perks for your palate.

7 home bar essentials from 3 of the country's top bartenders


Nothing beats a visit to your neighborhood cocktail joint, but when habitually hitting the town begins to take a toll on your sleep/wallet/sanity vibe, it’s time to bring the party back home. To ensure you’re well stocked for the occasion, we’ve enlisted a few of the nation’s top bartenders to lend their insight on seven behind-the-stick staples of the moment.

Scrappy’s Bitters
$19.50 at BittersandBottles.com
This online shop stocks more than 1,500 items in the craft spirits realm, including Scrappy’s Bitters, a handcrafted line founded by Seattle bartender Miles Thomas.

“I can't get enough of the bitters that these guys make. Everything they put out works beautifully in cocktails, and we make great use of them at both of my bars.” —Erick Castro (Polite Provisions, San Diego)

Otsuka Short Mixing Glass
$46 at UmamiMart.com
What began as a food and drink blog in 2007 quickly morphed into Umami Mart, an Oakland-based Japanese kitchen and barware importing business that seeks out design-driven pieces that are service-smart as well. This mixing glass is just one example.

“Mixing glasses can be expensive and prone to breaking easily. The one I most prefer is made by Otsuka, and is very durable.”—Benjamin Schiller (The Sixth, Chicago)

“When making drinks, you need a good fit between the shaker and the glass, or you will literally be wearing your mistakes.”—Todd Maul (Café ArtScience, Cambridge, MA)

Togiharu Inox Petty Knife
$78 at KORIN.com
This Japanese knife brand has become a quick favorite at restaurants and bars alike for their premium materials and long-time durability.

“Buy fewer knives, but spend money on them and learn how to take care of them. I've had this Inox petty for seven years, and I keep it razor sharp.”—Benjamin Schiller (The Sixth, Chicago)

“Bad Ass Muddler”
12.95 at CocktailKingdom.com
“This is one of my favorite go-to items whenever I am setting up a new bar or project. It is solid and works well with all types of muddled drinks. It definitely lives up to its name, and it looks like it could survive a nuclear bomb.”—Erick Castro (Polite Provisions, San Diego)

Tomr’s Tonic
$12 at TheBostonShaker.com
Cocktail enthusiast Adam Lantheaume launched The Boston Shaker in 2008, inspired by his own at-home mixology and the esoteric ingredients it sometimes entailed, such as this tonic from New York bartender Tom Richter.

“This artisanal product is made by one of New York’s finest bartenders, and it puts all the store-bought tonic to shame. It is made from all natural ingredients and is a must-have for any serious gin and tonic drinker.”—Erick Castro (Polite Provisions, San Diego)

“The Smoking Gun” Handheld Food Smoker
$99.95 at PolyScienceCulinary.com
Food and drink lovers can easily geek out when persuing PolyScience Culinary’s website, which boasts an array of serious kitchen tools, from sous vide circulators to home vacuum sealers.

“I've been using this gun to smoke ingredients for years, and we currently use them to complete one of our cocktails at The Sixth here in Chicago.”—Benjamin Schiller (The Sixth, Chicago)

Teardrop Barspoons
$22.95 at CocktailKingdom.com
Cocktail Kingdom is known for its beautiful and efficient barware pieces, making it a no-brainer for bartenders worldwide, including Schiller.

“These gunmetal mixing spoons are as easy on the eyes as they are on your fingers.”—Benjamin Schiller (The Sixth, Chicago)



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