The best mixology tool for beginners

Bar & Wine

James Bond may have asked for it shaken, but the martini is traditionally a stirred drink.

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Top beginner’s tools for mixology

A mixologist is essentially a bartender, but with a little more flare. Making a good drink comes down to a good recipe, a bit of practice and the right tools. We’ll break down the key home mixology tools, and how to use them. Most of these tools will become staples of your home bar and are rather inexpensive. 

Best ice cube tray 

Aside from the Hot Toddy, the entire category of “cocktail” is chilled and frosty. Ice cubes are an integral and often underlooked part of the mixologist’s toolkit. It varies by drink, but approximately 25 percent of all cocktails are water, most of which comes from the ice diluting when it’s shaken or stirred. Quality ice cubes can improve your drink dramatically. 

Top ice cube tray

Tovolo Inch Large King Craft Ice Mold Freezer Tray

Tovolo Inch Large King Craft Ice Mold Freezer Tray 

What you need to know: This tray is food-grade silicone which makes it pliable, easy to use, and creates slow-melting ice. Plus, large cubes of ice look great in a highball or Collins glass.

What you’ll love: It is easy to clean and stacks neatly while freezing, and the ice cubes are very large. 

What you should consider: It only holds six ice cubes, which means you may need to buy a few.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond and Kohl’s

Top ice cube tray for the money

OXO Good Grips Silicone Stackable Ice Cube Tray with Lid - Large Cube

OXO Good Grips Silicone Stackable Ice Cube Tray with Lid – Large Cube

What you need to know: This tray offers smaller ice cubes that fit well and the tray is durable. 

What you’ll love: The silicone lid makes it easy to get rid of excess water before freezing. 

What you should consider: Unfortunately, the silicone lid is not leakproof and some users say the tray transfers an unpleasant plastic taste to the ice cubes. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Ice cube tray worth checking out

Kitch Easy Release White Ice Cube Tray

Kitch Easy Release White Ice Cube Tray

What you need to know: These standard ice trays are easy to use and comes in packs of four

What you’ll love: Ice cubes release with minimal effort. 

What you should consider: Some users have experienced plastic-tasting ice cubes. The trays may freeze together in the freezer. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

The best cocktail measure, aka “jigger” 

Unlike cooking which finds balance in complementary ingredients, many cocktails find balance in contrast. Key considerations for a jigger are comfort, readable measurements and minimal spillage. 

Top cocktail measure

OXO Steel Angled Measuring Jigger

OXO Steel Angled Measuring Jigger

What you need to know: This fills at an angle, which makes it easy to get precise measurements.

What you’ll love: The design is reminiscent of traditional measuring cups, which should make it very easy to use.

What you should consider: It’s less stylish than some options, and it’s not as exciting to pour from. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top cocktail measure for the money

American Metalcraft Bar Jigger

American Metalcraft Bar Jigger

What you need to know: This jigger is extremely affordable and made with thin but durable stainless steel. 

What you’ll love: Outcompetes the competition at its price point in terms of precision measurement. 

What you should consider: Not the most comfortable and does not feel balanced in the hand. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Cocktail measure worth checking out

A Bar Above Bell Jigger

A Bar Above Bell Jigger 

What you need to know: A gorgeous polished metal jigger with clearly engraved measurements. One side is 2 ounces, the other 1 ounce. 

What you’ll love: Made with stainless steel, the weight of the jigger makes it rest comfortably in your fingers.

What you should consider: More expensive, might not fit snugly in the dishwasher. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

The best cocktail shaker 

When considering which shaker to get, you have two major styles to choose from. The Boston shaker has a larger metal bottom tin and a smaller metal or glass top tin. The cobbler shaker is a three-part tin with a large metal bottom tin, a curved metal top tin and a cap with a built-in strainer on top. Both styles are effective and it ultimately comes down to preference.

