As promised in my previous post, all the tools you really need to make most drinks at home are probably already in your kitchen:

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A shaker/ strainer consists of a large mixing cup, a top with holes in it, and a 2-oz cap.

  • A shaker/strainer with a tight-fitting 2oz cap
  • A teaspoon (the kind you already use for regular eating; chemistry-grade precision isn’t required)
  • A tablespoon (ditto)
  • A long-handled wooden spoon or the “tamper” for your juicer/blender
  • A dishrag or sponge (you sometimes will spill things, even if you haven’t started drinking yet)

You will see pictures of “bar sets” that also include a measuring spoon, ice tongs, one of those paddle-shaped strainers with a spring around the edge, and maybe an extra mixing glass. You can certainly purchase an entire set (or use the various tools if you already have them), but they’re not critical to making your pre-dinner cocktail while you’re winding down from your hellish commute, the kids are asking you about their math homework, the dog is chasing the cat around the kitchen and all you want to do is have a damn drink, for pete’s sake!

This basic kit will get you started on your happy hour quickly and without fuss.

Next: The foundational spirits