Hey, we’re Scott & Beth Cullen, creators of Homebartendr. We hope that Homebartendr can serve as a one-stop resource for home bartenders from beginners to more experienced home mixologists.
If you’re new to making drinks at home, or if you want more info, use this page to get started.
I want to make a cocktail at home, but where do I start?
We were here once as well. We enjoyed craft cocktails at bars and restaurants, and we made the occasional martini or bourbon and ginger at home, but that was the extent of our repertoire. We learned by trial and error, and we had to search in many locations for information on making drinks at home.
Our intention here is to provide you with the tools and information you’ll need to start your “cocktail journey” and make some amazing drinks in the comfort of your own home. So, what do you need?
Let’s start with what tools you’ll need to start your home bar. Any self-respecting home bartender will have at least a few standard tools to use when making drinks at home. This not only looks good and may impress your guests, but it makes mixing drinks MUCH easier than without these tools.
Shakers and Mixing Glasses
You’re going to make some drinks that require shaking, and some that require stirring. Trust us, you do not want to shake all drinks – leave that to crappy bars that don’t know what they’re doing. Generally, shake when the drink includes citrus or other non-alcoholic ingredients, and stir if not. You’ll want a shaker for shaking (duh!) and a mixing glass to stir. We prefer the Boston shaker set (two interlocking tins) which you can find here and a nice, sturdy mixing glass.
You’ll need a separate strainer for that shaker and mixing glass. You can get away with just one for both here. Here is a good, cheap Hawthorne strainer from OXO SteeL.
Trust us, you want a separate bar spoon. Why won’t just a regular long spoon work? Usually regular spoons are curved which disrupts the stirring, and they are hard to spin in your hand. Pick up a cheap bar spoon here.
They’re not just for doing shots! A decent jigger is essential when mixing cocktails with different ingredients at different amounts. I like the Japanese style as it spills less and has lines on the inside for different pour amounts. A one and two ounce jigger will do just fine.
This is where things can get expensive, but they need not be. You’ll need a “rocks” glass – a flat-bottomed glass in which you’ll serve drinks on the rocks, sometimes called an Old Fashioned glass – and a “martini” glass or coupe – a glass in which to serve “up” drinks. We prefer the coupe glass to a straight-sided martini glass – the coupe is less prone to spilling, and it just looks nice.
To start, just get two of each, and you should be fine. No need to go overboard, and I wouldn’t recommend using Cocktail Kingdom for these. You can find these at most home goods stores. We’ve also found fun glasses at flea markets, and many of the glasses you see us use in our pics on Instagram were purchased for a couple of bucks at flea markets.
With these tools, you have a complete home bar set. You’ll later want to pick up things like juicers, muddlers, and different ice cube trays, but the above tools get you started with a complete set.
Now that I have the tools, what booze should I get?
This is where things can get expensive, but start small. Start with what you like to drink, then build your home bar from there. If bourbon is your thing, pick up a bottle of Buffalo Trace. If its gin, go with a London dry gin or Plymouth. Tito’s is a great value vodka. Espolon makes very good, inexpensive tequila. And there are a ton of great, cheap rums on the market.
Start small, then add as you find drinks you want to make. We built up our home bar that way – you can see what we have in our home bar here. But this took several years. No need to go crazy at the beginning.
OK, I have the tools and some booze, now what do I do?
That’s what we’re here for! Check out our Recipes page for a long list of drinks you can make at home. These are all drinks that we have made in our home bar, and most of these have photos on our Instagram page.
Also, check out our Books & Resources page which has links to a variety of excellent cocktail books, magazines and other online sources. There is a ton of material out there which will help you to learn about cocktails.
Finally, follow our blog for updated information about what we’re doing in our home bar. From making our own bitters to barrel aging cocktails to making flavored syrups, we describe it all and in detail so that you can replicate what we’re doing in your own home bar or kitchen.
Remember, have fun! We’re making cocktails!
Scott & Beth