Top cocktail shaker

Cocktail Kingdom Leopold Weighted Tin Set

Cocktail Kingdom Leopold Weighted Tin Set

What you need to know: This Boston shaker set of tins separate effortlessly and are made of stainless steel. 

What you’ll love: Will not warp in the dishwasher, which should ensure a tight seal even after multiple uses.  

What you should consider: Not the most affordable, some other shakers are ornate or colorful. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cocktail shaker for the money

Barfly Shaker Cocktail Tin

Barfly Shaker Cocktail Tin

What you need to know: Effective Boston shaker set that offers additional stability with a weighted capped bottom. Made of stainless steel.

What you’ll love: Lifetime warranty, and comes in an assortment of flashy colors. 

What you should consider: Seals very well which can make it difficult to unseal.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Cocktail shaker worth checking out

Simple Craft 24 oz Cocktail Shaker

Simple Craft 24 oz Cocktail Shaker

What you need to know: This cobbler shaker seals well and elegantly pours out of the slotted lid.

What you’ll love: Slender base makes it easier to hold for smaller hands. 

What you should consider: Three-piece sets become unusable if you lose the cap. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

The best stirring spoon

Many cocktails require a careful dilution to be delicious and silky smooth. A long stirring spoon, often spiraled and decorative, allows the mixologist to stir from a distance, thereby keeping warm hands away from the glass. The right stirring spoon feels good in the hands, does not break or bend easily and looks rather dashing. 

Top stirring spoon

Barfly Standard Bar Spoon

Barfly Standard Bar Spoon

What you need to know: A durable, stainless steel stirring spoon that should not bend in the dishwasher. 

What you’ll love: The other side of the spoon is tapered to be smooth, which lets you handle small garnishes.

What you should consider: Not particularly ornate. The 13-inch stirring spoon can be cumbersome. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top stirring spoon for the money

Hiware 12-inch Stainless Steel Mixing Spoon

Hiware 12-inch Stainless Steel Mixing Spoon

What you need to know: This is an affordable and well-made spiraled stirring spoon in a nice length.

What you’ll love: The spiral is tight and fits nicely for twirling between your fingers.

What you should consider: While durable, other models can take more wear-and-tear. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Stirring spoon worth checking out

Cocktail Kingdom Skull Bar Spoon

Cocktail Kingdom Skull Bar Spoon

What you need to know: Exceptionally durable spoon with a distinct and bold design. 

What you’ll love: The unique skull hilt of the spoon is a conversation starter. 

What you should consider: Not dishwasher safe, and it is affordable if you buy it with an artistic aesthetic in mind. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

The best cocktail strainer

All of that ice will continue to dilute the drink and can make the drink taste unbalanced and texturally undesirable. Right after we have shaken or stirred our beverage, we then strain out the liquid contents into the appropriate glassware.

Top cocktail strainer

OXO Steel Cocktail Strainer

OXO Steel Cocktail Strainer 

What you need to know: This is an extremely durable strainer that easily rests atop the shaker. 

What you’ll love: There is a silicone rest for your finger to give you leverage and reduce spillage.

What you should consider: Some complain that the spring in the strainer is too loose. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond

Top cocktail strainer for the money

Winco Stainless Steel 4-Prong Bar Strainer 

Winco Stainless Steel 4-Prong Bar Strainer

What you need to know: This strainer uses four prongs to sit atop the drink, which works well and does allow for easy pours. 

What you’ll love: Dishwasher safe and extremely affordable.

What you should consider: Not very durable and a bit cumbersome to hold.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Cocktail strainer worth checking out

Cocktail Kingdom Koriko Two-Prong Hawthorne Strainer 

Cocktail Kingdom Koriko Two-Prong Hawthorne Strainer 

What you need to know: Two-prongs rest on the front of the glass while the rest of the straightener allows for a comfortable and easily controlled pour. 

What you’ll love: It is stainless steel and uses a very high-quality, tight coil

What you should consider: High design standards result in a higher price point.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Chad Vickers is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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