12 Top-Shelf Home Bar Essentials

Whether you're drinking shaken or stirred, neat or on the rocks, or simply pouring a refined glass of Pinot (Grigio or Noir—your choice), there's one truism to tack to: top-shelf liquor deserves top-shelf gear. For a starting point, look no further than this curated collection. Bottoms up, gents.

Cocktail Kingdom Usagi Cobbler Shaker

Copper-plated cobbler shaker photo

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While most professional bartenders prefer a two-piece Boston shaker, they require some practice to master. But a three-piece Cobbler shaker, with a built-in strainer, offers an all-in-one solution for the at-home amateur still honing his craft. The attractive, heavyweight Usagi is made to an exacting standard from copper-plated stainless steel (inspired by the copper pot stills used in the production of spirits), so its halves don't get stuck together and it won't leak during a vigorous shake. With a two-drink capacity, it's perfect for mixing up a romantic evening—and without any risk of making a fool of yourself. ($68; cocktailkingdom.com)

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Cocktail Kingdom Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins

Set of 2 gold-plated shaking tins photo

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While these gold-plated Boston-style Koriko shaking tins are beautiful, what really sets them apart is how perfectly functional they are. Where clunkier competitors sometimes come apart at critical times, these are precision-made to nest together with an airtight, leak-free seal. They're well balanced and weighted for smooth shaking, even when mixing up two drinks at once. Another benefit to the two-tin system is that it simplifies the building of complex cocktails: simply measure liquids into the small tin, drop solids (ice, fruits, herbs) into the large one, clamp them together, and shake. ($50; cocktailkingdom.com)

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Crafthouse by Fortessa Hawthorne Strainer

Stainless steel cocktail strainer photo

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Designed by renowned tableware brand Fortessa, in collaboration with world-champion bartender Charles Joly, formerly of legendary Chicago bar The Aviary, this classic stainless steel Hawthorne strainer fits snugly inside a standard Boston shaker or mixing glass to prevent ice, muddled fruits, and herbs from sneaking into cocktails. Wide, well-spaced openings allow for smoke pours, even as the tight coils keep bits at bay. ($14.95; williams-sonoma.com)

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Cocktail Kingdom Reserve Stepped Jigger

Silver-plated brass stepped jigger with handle photo

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Step back into a Prohibition-era speakeasy with this this nickel silver-plated brass jigger, which makes measuring a breeze with its stepped design. Rather than stooping down to eye level to ace those cocktail ratios, you can stand upright and use (infinitely more respectable) top-down measuring, with each step representing a half-ounce increase, from half-an-ounce up to 2 ounces. It looks good on your bar and—a bonus—its height extends beyond the highest measure, so you can pour a full 2 ounces without spilling. ($40; cocktailkingdom.com)

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Design Within Reach Cylinda Line Cocktail Mixer with Spoon

Stainless steel cocktail mixer with spoon photo

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While a glass mixer allows for a certain level of showmanship on the part of the bartender, this architectural (it was designed by Danish architect Arne Jacobsen) cocktail mixer brings a uniquely Scandinavian sophistication to your home bar, effortlessly balancing modern aesthetics with functionality and ease of use. An included strainer lid nests snugly—and seamlessly—onto the 7-inch-tall mixer, and a minimalist bar spoon is precise enough for scooping garnishes but stout enough to easily move ice during a stir. ($100; dwr.com)

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Crafthouse by Fortessa 11.5" Wood Muddler

Black walnut wood cocktail muddler photo

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At 11.5 inches long, this Charles Joly-designed monster muddler dwarfs the majority of the competition (which typically clock in at 7–8 inches), granting you freedom to muddle your ingredients in any number of containers, including a cocktail shaker, without bloodying your knuckles. Its flat bottom is designed to muddle—not mush or tear—delicate ingredients like fruits and leaves, and its sharper, squared-off edges can dig into the hard-to-reach corners of a glass. Beautifully crafted from solid black walnut with a natural finish that's easy to grip, it will dress up any bar. ($30; amazon.com)

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Bellemain Stainless Steel Lemon Squeezer

Stainless steel lemon squeezer with red silicone handles photo

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If you want to make a Tom Collins or a Moscow Mule, then fresh lemon or lime juice is a must, and that calls for a beefy handheld citrus juicer. This solid-cast stainless steel model by Bellemain is stronger and more durable than its enamel and aluminium counterparts, so it offers the same performance on the 100th squeeze as it did on the first. Bright-red silicone handles make for a soft-on-the-hands, comfortable grip without detracting from the classic look. ($22; amazon.com)

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Vista Alegre Avenue Whiskey Decanter

Art Deco-style crystal whiskey decanter photo

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With its Art Deco styling inspired by the glamorous aesthetic of Hollywood's Golden Age, this crystal whiskey decanter is exactly the kind of thing Don Draper might store his Canadian Club in (if he didn't polish the bottle off first, that is). Made in Portugal by two-century-old heritage brand Vista Alegre, its clean geometrical lines will instantly become a focal point of your home bar. Go ahead and fill it with a bottle of WhistlePig Straight Rye, then mix up an Old-Fashioned stiff enough to make the Don proud. ($185; alchemyfinehome.com)

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Match Ice Bucket with Lid

Italian-made handcrafted ice bucket in pewter photo

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Handmade in Italy by some of that country's most skilled family-owned pewter workshops, this artisanal ice bucket has an elegance that's rooted in historical European designs. Heavy-duty ring handles provide a solid grip, while a hinged lid keeps ice cold between rounds. Throw in a matching pair of pewter tongs for $130, and you'll have an heirloom-quality set with a style as timeless as a well-crafted cocktail. ($760, plus $130 for tongs; match1995.com)

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Schott Zwiesel Pure Martini Glasses

Schott Zwiesel martini glass set photo

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Whether you prefer yours shaken, like the world's most famous (and famously hard-drinking) spy, or stirred, following the traditional preparation, a martini seems more elegant when served in one of these sleek glasses. Boldly designed and handcrafted in Germany from titanium-strengthened, scratch-resistant crystal, this is rare stemware that'll last generations, just like a certain someone's favorite cocktail. ($84; westelm.com)

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Station Knives: The David Bar Knife

The David Bar Knife with wooden handle by Station Knives photo

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This knife was built by Portland, Oregon, knife maker Adam Sigal (originally for his brother, David) to be a workhorse behind the bar. Its thick-spined, 4.5-inch blade has incredible edge hold, and the handle—with its low swell for choking up on the knife while creating delicate garnishes—is reinforced with extra strong corby bolts. The David is expensive for a bar knife, to be sure, but consider it an investment piece that'll save you time while making you look like pro. ($275; stationknives.com)

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Alessi Socrates Corkscrew

Stainless steel corkscrew with accordian-style mechanism photo

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When Jasper Morrison designed the iconic Socrates in 1999, he sought to achieve a corkscrew's archetypal form. For him, this common bar tool extracting a cork from a bottle calls to mind the "Socratic method," which is the classical Athenian philosopher's technique of teasing out—and testing—another's deep-held beliefs via a series of questions. In the case of the corkscrew, which is made of mirror-polished 18/10 stainless steel, you drill down into the cork via a series of twists of the handle, and extract it with an accordion-style mechanism that reveals the underlying truth—a fine wine. ($145; alessi.com)

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