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How to Build Your Home Bar, Part II: Tools of the Trade

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Last week on “Your Home Bar,” we outlined your basic liquor necessities to begin mixin’ drinks at home like a pro. So by now, you’re probably staring blankly at your bottles of Rumple Minze, Baileys, and Everclear, wondering, “What on earth do I do now?” Two options: 1) SHOTS (what are you, 15?) and 2) get some tools to help you mix sophisticated drinks:

  • Citrus press: I thought I was cool squeezing lemons by hand for my sidecars, but then a total sweetheart gifted me a citrus press, and it has changed my life. It gets all the juice that your hand or your ordinary hand juicer misses — and keeps it seed-free. I can’t figure a way to DIY something that works this well, but it’s really not that expensive anyway. Plus it flattens your lime half in a really cute way so it’s almost inside-out.
  • Cocktail shaker and strainer: Of course you can buy these, but it’s super-easy to jerry-rig a couple of glasses. Grab two glasses out of the mismatched set you found on the sidewalk, and make sure that one is slightly smaller in circumference than the other. When you’re shaking to mix a cocktail, pour your ingredients and ice in the bigger glass, invert the small one on top (snugly!), hold the edges together, and shake away! When you’re ready to strain out the ice, flip the small glass so the two glasses are facing the same direction, and use that to hold the ice at bay as you pour into a repurposed peanut butter jar. Classy!
  • Shot glasses: Or use some really tiny jars; just make sure it holds about one ounce. Shot glasses are good for measuring in addition to getting drunker faster.
  • Muddler: Don’t have a muddler for your mojito? Do you have a big mixing spoon? The edge of the spoon is thick enough for muddling purposes. Just jam it against the mint in the bottom of your glass until it looks sufficiently broken up.
  • Regular ol’ flatware: Need a spoon to get cherries from the jar? Use… a spoon. Should a guest request a stirred martini rather than shaken, well, a butter knife is long enough to reach the bottom of most glasses. I can’t think of any good bar uses for forks, though — help a sister out?
  • Corkscrew and bottle opener: Again, you know what to do. The corkscrew is for wine, and the bottle opener is for any bottle that isn’t a twist-off. If you have any interest whatsoever in recreational alcohol consumption, you should already have both of these. But if you’re in a pinch, there’s a way to open a bottle of beer using another bottle of beer. So meta.

Next time: Mixers and Other Ingredients

Image courtesy of Sears

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Sarah M. Smart - Red-Light Special

Sarah M. Smart - Red-Light Special

Sarah M. Smart was summoned into being on a distant ice cream planet
through an unholy union of Two-Buck Chuck and unicorns. They sent her to Indianapolis and then the University of Missouri's School of Journalism
to spread peace and big hair. Perpetually in mourning for the comma, she
has worked for a variety of print media, including Indianapolis
, Global Journalist, and Vox. Since moving
to San Francisco for the booming dumpster-diving scene, she has been an
online operative for such fine folks as , Neo-Factory, and
Academy of Art University. After a day of cat-feeding, hat-making,
dog-walking, vegan baking, and daydreaming about marrying rich, all she
wants is a margarita as big as her face.