12 Best Bartender Kits to Enjoy Happy Hour at Home
Published: April 9, 2022
Looking to learn about the tools of the mixology trade? Start your cocktail making today with a bartender kit from this list!
Mixology is a fascinating science of flavors and balance. Finding the perfect combination of spirits is key to tickling the tongue and brightening up evenings at home! The hobby might seem daunting, which is why it’s best to start with an all-essential bartender kit.
Picking a Bartender Kit for You
A bartender kit consists of different tools to mix alcohol into more pleasant alcohol. Though not every kit has the same items, the basics are usually similar. Each kit typically comes with a mixer, a shaker, a strainer, and a measuring jigger. If you’re looking to dip your toes into the mixing world, then a simple kit with these items should suit you fine. More extensive kits are also available if you’re interested in them.
Gauge your interest and budget, and research a bit on the different tools before deciding what kind is best for you. In case you’re seeking a more comprehensive rundown of the different parts of a bartender kit, we have one below, so keep reading!
Why Buy A Bartender Kit
Picking up a bartender kit is much easier than assembling one yourself. Instead of scouring the internet for each piece, you can have them all delivered in one complete package. Throw in a fitted stand and the fact that the tools come in matching sets and you end up with a functional countertop piece that’ll look good wherever you place it.
Even a veteran mixologist can benefit from picking up an extra set or two for travel. Some kits will have a bag for the tools, with everything fitted for any barkeep’s needs. You won’t have to worry about losing your favorite shakers and mixers anymore if you have a spare set at hand. All in all, a bartender kit is easy to buy and convenient to keep around, so what are you waiting for?
Best Bartender Kits
If you’ve decided to purchase a bartender kit for yourself, then here’s a handy list of some of our favorites from Amazon. Take note of your preferences when looking at the key features, pros, and cons of these sets. You’re sure to find one that suits you well among the offerings.
The JOYTABLE Basic Bar Set is an excellent choice to start any mixologist’s experiments. This handy little kit comes with the essentials you need to mix up some quick drinks. It even comes with a recipe booklet. Made with mirror-finished stainless steel, this bar set is sure to serve you well.
- Commercial-grade stainless steel with mirrored finish
- Includes cocktail guide and recipe booklet
- Compact enough to store all in the shaker
- 3 inches x 3 inches x 11 inches
- Excellent starting set
- Quick and easy to clean
- High-quality materials and build
- Lacks a muddler
The Elite Starter Bartender Kit from barillio is another great beginner set, this time with a stand. The premium bamboo holder is great for keeping your essentials organized, and it’ll look great on a bright kitchen countertop. Maintaining a tidy kitchen while you mix just got easier.
- Dishwasher-safe and rust-proof material
- Included bamboo stand
- Ergonomic design
- 8.62 inches x 5.94 inches x 5.94 inches
- The included microfiber towel is great for cleanup
- The stand is neat and attractive
- High-quality look and feel
- The etched slogan may be considered inappropriate
The bottle stoppers and liquor pourers in the 23-Piece Bartender Kit from barillio aren’t exactly essential, but they are very nice to look at. With an attractive rose gold tint to the metal, these little trinkets are great for making your liquor bottles match your barkeeper set. It’s a nice added touch of decoration that brings the look together on your countertop.
- Comes in a wide range of colors
- Leak-proof and BPA-free design
- The stand is 100% bamboo with a water-resistant finish
- 14.01 inches x 7.63 inches x 5.44 inches
- Beautiful design and colors
- Easy to clean
- Excellent variety of included tools
- Using a dishwasher will cause colors to fade
The Mixology Bartender Kit from Aberdeen Oak comes in an altogether classy package. From the attractive gold and blue box to its dark wood stand, this is a set that prides itself in presentation. It also boasts of an especially premium Boston shaker and a lined double-jigger for easy measuring. This set’s quality goes beyond just its packaging as it provides the best tools that it can give.
- Comprehensive kit
- Includes a professional-grade Boston shaker
- Sleek, high-end finish for the stand
- Stability from inlays in the wood
- Package dimensions: 12.17 inches x 7.17 inches x 4.96 inches
- Incredible quality for the price
- The tools feel high-quality and professional
- Pristine wood used for stand
- Included Hawthorne strainer is not the best fit for the shaker
If you’re a fan of black, then the 11-Piece Matte Bartender Kit from SOING may just be for you. It has a lovely contrast of light wood against dark metal, with a sleek matt finish on all of the pieces. Picking this setup for a darker den area or as an accent piece to a lighter setup would be perfect.
