Bottles of booze are known quantities. Sealed, taxed, displayed on shelves. Same for their mixers. A Whiskey Ginger will taste the same at $15 from your favorite bartender as it will when prepared at home for $5. But once your home drinking moves past the type of basic cocktails that include the entire recipe in their name, things begin to break down; “shaken not stirred” becomes an irrelevant distinction without a shaker or long bar spoon. The difference between a cocktail and a great cocktail lies in the details, the little tweaks only possible with the right tools. For those still using a soup spoon to muddle their mint juleps, there are better days ahead, and they don’t require much of an investment.

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Bentwood Leather Bar Stool
Because everything tastes better atop walnut and leather. $339+
Budget Option: Vasari Adjustable Barstool — $130

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Golden Fist Napkin Weight
Because a hearty-enough laugh can take down any napkin stack. $60
Budget Option: Handmade Bird Napkin Holder — $22

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Hammered Solid Copper Cocktail Shaker
Because copper is good for your health, even if your drink isn’t. $99
Budget Option: OXO Stainless Steel Shaker — $30

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Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup
Because simple syrup shouldn’t be your only sweetening option.
Classic ($14) | Pineapple ($15) | Raspberry ($15) | Orgeat ($15)

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Edward Double Old-Fashioned Glasses, Set of 4
Because good presentation can save a bad drink, sometimes. $80
Budget Option: Marquis Collection Vintage Old-Fashioned, Set of 4 — $31
A Visual Guide to the Perfect Bar Cart

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Alcohol remains an enduring motif in the great American narrative. That’s probably because those that wrote it drank, and drank well — epitomized by the enduring symbol of the most sophisticated of drinking cultures: the bar cart. Here’s our take on the perfect cart. See it here.

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Bar Tool Set
Because great drinks require their own tools, not repurposed food cutlery. $80
Budget Option: OXO Steel 7-Piece Barware Set — $54

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Riedel Vinum Glasses (4 Bordeaux & 4 Chablis)
Because with Riedel you can break out the good stuff without breaking the bank. $150
Budget Option: Govino Wine Glass Flexible Shatterproof Recyclable, Set of 4 — $15

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Filthy Pickle Stuffed Olives and Angostura Bitters
Because sweetness needs to be balanced.
Olives ($15) | Bitters ($20)

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Old Dutch Hammered Ice Bucket with Tongs
Because your freezer doesn’t need to make an appearance at cocktail hour. $53
Budget Option: Kapalini “Rain” Stainless Steel Ice Bucket — $33

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Proteak Cutting Board
Because your lemons shouldn’t taste like the roast you sliced for dinner. $124
Budget Option: Mode Series Butcher Block by Tree & Co — $67
17 Perfect Gifts for the Mixologist

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The mixologist received his MA in Drinking. Here are the tools to help them craft the perfect drink. See the list.

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Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
Because your iPhone isn’t spill-proof. $24
Pre-Order Option: The Canon Cocktail Book — $28

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Waterford Elegance Pitcher
Because when imbibing, a glass of water can protect yourself from yourself. $150
Budget Option: Handblown Moroccan Glass Pitcher — $30

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Chateau-Laguiole Grand Cru Barrel
Because a bad opening can ruin a good night. $160
Budget Option: Trudeau Laguiole Red Stablewood Waiter’s Corkscrew — $30

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Chateau Laguiole Oak Barrel Wood Coasters
Because they’ll pay for themselves in avoided water-rings. $98
Budget Option: Dacasso Mocha Leather 4-Round Coaster Set — $49
How to Create a Professional Charcuterie Platter

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From the meat to cheese to figs, this is everything you need to know for your next charcuterie platter. See the guide.

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Cocktail Kingdom 55mm Ice Ball Maker
Because nothing says “I’ve made it,” like slower melting ice. $150
Budget Option: Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds — $22

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The Jackson Cannon Bar Knife R. Murphy
Because you need only cut the lime, not your finger. $74
Budget Option: Rabbit Bar Knife — $9

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Riedel Vinum XL Leaded Crystal Martini Glass, Set of 6
Because your martini glasses need a size upgrade. $195
Budget Option: Luigi Bormioli Crescendo Martini Glasses, Set of 4 — $34

J. Travis Smith

More by J. Travis Smith | Follow on Contact via Email
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