These At-Home Bar Essentials Will Perfect Your Mixology Game

Get ready to shake things up.

at-home bar essentials
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Home is where the heart is. And let’s be honest, sometimes it can be hard to leave its comfort- especially when it’s cold, you’re tired, or you can’t due to other obligations. But just because you don’t want to leave your casa mojo dojo house, doesn’t mean you can’t scratch that itch for a great craft cocktail or glass of wine. And in 2024 there’s no reason to settle for imbibing a substandard beverage, even at home. That’s why it’s time to level-up your at-home bar.

While revamping the home bar is less intense than renovating any other area of your house, this makeover requires precision, attention to detail, and the right purchases. We’ve enlisted a few experts to share everything you’ll need to turn your living space (or at least a corner of it) into a Haus of Mixology.

Julianna McIntosh, a professional mixologist and owner and creator of Join Jules has a comparison to alleviate some of the stress that might appear when you decide to elevate your personal cocktail station. “I tend to relate home bars to what a kitchen is to a chef or a baker,” she says. “We must have the right tools for success, so no matter what I always recommend having the basics.”

Below, McIntosh and other experts weigh in on the essentials in each bar category.


Mixing Tools

Boston Shaker

This two-piece shaker was on the top of our experts’ lists. Sarah Gualtieri, aka The Boozy Ginger, is a photographer and beverage content creator who specializes in cocktails for the home bartender who considers it a necessity. “Some shakers can leak which is frustrating and that is one reason why I recommend the Boston shaker,” she says.


“You must have the right measuring tools,” to create balanced, tasty, quality drinks McIntosh declares. “Make sure to get the jiggers that have lines and measurements on the inside so you can easily measure each ingredient.”

Citrus Squeezer

McIntosh insists people use fresh citrus to create at-home cocktails, so this tool is necessary. “It will absolutely change everything compared to the store-bought mixers. Whether I’m pulling out my electric citrus reamer or a hand citrus press, I will always have this at the ready,” she says.

Serving Accessories

Linen Cocktail Napkins

McIntosh suggests, “An even easier way to elevate your home bartending game is embroidered linen cocktail napkins. This can be on theme with a holiday or have a cheeky cocktail quote.”

Trendy Cocktail Picks

This is “another easy (and affordable) way to elevate your home bartending game,” McIntosh says. According to her, it elevates the garnish and “shows your guests you’ve really thought about this home cocktail menu.”

Bar Mat

“It’s one of those items where you didn’t know you needed it until you have it,” McIntosh gushes, and calls it “an easy way to avoid worrying about spills, which inevitably will happen.” Plus, clean-up is easy. Throw the mat into the sink at the end of the night.

Ice Mold

Gualtieri insists an ice mold isn’t necessary but enjoys using large cubes or spheres of ice in her drinks when she can for aesthetics.


When you pick a glass, you can’t just pick any glass for any drink, as Maximilian J. Riedel, the 11th-generation CEO and president of Riedel tells us. “Glassware plays an important role in the overall tasting experience of both wine and cocktails. A good glass won’t make the drink taste entirely different, but the experience itself is on another level when using the right one.”

For example, he says that wines taste best in glassware designed for its specific varietal because it helps enhance its unique characteristics. The same goes for cocktails. “Key details that dictate the tasting experience of a cocktail include the size, shape, volume, and ice capacity of the glass,” he explains. So, it’s important to decide what you’re drinking before you decide what you drink it in. An example is the martini that has been served in the same traditional glass for decades. “A longer stem keeps the drink cold and away from the heat of your hand.”


At-Home Bar Rules Of Thumb

When you’re ready to invest in upgrading your at-home bar, but don’t want to break the bank, it’s helpful to know where you can splurge and where you can save. “Luckily bar tools don’t have to be expensive,” Gualtiere says. “I would recommend sticking to metal tools for making the best cocktails with less mess [...] For durability stick to stainless steel. Gold bar tools will usually start to lose their finish with multiple uses and washing.”

McIntosh agrees but emphasizes that for a better at-home bar experience it’s helpful to purchase barware tools that are higher quality, investment pieces. “It’s easy to buy a cheap cocktail shaker on Amazon, and I’m not saying you need to buy the imported Italian shaker to get a good quality shake,” she explains. It’s important for barware pieces to not only be able to execute but quality equipment is better when it comes to avoiding leaks and spills.

If you’re shopping for glassware, once you’ve determined what beverages you will be making, choose corresponding glasses, but Riedel’s advice goes a step further. Keep it simple and chic. “I suggest avoiding anything that is very design or embellishment-heavy — and for wine specifically — avoid any glassware with a colored bowl,” he says. Because sight is an important component of the tasting experience, he wants people to be able to see what’s in the glass like sediment or the color of the cocktail.

If you’re a complete novice when it comes to glassware, he hopes people won’t shudder at higher price points. “it’s worth it to invest in a trusted, experienced brand that produces high-quality and durable materials,” he says. He cautions people to stay away from soda-lime, a material that’s typically thicker and much less refined. The good news he says is that buying higher-quality glassware has a great ROI. “Glassware can last a long time when you take good care of it by cleaning and storing it properly.”

Ahead, expert-approved picks to make your at-home bar as famous as the one where everybody knows your name. Cheers!