- Unique wooden stand
- High-quality stainless steel
- Multiple color choices
- Package size: 12.6 inches x 7.56 inches x 4.72 inches
- Great beginner set
- Attractive appearance
- Well-made pieces
- Works for a wide variety of cocktails
- Jigger is on the small side
There’s no denying the versatility of the Circular Bartender Kit from Bokhot. The stand that comes with this particular set rotates like a Lazy Susan, giving easy access to all your tools with a simple flick. When you’re in the groove of mixing up your favorite cocktails, having everything easily at hand can be an absolute delight.
- Premium stainless steel material
- 360-degree rotating stand
- Package size: 9.57 inches x 9.45 inches x 4.72 inches
- The spinning feature is convenient and well-designed
- Includes recipes for common cocktails
- Has all the basic tools you need
- Presentable packaging for gifts
- Shaker isn’t heavy-duty
There’s something quite charming about matching sets, and the Cocktail Shaker Set from Sky Fish takes it to the next level. The two Moscow Mule mugs and the rest of the tools have the same attractive shade of rose gold, and they all fit perfectly against a gorgeous black stand! It’s a very pretty set ready for you and your guests.
- Wall-mountable stand
- 2 Moscow Mule mugs
- Top-quality beginner set
- 17.32 inches x 7.48 inches x 5.12 inches
- Shaker and tools are excellent quality
- Items look stylish
- Attractive packaging
- The stand is somewhat flimsy
The Rustic Bartender Kit from Mixology and Craft is the type of set that suits a more relaxed setting. It blends well in a beach house or a room with a more rural aesthetic. Of course, if you put it on a more modern shelf, this set would also lend a nice contrast to the sleek and formal air. Whatever style its surroundings may don, this bartender kit plays the part of being an aesthetic decoration and usable toolset.
- Includes a complete 11-piece set
- Made with durable stainless steel
- Provides a rustic wooden crate stand
- 14.7 inches x 4 inches x 11.5 inches
- Aesthetic and decorative design
- Pieces are durable and function well
- Easy to clean
- Rust-proof warranty available
- Mounting on the wall may prove tricky
If you’ve ever wanted to transform your liquor bottles into statement pieces, you should check out the Ornate Bartender Set from Cubovie. This collection of tools includes two bottle stoppers with fine decorative heads in the form of a ram and a stag. They’re sure to draw anyone’s attention as you pour, and are fine conversation starters for drinking sessions with friends.
- 2 decorative bottle stoppers
- Sleek and eco-friendly stand
- High-quality stainless steel materials
- 14.02 inches x 7.01 inches x 5.31 inches
- Premium finish
- Suitable for beginners
- The metal used is adequately thick
- Cutouts on some stands may not be the correct size
Traveling about with all your barkeep items doesn’t have to be a hassle with the Travel Bartender Kit from Mixology and Craft. This package comes with a travel bag specifically designed to fit the included set of fine tools. It even has some extra pockets for any glasses you may want to bring with you. Just be sure to pack them properly in case of bumpy roads.
- All-inclusive kit with everything you need
- Heavy-duty materials
- Rustic-style roll-up travel bag with brass hardware
- Large zip-up pocket for glasses
- Package size: 16.57 inches x 5.59 inches x 5.08 inches
- Comes with a 3-year warranty and excellent customer service
- Bag is roomy
- Has a professional look
- Has sturdy and weighty barkeep tools
- Jigger lacks measurement markings
If you intend to bring a selection of spirits with you to a party, the Bartender Bag Kit from Jillmo may be an excellent addition to your arsenal. It not only comes with an extra set of tools for you to make use of. The included bag also has a large compartment perfect for bottles of all shapes and sizes. The inserts are adjustable to suit your needs, and it’s an excellent traveling companion for any barkeep.
- 11-piece bartender set
- Carrying bag for kit
- Large main compartment with removable and adjustable inserts
- 12.2 inches x 9.4 inches x 16.9 inches
- Protects alcohol bottles well
- Plenty of storage for up to 6 bottles
- High-quality bar tools
- The build quality of the strap needs improvement
The Complete Bar Tool Set from barillio will have you positively spoiled for choice. Coming with a wide assortment of mixers, shakers, muddlers, and strainers, this bartender kit lets you complete your mixology collection with ease. You’ll find the variety fun to work with as you discover your personal preferences in the tools of the mixology trade.
- All-in-one, high-end mixology set
- Rustproof and stylish stainless steel
- Multiple variants of different tools
- Includes a drink-making booklet and ebook
- Package size: 16.18 inches x 11.18 inches x 6.18 inches
- A large variety of tools in one pack
- Pieces are sturdy and well-made
- Packaged with care before shipment
- No caddy or stand for organization
What’s In A Bartender Kit?
As promised, here’s the section that goes over the different tools you get when you buy a bartender kit. Remember that not all of these can be found in every kit. Each set is different, after all, but this guide should help you pick the set right for you.
