The time to toast the days of late summer is now. But with indoor bars still largely off limits, finding a well-crafted cocktail is more difficult than it used to be.
That’s where a good wet bar comes in handy.
“I have a lot of bar tools, and I like having a kit that’s pretty,” said David Kaplan, the founder and an owner of the cocktail bar Death & Co, based on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. “But the kit I reach for most is still hyper-functional.”
Every serious home bar should have weighted shaking tins, a mixing glass, a Hawthorne strainer, a mixing spoon and a quality jigger, he said. Also, consider extras like a muddler and ice trays with intriguing shapes.
Mr. Kaplan keeps his workhorse accessories in a closed cabinet, but leaves his best-looking pieces, including a laser-cut strainer and a rose-gold spoon, on display.
“I have them on a vintage silver tray with a couple of other accouterments to make a little vignette,” he said, adding that he makes martinis in bulk and keeps them in the freezer. “It’s a lovely but dangerous convenience.”
How many jiggers do you need? One with various measurements is usually enough. “All these products we buy aren’t really accurate,” Mr. Kaplan said. “But as long as you’re using the same measuring device for everything, proportionally your cocktail will be correct.”
Do you really need a special mixing spoon? Apparently so. “Stirring a cocktail is one thing that actually takes a bit of practice,” he said. “You want to introduce the least amount of air.”
How else can you improve a cocktail? “Glassware is one thing you can have a huge amount of fun with,” said Mr. Kaplan, who prefers vintage martini and Collins glasses that he finds on eBay and in antiques stores.
Sertodo Copper Jigger
Pure copper jigger with measurement indentations
$26 at Bull in China: bullinchinapdx.com
Diamond-Cut Mixing Glass
Japanese mixing glass from Ninomiya Crystal
$43 at Umami Mart: 510-250-9559 or umamimart.com
Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins
Shaking tins with stainless-steel, gold, copper or black finish
From about $8 each at Cocktail Kingdom: 212-647-9166 or cocktailkingdom.com
Wood and Corian Muddler
Maple or walnut muddler with Corian tips by AHeirloom
From $28 at Food52: food52.com