June 30, 2022 by Sonja Edridge
Who doesn’t love happy hour? Be the envy of all your friends and get yourself set up with a stylish cocktail kit for your home bar, ready to mix up a masterpiece at your next dinner party. It’s so easy to make your own cocktail kit as you don’t need much to get started. Whether you’re a cocktail pro or novice, our handy guide will help you enjoy your favourite cocktail (or mocktail) from the comfort of your own home in no time!
What is a cocktail making kit and why do you need one?
In a few easy searches online, you’ll find every kind of cocktail kit to suit any budget, delivering everything you’ll need to make bar-quality cocktails at home, whatever your skill level. The most basic cocktail making set usually includes the essentials, such as a metal cocktail shaker, a spirit measure called a jigger, a long mixing spoon or bar spoon, a cocktail strainer, a muddling tool and sometimes tongs.
Why do you need a cocktail kit, you ask? Well, quite simply, a cocktail kit will enable you to create all of your favourite cocktails at home. Most cocktails will require an element of shaking, stirring or straining, so a cocktail kit will equip you with everything you need to make a range of bar-worthy drinks to impress your guests.
How popular is a cocktail making kit?
Prior to the pandemic, a cocktail making kit was a must for the discerning cocktail maker to impress guests at home. The pandemic saw the stay-at-home cocktail scene boom and soon online retailers shipped kits all over the country. This trend has taken hold and, as much as people still enjoy after work drinks, they’re loving hosting friends at home for drinks with their new found cocktail making skills.
How to use a cocktail making kit
Your basic cocktail making kit will include the following must-have tools but, if you’re lacking anything, we’ve got some easy improvisations you can use instead:
- Cocktail shaker. Regular shakers hold just over half a litre and the larger ones just over three quarters. For most recipes, you’ll need to shake your cocktail, so a shaker is obviously the perfect guy for the job. You find shakers in a range of styles and colours, from floral patterns to luxe rose gold, so you can choose one that suits your desired home bar décor. We particularly like a cobbler shaker as it’s an all-in-one solution: it features a metal tin for mixing, a cap that cleverly measures in shots and a built-in strainer, making this choice super affordable and handy! If you don’t have a cocktail shaker but still want to mix up great drinks, you can use a mason jar or two glasses of different diameter that fit within each other when coupled together to do the job.
- Jigger. A jigger is a fun-looking measuring cup with a single shot on one end and a double on the other. Measuring the amount of spirit to pour into a cocktail is key to achieve that cocktail bar worthy tasting drink. Measuring your ingredients accurately not only means the flavour rocks, it’s also a safe way to keep track of how much alcohol you’ve consumed.
- Bar spoon. A long spoon is needed to stir cocktails that are served in tall glasses to ensure the flavours blend together perfectly. You’ll use a spoon to stir a cocktail rather than shaking a drink. Shaking over ice speeds up the diluting of the ice into your drink, so certain drinks will call for a stir for less dilution.
- Strainer. A strainer is used with a cocktail shaker to keep all the ice and debris out of your cocktail when you pour, so you can serve up the smoothest drink. There are three kinds:
- Hawthorne strainer: A Hawthorne strainer has a flat disc with a coiled spring attached, which helps secure the strainer firmly in the vessel when pouring, trapping all the fine muddled bits
- Julep strainer: A Julep strainer looks like a large, perforated spoon
- Regular mesh sieve: Some kits include a miniature version of your classic sieve, so you can strain your drink easily into your glass
- Muddler. A muddler is a great tool for crushing fruit and herbs, so they release their gorgeous flavours for cocktails such as the Mojito. If your cocktail kit doesn’t include a muddler, don’t panic! Use the flat end of a rolling pin or a pestle instead.
- Tongs. Some cocktail kits will include tongs, look like the ultimate pro when adding garnishes and ice to cocktails.
For an efficient cocktail making station, there are a few bits and pieces we recommend having close by:
- Chopping board. Dedicate a small chopping board for cocktails to prepare your garnishes easily. A useful tip is to wet a piece of kitchen paper and place it underneath your chopping board to stop it from slipping around
- Sharp knife. A small, serrated knife is perfect for cutting fruits for your cocktails without blunting
- Zester. Have a zester to hand as this fabulous little tool can remove fine shreds of zest from citrus fruit for fantastic garnishes
- Citrus juicer. Choose an easy little juicer with a ridged and pointed centre either on a handle or on a dish to prepare your fresh citrus juices
- Bottle opener. It goes without saying that a simple, yet sturdy corkscrew should always be to hand when making drinks
- Blender. If you are partial to a Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri or a Watermelon Tequila Cocktail then a good kitchen blender makes things really quick and easy. A blender is also great for making crushed ice.
What to look for in a cocktail-making kit
If you don’t want to make your own cocktail kit and prefer to splash out to elevate your cocktail making and invest in the best cocktail kit, make sure to shop around to find the best quality one. The items in the kit shouldn’t feel flimsy; they should have a good weight. Most cocktail kits shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg, unless you’re eyeing one of the designer options. If you’re thinking of keeping it on display, there are many that come with iconic stands for a statement piece.