Every guy should know how to mix a proper cocktail. Not only does it give you the opportunity to flex in front of party guests, but crafting yourself a fine drink at home (we recommend a Knob Creek® Rye Old Fashioned ) will make those coveted “me time” moments significantly better.
Photo by ESQUIRE . Knowing how to make a drink or two can go a long way, but unlike carrying your office softball team on your back, you can’t mix a cocktail without some help. To ensure you’re not left cutting lemons with a chef’s knife or mixing in a solo cup, pick up the following five essentials we rounded up in paid partnership with Knob Creek® , and forever reap the rewards of a well-stocked home bar.
A set of bar tools Photo by ESQUIRE . Short of not having the right ingredients on hand, nothing kills a cocktail-making mood quite like a lack of key bar tools. The essentials include a paring knife, citrus press, ice pick, and two types of strainers, preferably each in stainless steel with a wood handle.
First things first, Goodful’s 3.5” paring and bird’s beak knive kit (with blade guards) is mandatory for cocktail prep. The long-handled Norpro citrus juicer will make light work of halved lemons and limes, while the fine mesh Conical Strainer and Viski strainers prevent unwanted seeds from making a surprise cameo in your glass. As you likely guessed, the Viski Professional-Anvil Ice Pick is perfect for finishing off your drink with a chunk of hand-carved ice.
Stainless Steel Citrus Juicer, $40, whisknyc.com
Fine Mesh Cocktail and Tea Strainer, $15, amazon.com
Carbon Steel Knives Set, $35, amazon.com
Wood Handled Strainer, $16, amazon.com
Professional Anvil Ice Pick, $21, amazon.com
A s tainless steel shaker and jigger set Photo by ESQUIRE . With cocktails, it pays to be precise. Fight your urge to eyeball each ingredient and immediately enjoy the benefits with a well-balanced cocktail that’s sure to garner a compliment or two (self props count).
This Wood Banded Jigger from Viski is handsome as hell, and functional too. Combine with a double-wall stainless steel shaker and pint glass with measurement markings, and you’re in fine shape.
Wood Banded Jigger, $13, huckberry.com
Premium Double Cocktail Jigger, $13, amazon.com
Final Touch Boston Shaker, $35, amazon.com
A set of cocktail glasses Photo by ESQUIRE . Does anyone actually like drinking a cocktail served up? Sure, a martini belongs in a martini glass, and a Manhattan in a coupe, but the rest? Pour them into a rocks glass or a highball, toss in a few cubes, and call it a day. For those who agree, Williams Sonoma’s Reserve and Classic Barware Collections are just the ticket—elegant, refined, and made to last.
Williams Sonoma Classic Barware Collection, $13–$56, williams-sonoma.com
An ice bucket Photo by ESQUIRE . The ice bucket is an unsung hero of the home bar. What’s an Old Fashioned without rocks to mix and mingle with, or a whiskey sour without something to hold onto? Neither work without ice cubes, nor do any of the other cocktails mentioned in this list. Do yourself a favor and invest in an ice bucket—the Pedra Ceramic Ice Bucket is a solid choice. Made in Portugal with a reactive grey glaze and rustic leather handles, it’s an intentional way to add some personality to an otherwise cold situation.
Ceramic Ice Bucket, $50, crateandbarrel.com
An ice cube tray Photo by ESQUIRE . Whether you’re in the mood for a cocktail or simply looking to unwind with a couple fingers of straight whiskey, a few well-proportioned, clear ice cubes will elevate whatever you plan to pour up.
Brooklyn-based brand Peak Ice Works makes two standout molds on our radar—an XL option, which melts slower and prevents unwanted drink dilution, and a Clear Ice Mold that freezes from the top down, pushing out bubbles and impurities to make crystal clear ice cubes. Made of flexible, food-grade silicone, these ice cube trays are an absolute must for the guy who values preparation and presentation.
Peak Clear Ice Mold, $30, crateandbarrel.com
Extra Large Cube Silicone Ice Tray, $14, amazon.com
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com . Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.