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Essential cocktail kit and where to get it

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

If you’re looking to invest in some decent mixology kit and some good quality ingredients, here’s some advice from our expert cocktail bartenders on what you need and where to buy it.

As a rule, for both cocktail ingredients and tools, stick to buying from a specialist, reputable company (we mention a few here) so that you can be sure you’re getting good quality products.

There are plenty of cocktail making tools on the market, but some are more essential than others. We recommend aiming to kit out your bar with the following:

o Cocktail shaker – preferably a Boston shaker, as we think they’re the most versatile. We recommend tin on tin as opposed to tin on glass as we've found that when opening the shaker, the glass can sometimes smash. Tins will always last longer. Basic / Premium.

o Jigger – otherwise known as a spirit measure or a thimble. Cocktail Kingdom have some that are pretty special. We prefer units that can offer both a 25ml and 50ml measure.

o Hand juicer – also known as a Mexican Elbow, because squeezing limes in your fist is hard work. Basic / Premium.

o Hawthorne strainer – to catch broken ice and keep your cocktails super smooth. Basic / Premium.

o Bar spoon – for the perfect stir and optimum dilution. We love the range from Cocktail Kingdom, especially their teardrop range.

o Muddler – don’t slip up on flavour and make mixing easier with a muddler. Basic.

When you book one of our bartenders, they will come equipped with all of the above, and more.

(from top left, clockwise) Mixing glass, pourers, Hawthorne strainer, zest peeler, fine strainer, jigger, small Boston tin, large Boston tin, muddler, bar spoon, chopping board, Mexican elbow, fruit knife, more pourers(!), corkscrew, bar blade

We purchase our kit through Nisbets as well as Drinkstuff. From time to time we'll get some freebies sent through too...!

Invest in good quality ingredients

We’re firm believers in sustainability, fair trade and shopping locally, so if you know of good local producers, support them. Wherever you choose to buy, it’s worth spending a bit more on high quality drinks.

Cocktail ingredients to have in stock

If you’re making a lot of different cocktails, you’re going to need a variety ingredients. Think of your cocktail drinks cabinet as a work in progress and collect good quality ingredients over time (though be careful not to keep spirits too long, as they lose their flavour with age).

We suggest starting with ingredients to furnish your favourite cocktails – if you’re a sucker for a Negroni, start by treating yourself to a top-notch bottle of Bristol Distilling Company gin.

o Spirits

When you’re ready to broaden your repertoire, the basic spirits you’ll need are vodka, gin, rum, whiskey, tequila and brandy. Depending on your cocktails of choice, decide whether you’ll need white or dark rum (or both) and on your preferred type of whiskey.

o Syrups

Pre-made syrups are an easy way to add flavour to your cocktails. From coffee, to fruit, to standard sugar, there are some great options on the market. Drink Stuff have an excellent selection to choose from.

o Bitters & liqueurs

A bottle of Angostura Bitters is a great addition to so many drinks and is well worth the investment. As for liqueurs, there is a delightful number to choose from, so we recommend starting with coffee, elderflower, orange and Amaretto. If you really want to treat yourself, try Blacks Cold Brew and Vanilla Liqueur from Bristol Distilling Company.

o Fresh ingredients

For fresh ingredients such as fruits and herbs, be sure to shop locally and choose organic produce if you can.

Not yet got a full set of cocktail making tools? Check out our blog, 9 hacks for mixing cocktails at home for some clever, economical cocktail mixing hacks.

If you’d rather sit back and enjoy the party while we do all the mixing, hire one of our fully stocked mobile bars, together with mobile bartenders and cocktail waiters, and let us make it easy for you.

Get in touch today and start planning your party.

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