For any aspiring mixologist, the holidays provide a plethora of opportunity to experiment, fine-tune, and perfect your craft. An ounce of gin, a splash of tonic, two drops of bitters and a lemon peel all lovingly crafted into the perfect cocktail glass. A bartender needs four fundamental pieces to be able to make most cocktails in the world, and a few fun accessories on top of that.
Here are a few must-have items to grab for your aspiring bartender:
1. Boston Shaker – A 2-piece shaker set needed to make all cocktails shaken with ice.
2. Jigger – The measuring cup used universally by all bartenders to measure the amount of alcohol they put into your cocktail. Jiggers usually come standard with 1 oz. or 2 oz. measures on either side, but a multi-level one has interior markings for ¼ oz, ½ oz, ¾ oz, and 1.5 oz.
3. Hawthorne Strainer – This special strainer allows you to strain your Boston Shaker of ice, herbs, and everything except the liquid.
Copper Bar Set, $95 CAD, Cocktail Emporium
4. Bar Spoon – A long handle bar spoon is necessary to make stirred cocktails. The long handle and small spoon fits into a cocktail glass without melting the ice and diluting the drink.
Rustic Wooden Muddler, $16.95 CAD, Cocktail Emporium
5. Muddler – A wooden muddler to crush limes, mint, herbs, berries, citrus or spices to craft classic muddled drinks
Dillon’s Ginger Bitters, $16.95 CAD, Cocktail Emporium
6. Bitters – Highly concentrated syrups created from fresh and dried natural botanicals, added into specialty cocktails for extra flavours. A favourite of mine is by Dillon’s, a small batch distiller of spirits and the sort.
Vintage Style Stemware, approx $64 CAD, West Elm
7. Cocktail Glasses – Help elevate your aspiring bartender’s drink with a beautiful set of cocktail glasses. There’s a different cocktail glass for every cocktail, but I’m particularly fond of the 20s-style coupe glass that reminds me of the Great Gatsby era.
Forager’s Cocktails: Botanical Mixology with Fresh, Natural Ingredients, $16.90 CAD, Indigo Chapters
8. Recipe book – The last part of the gift set is your favourite cocktail book with recipes and craft concoctions to keep him or her inspired.