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6 Essential Items Every Home Bar Should Have

6 Essential Items Every Home Bar Should Have

Words Rebecca Ulanoff

It’s easy to look like an expert mixologist when you have the right tools. Here’s what to include in your starter bar cart—plus, how to use them to make our favorite cocktail recipes.

Having an at-home bar is a great way to upgrade your entertaining skills. But building a proper bar requires stocking it with accessories beyond glassware, whether you’re making a classic cocktail, pouring a shot or opening a bottle of wineWhile home bar carts are popping up all over Pinterest, you don’t necessarily need an entire piece of furniture dedicated to making drinks, especially when many of us have limited space to work with and limited mixology skills.

Therefore, we spoke to Juan, Senior Product Manager and OXO’s in-house cocktail expert about the best home bar accessories for beginners and what drinks they could master with them. Read on for his recommendations.


The Accessories You’ll Need For a Cocktail Bar:

1. Cocktail Shaker:
Our shaker is double walled to prevent condensation on the outside, and protect hands from getting chilly while shaking.


2. Steel Cocktail Strainer:
Also referred to as a Hawthorne strainer, it’s used to strain ice for crystal-clear drinks. It also has a raised lip to prevent spills.


3. Steel Double Jigger:
Two sides for measuring and pouring plus all the measurement markings you could ever need.


4. Y-Peeler or Paring Knife:
Either one of these tools is perfect for peeling or paring garnishes.

5. Covered Silicone Ice Cube Tray – Large Cubes:
Not quite a secret ingredient, but these extra-big cubes will make your drinks (and you) look like a professional barkeep.


6. No-Spill Ice Cube Tray:
This is great for mixing drinks and keeps spills at bay while you replenish.

Now use these great accessories by making our favorite cocktail recipes below. Then learn about how to build a coffee bar, the best cocktail-making gifts, and what to do with leftover wine.


Classic Dry Martini

adapted from The Kitchn:


2 1/2 oz. gin or vodka

1/2 oz dry vermouth


Lemon peel twist or olives, for garnish


  1. Put your Martini glass in the freezer to chill.
  2. Place the gin or vodka and dry vermouth in your Shaker.
  3. Add ice cube and stir for 30 seconds with Spinning Bar Spoon until the Martini is chilled.
  4. Strain the drink into your chilled Martini glass.
  5. Garnish the drink: Pare a lemon peel, and express (pinch) the back of the lemon peel over the martini. Rub the lemon peel around the rim of the glass and drop it in. Alternatively, garnish with speared olives.
manhattan cocktail


adapted from


2 oz rye whiskey

1 oz sweet vermouth

5 drops Angostura bitters


Optional: cherry for garnish


  1. Put cocktail glass into freezer to chill.
  2. Place all ingredients into Cocktail Shaker and fill with ice.
  3. Stir well with Spinning Bar Spoon and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry if you like.

Whiskey Sour

adapted from Ina Garten:


3/4 cup whiskey

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 limes)

2/3 cup simple syrup (see below)


Marashino cherries


  1. Combine the whiskey, lemon juice, lime juice and syrup.
  2. Fill a Cocktail Shaker halfway with ice and fill with two-thirds of the cocktail mixture.
  3. Shake for 30 seconds, strain through Fine Mesh Strainer into glasses.
  4. Add a maraschino cherry and serve ice cold.

Simple Syrup


  1. Put 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Chill thoroughly before using.

Vodka Gimlet

adapted from


2 oz vodka

1 oz fresh lime juice

3/4 oz simple syrup


Lime wedge, for serving


  1. Add vodka, lime juice, simple syrup and ice into Cocktail Shaker, shake.
  2. Strain over Fine Mesh Strainer, garnish with lime wedge.
By Rebecca Ulanoff

Rebecca Ulanoff is part of OXO’s Brand Communications Team. She enjoys talking about her next meal while eating her current one. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and four-year-old daughter.

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