, metal, colorful, eclectic, cute - find one that suits your style as a hostess. I like to have a set for everyday use and then supplement those with stirrers that match the theme of a specific party. Scroll through the ones I've found, or tell us about your favorites in the comments below!