Eat and Drink Home bar essentials: Everything you need to make cocktails yourself By GEORGIA KRAL Updated September 25, 2014 10:36 AM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email Want to make great cocktails at home? Here's what you need. Glassware Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL Every drink has a glass it should be served in. From left to right: Wine glass Martini glass Shot glass Coupe (for shaken cocktails or champagne) Highball Old fashioned/ rocks glass Spirits Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL Ok, we know you like what you like, but there are some essentials that every bar should have: Gin Vodka Bourbon Scotch (in a decanter if you're into that sort of thing) Vermouth, both sweet and dry Bitters Recommended Cynar or Amaro, or any bitter digestif Campari, for Negroni's Tequila Dark rum Aperol Double jigger Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL Eyeballing it works for a rum and coke, but not for a more complicated concoction with more than two ingredients. A double jigger measures 1 1/2 ounces on one side (a full jigger) and 3/4 of an ounce on the other. This nice one from Williams-Sonoma is $7.96. Hand-held citrus juicer Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL You can use a tabletop juicer if you want, but we love a good hand-held tool. No pouring required. Norpro makes a nice stainless steel juicer. Citrus grater Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL Many concoctions call for a dusting, either of lemon, lime, nutmeg or a host of other delicate flavors. Using a grater allows for a nice even amount of fine particles. Choose from many on Amazon. Muddler Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL You need a muddler when a cocktail calls for herbs (hello mojito!), fruits or crushed aromatics. We like a wooden muddler because it's more natural,or seasoned, than a metal or rubber muddler. Try this one from Oenophilia. Cocktail shaker Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL You need this for obvious reasons. Get a shaker that's insulated - your hand will thank you when it's not frozen. Get this affordable model at Williams-Sonoma for $35.96. Stirred cocktail tools Photo Credit: GEORGIA KRAL If you prefer a stirred cocktail -- and if you do, might we suggest the 50-50 gin martini (1/2 gin, 1/2 dry vermouth, olives or 1-2 drops orange bitters) -- you need these three ingredients: a pint glass (measurements optional, but handy), a bar spoon and a cocktail strainer. You can get fancy with these tools - check out this strainer from Swissmar - but any tools will work. Large, square ice cube tray Photo Credit: King Cube Yes, regular ice will work in your old-fashioned. But a large ice cube melts more slowly and thus won't dilute your drink as quickly. Keep those spirits strong! Pick one up at the Brooklyn Kitchen for $9.99. Mixers Photo Credit: FLICKR/ Orin Zebest Seltzer and tonic, only. These are the only carbonated beverages acceptable. If you want some extra flavor or sweetness, add simple syrup. You can make your own. The measurement is 1:1/ sugar to water. Just heat until sugar is dissolved and the mixture almost boils, and then let cool. Rose's Lime Juice has its detractors but we like it in a vodka gimlet. It's good to have on hand. Garnishes.... Photo Credit: FLICKR/ Sunchild57 Photography Of course, you can garnish your cocktail with any number of things. But the essentials are: cocktail olives, lemon or lime slices or maraschino (or the gourmet, better for you Luxardo) cherries. Pickled onions aren't essential, though if you like them, having a jar on hand so you can whip up a martini, go for it. Classic cocktail #1: The Old-Fashioned Photo Credit: FLICKR/ Sam Howzit One of the most classic drinks happens to also be one of the tastiest. The Old-Fashioned is also the drink of choice for one Don Draper. Here's how to make it: Ingredients Bourbon/ Sugar/ Bitters/ Cherry/ Orange and Lemon slices Muddle 1 teaspoon of sugar with a couple of drops of bitters and a splash of water in an Old Fashioned glass. Add ice as desired. Add one ounce of Bourbon (or more) as desired. Garnish. Classic cocktail #2: The dry martini Photo Credit: FLICKR/ Nico Had a long day? A crisp, dry martini (gin is classic, vodka is an option) will help you wind down. Ingredients Gin (or vodka), dry vermouth, olives/ lemon twist/ pickled onion The most common breakdown is 3:1 parts, gin to vermouth, but everyone has their preferred way. Fill cocktail shaker with ice, add spirits, shake vigorously. Some like to stir a martini, but we think it's better to shake because it gets colder, with flecks of ice mixed into the concoction. As James Bond says, "Shaken, not stirred." If you like a dirty martini, add a tablespoon of olive brine. Classic cocktail #3: The Mint Julep Photo Credit: Virgil's The Mint Julep is a spring drink, and is synonymous with the Kentucky Derby. And while they are especially good on a warm afternoon, we like them all the time. Ingredients: Bourbon, simple syrup, fresh mint Muddle 4-5 mint sprigs and 1/2 ounce simple syrup in the bottom of an Old-Fashioned or Highball glass. (If you have the classic julep cup- great!) Add 2 1/2 ounces of bourbon. Fill with crushed ice and stir well. Garnish with more mint (and a cherry, if you like.) Classic cocktail #4: The Vodka Gimlet Photo Credit: FLICKR/ Todd Lappin A vodka gimlet is straightforward, refreshing and a little sweet. It must be served bracingly cold. Ingredients: Vodka, Rose's lime juice (or make your own with fresh squeezed lime and a pinch of sugar), lime wedge Pour 1 1/2 ounces of vodka and 3/4 ounce of lime juice into a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Pour into martini glass or coupe. Garnish with lime wedge. By GEORGIA KRAL Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.