For Preparing Ingredients
The preparation of the raw ingredients mainly includes measuring, crushing, pouring, and juicing.
For measuring, a jigger is generally used. This is the small, two-sided, hourglass-shaped cup that you find in most sets. The two ends have two separate measurements, which helps a mixologist properly parse out the alcohol they’re adding to a drink. Many jiggers also have measurements on the inside to make this process easier.
Crushing is preferably handled by a muddler – a long, blunt instrument of either wood or metal that can easily fit into a mixing glass or a shaker. Lightly crushing ingredients like herbs or fruits allow many of their flavors to be released into the cocktail. Muddlers are easier to use with barkeep tools than a mortar and pestle, which is why they’ve been made into their own thing.
Pouring straight from the bottle is completely acceptable for most drinks, but if you want to add some extra flair to your presentation, some bottle liquor pourers are ideal. They help direct the liquid more easily, and thanks to their smaller opening, they also reduce spills. Finally, juicing is used when simply crushing the fruit isn’t enough. This can be handled by a common kitchen juicer, but many kits include a hand juicer anyway, properly sized for shakers or mixing glasses.
Shaken or stirred has been a popular choice to run into when it comes to cocktails. The general rule of thumb is that you ought to stir clear drinks and shake cloudy drinks. For these, you may need different tools.
While you can turn almost any large glass into a mixing glass, a cocktail mixing glass is often preferred by professional mixologists. These types of glasses are specifically designed with making drinks in mind. They have a weighted bottom to keep them stable and a small spout that makes pouring the completed drink easier. The mixing spoons that come with these glasses are long and have spiraled handles to ensure stirring is smooth and easy. Introducing too many bubbles, especially into clear cocktails, is something you want to avoid by using these proper tools.
If the cocktail you’re making needs to be shaken, there are two styles of shaker available to you. Cobbler shakers, the ones with the stout spout on top, come in three pieces with a built-in ice strainer. They form a very tight seal after shaking. Boston shakers, on the other hand, are the ones that look like two tin glasses clamped together. They sometimes come with a 16-ounce pint glass instead, but tin is preferred as the glass varieties are prone to breaking. Both types of shakers work well, so it’s a matter of preference on which to pick up.
Certain drinks are meant to be cold but not served with ice, and some need to have herbs or other ingredients removed before serving. There are three types of strainers for this – Hawthorne strainers, julep strainers, and fine mesh strainers.
The julep strainer looks a bit like a mini version of a kitchen strainer, and it goes over your mixing glass. The concave part of the strainer faces the inside of the glass and is held in place as you pour, catching any errant pieces of ice. It’s quick and easy to use with few complications.
Hawthorne strainers are a little more complex. They have springs around their rims, and the density of the spring determines the size of the ice that will get through into the glass. The thicker the spring, the smaller the ice. These strainers are placed on top of your Boston shaker when pouring. It has two positions – open gate and closed gate. The strainer is naturally in the open gate position and will only catch larger pieces of ice when you pour. If you want even the smaller pieces of ice caught, push the strainer down slightly while pouring. This will cause it to take on the closed gate position and catch smaller items in the drink.
Fine Mesh Strainers
To be even more thorough while straining, you can use a fine mesh strainer. These reliable strainers may not have the panache of the Hawthorne or julep, but they get the job done most thoroughly. Try to grab a cone-shaped one if you can to direct the flow of the drink into the glass more easily.
Not all of these devices are necessary, but having them on hand makes mixing much easier and a lot more fun. Play around with your favorites, experiment, and explore! You’re sure to find your favorite tools of the trade in no time.
Frequently Asked Questions about Bartender Kit
What should I look for in a bar kit?
A good bartender kit will have all of the essentials – a shaker, a strainer, a mixer, a muddler, and a jigger. The items should be built of non-rusting steel so that they last you a good long while. Finding a stand that matches your bar can also play into your decision.
What is a muddler used for?
A muddler is used to easily crush cocktail ingredients inside a glass or shaker. It’s essentially a more maneuverable pestle without a mortar. It’s not meant to turn ingredients into pulp. Rather, to release the essence of fruits or herbs into the drink.
How do I clean my bartender kit?
Many bartender kits are dishwasher-safe and can be easily cleaned. However, some have tinted metal and may peel when not hand-washed, so be sure to check the instructions. For the items such as strainers that might have pulp or herbs stuck in them, gently brushing them should help remove the lodged materials.
Whether you’re an eager beginner or a mixology veteran, picking up a bartender kit is sure to lead to a lot of fun. Relaxing at an outdoor bar, and fixing your friends a drink while you chat is a novel experience. Hanging out on a comfy bar stool for an evening will always have its charms, but there’s a special feeling when stepping behind the counter. If you’ve ever wanted to experience the joy of drink making for yourself, now’s the time to grab your starting kit.