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2023-02-22 18:54:04 By : Mr. Gawain Tang

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When going DIY, you're only as good as the tools you're working with.

WHEN GOING DIY, you're only as good as the tools you're working with. That's the case across the spectrum, from landscaping in the yard and woodworking in your basement to cooking in your kitchen. The story is no different for the home bartender, who requires the best equipment to whip up the very best drinks.

We're not saying you need an atomizer or crystal decanter. Nor do you need a smoker or vintage ice pick. But if you like to put together the occasional Negroni or Old Fashioned, there are some staples you ought to have around. A good bartending kit is the tool belt for the home bartender, outfitting you with the essentials needed in the field of mixology.

We looked at several important factors in creating this list. For starters, we tended to rely on solid brands with solid reputations. These are the companies that appeal to bartender newbies and seasoned veterans alike, respected for their durability and keen design. We looked at ratings as well, and also relied on firsthand experience in working with some of these options. We researched what's popular and sells well but weighed that against the nature of the tools in the kit. There may be a kit out there has ten million fans on Insta, but if it doesn't include at least a well-made bar spoon or shaker, the heart and soul of a good kit, we'll pass.

To a lesser extent, we looked at appealing features like warranties, clever tool adaptations, and the convenience factor. Sometimes, the accumulation of these seemingly little perks was enough for a brand to make the list.

Here are the ten best cocktail kits to consider, whether you're a home bartender pro or just looking to elevate your Margarita game.

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If you care about the look of your bartending tools, which you should, this is a great option. It's modern and almost brutalist in its makeup, sporting gunmetal aesthetic that looks great on any bar shelf or cart. There's a lot to love, from the double-wall insulation to the crafty measuring lines built in to the lining of the vessel. Where can it improve? The sleeves for the glasses are cool and prevent dripping but also keep you from being able to really observe the drink you just made as you sip it in your bar.

This set brings a plurality of things to the bar table, nine in total. The fact that they all match keeps a nice theme alive in your bar and tools like the citrus squeezer and mixing spoon (with a muddler on the head) come off as both elegant and deeply useful. The liquor pourers are an interesting touch, but six seems like a bit much. Yet, we love the Boston-style shaker and the flat and oversized opener is wonderfully vintage.

The resistance to rust is a nice touch, especially for the gold option. It comes with a nice classic cocktail recipe book and you can get the set in either black, gold, or silver.

This kit is all about sneaking in extra features without compromising overall look. At six pieces, the set seems small but it works hard for you. The muddler is also a reamer while the dynamic garnish tool can do it all, from citrus zesting to creating twists or peeling (channel knife included). The bar spoon is both easy on the eye and boasts a rotating handle, a perk real bartenders love to have in their back pocket.

The strainer is a bit on the simple side and the lack of a shaker isn't ideal, but the kit does encourage you to get your mix on, which can make for more interesting drinks at times and just plain looks cool once you get the hang of your new spoon.

This collaboration set features eight tools and a dazzling color scheme. The details are remarkable, perhaps to be expected from working with an acclaimed fashion designer. What details? Let's start with the acacia wood muddler. Next, two kinds of strainers, including a Julep version that looks like a treasure found at the bottom of the sea.

The spoon is weighted nicely and the jigger offers a nice change of pace from most in terms of form. The ice tongs are also a nice bonus, especially if you care about presentation points (and just the formality of serving others in style).

With this clever pack-along kit you can bring the bar to wherever the action is, creating a cocktail party virtually anywhere. A total of 14 tools are included, which tuck neatly into the cavas carrying bag. We like certain additions here, like the fine mesh strainer, great for clearing out any solids you may not want in your pristine cocktail. And the microfiber towel reminds that no good bartender is set without a proper clean-up cloth. Overall, it's like a roll-up briefcase for the mixologist, one that looks great on the go.

It's nice to have so much at your disposal (it feels like having an actual bar back) but chances are good that you won't use the ice pick or tweezers that often. Still, it's a great set overall, especially if you like convenience and portability.

Don't want any excess in your bartender kit? Then this one is for you. You get a shaker, strainer, muddler, and jigger, that's it. We like the helpful volume indicators on the inside of both the shaker tin and jigger and the classic design elements at play throughout. Of the many kits out there, this one has the best muddler, so if a Mojito is your drink, this is likely your kit.

You may find yourself reaching for a paring knife or bar spoon now and again depending on what you like to drink, but mostly, the set offers just enough to make some top-shelf cocktails.

The Archer collection is appealing in that it's basically a tiny bar all in one. The tools hang nicely from brass racks and the whole thing sits atop a lovely brass serving tray. Standout features include the glass ice bucket (classy and retro, all at once), the marble tool stand, and the jigger, which comes with a lengthy handle, keeping you from getting sticky hands.

One of the best features, at least from a hosting standpoint, is the glass shaker. It's oddly cool to see your drink come to life as it's being tossed about. Also, the tray is great, both for keeping the set in one area and for serving the drinks once they're made. About the only hangup here is having to hand-wash everything.

There's a great home for every tool in this ten-piece set. They drop right in to the very modern bamboo rack, which looks like a miniature coffee table. The liquor pourers are standard grade but that's compensated by the shaker, a throwback in shape to the golden cocktail era of old. If you love to make a nice drink or host your pals for happy hour, this is a great set, especially if you're tight on space.

If you like a Martini shaken and stirred, this cocktail set is your match. You're treated to a nice shaker setup as well as a pretty stirring glass. Best, the weighted bar spoon is a delight to use, its extra length perfect for mixing to perfection. The set will leave you a little short-handed if you care a lot about garnishes and require things like tongs and openers, but when it comes to the essentials, it's a nice option, especially for the reasonable price.

With bartending, a little flair can go a long ways. This handsome five-piece set demands to be seen the next time you entertain. It comes with most of the staples, as in a jigger, strainer, muddler, stirrer, and bottle opener, and all the pieces file together nicely on the slender stand. The gold ring at the top is a beautiful addition and the texture of these handmade tools (not two exactly alike) is something to behold.

Yes, it's pricy, but sometimes a splurge is worth it, especially if you fancy yourself as a super host. The set brings some taste to the table, on top of the necessary tools. The bar spoon is a tad short, but the one-of-a-kind nature of it makes up for that. This is a set made to be shown off.

What makes a great kit? The cocktail tools you actually need, ideally well-made and built to last. You know, must-haves like shaker tins, strainers, and spoons. Some of the more involved kits even throw in useful components like citrus zester's, mixing glasses, jiggers, and muddlers. Once you have these tools at your disposal, you'll both be responsible for better-tasting drinks and wonder how you got by before.When buying a bartending kit, the key is to get something that's not only rated favorably, but practical and of use when making all of the signature drinks.

There should a bit of flair too, as that's a vital part of bartending. You should be seeking tools that are intuitive and don't require lengthy user manuals and lots of trial and error to figure them out. A good kit equips you with all of your basic needs and more, whether you're batching up Negroni's or making a Hot Toddy to take the chill out of the night.

Mark Stock is a food, drink, and outdoors writer from Portland, Oregon. He spent years making, selling, and sipping Pinot Noir in the Dundee Hills before a full return to his journalistic roots in 2016. In addition to Men's Health, he writes for SevenFifty Daily, Sip Northwest, The Somm Journal, The Drake, Willamette Week, Travel Oregon, and more.  

Paul is the Food & Nutrition Editor of Men’s Health. He’s also the author of two cookbooks: Guy Gourmet and A Man, A Pan, A Plan.

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