The time to toast the days of late summer is now. With indoor bars still largely banned, finding a well-made cocktail is more difficult than it used to be.
A good wet bar is ideal here.
"I have a lot of bar tools and I like having a nice kit," said David Kaplan, the founder and owner of Death & Co cocktail bar on Manhattan's Lower East Side. "But the kit I get for most is still hyper-functional."
Every serious home bar should have weighted shaker cans, a mixing glass, a Hawthorne strainer, a mixing spoon, and a quality jigger, he said. Also consider extras like a muddler and ice cube trays with fascinating shapes.
Mr Kaplan keeps his workhorse accessories in a closed cupboard, but leaves his finest pieces on display, including a laser-cut sieve and rose gold spoon.
"I put them on a vintage silver platter with a few other accessories to make a little vignette," he said, adding that he makes martinis in bulk and keeps them in the freezer. "It's a beautiful but dangerous amenity."
How many jiggers do you need? One with different dimensions is usually sufficient. "All of these products that we buy aren't really accurate," said Kaplan. "But as long as you use the same meter for everything, your cocktail will be proportionally correct."
Do you really need a special mixing spoon? Apparently so. "Stirring a cocktail is one thing that actually takes a little practice," he said. "You want to introduce the least amount of air."
How can you improve a cocktail? "Glassware is one thing to have fun with," said Mr. Kaplan, who prefers vintage martini and collins glasses that he can find on eBay and in antique stores.
Sertodo Copper Jigger
Pure copper jig with notches
$ 26 at Bull in China: bullinchinapdx.com
Diamond cut mixed glass
Japanese mixed glass made of Ninomiya Crystal
$ 43 at Umami Mart: 510-250-9559 or umamimart.com
Koriko weighted shaker cans
Shaking cans with stainless steel, gold, copper or black finish
Starting at around $ 8 each at Cocktail Kingdom: 212-647-9166 or Cocktailkingdom.com
Wood and Corian Muddler
Maple or walnut muddler with Corian tips from AHeirloom
From $ 28 at Food52: food52.com
Tank copper ice bucket set
Glass ice bucket with copper-plated tongs
$ 260 at Tom Dixon: 866-446-3140 or tomdixon.net
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