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8 Tools You Need to Make Better Cocktails at Home

Now more than ever, the art of mixing a quality cocktail can seem like a daunting task. Today’s hippest bars are concocting drinks made with everything from foie gras to liquid nitrogen—and serving up hefty price tags to match. All the more reason why you should start building your home bar today.

You can forgo an extensive mixology arsenal in favor a few high-quality tools, according to cocktail writer Sarah Probst. “I personally don’t think you need a lot of fancy stuff,” she told mental_floss. Probst has experience bartending at acclaimed bars in NYC and she’s written about spirits and cocktails for Refinery29, Brooklyn Magazine and Bloomberg Businessweek. Here are the tools and gadgets she recommends to anyone looking to make bar-quality cocktails at home.

1. KORIKO COCKTAIL TINS

Even if you don’t know the first thing about mixology, shaking around a cocktail tin is the first step to feeling like a professional. Probst touts Koriko as her favorite brand of cocktail tins (otherwise known as shakers), claiming it has a tighter seal than most other brands. Spilling sugary booze all over the place because your shaker didn’t seal properly is a quick way to end a party. Buy it at Amazon.

2. OXO JIGGER

You can memorize the recipes for dozens of classic cocktails, but that knowledge is useless without a way to portion out your components. Jiggers are small, two-ended cups specifically designed for measuring drinks, and when it comes to quality cocktails, precision is key. “Some of the fancier ones, while they look prettier, aren’t the most accurate,” said Probst. She prefers the jigger from OXO that measures up to one ounce on one side and one and a half ounces on the other. The high level of precision guarantees a well-balanced cocktail. Buy at Amazon. 

3. YARAI BITTERS BOTTLE


Bitters are the liquid extractions of seeds, roots, flowers, herbs, leaves, and bark used to bring a greater depth of flavor to cocktails. The extracts are highly concentrated and therefore should only be introduced in small, controlled doses. In order to do this, you first need to find the right bitters bottle. A bottle specially made for bitters will disburse the perfect amount each time, compared to generic bottles which can be less reliable. Probst recommends the Japanese brand Yarai for a product that’s sleek and functional. Buy at Chubo Knives

4. SODASTREAM

For serious entertainers, an at-home carbonator can be a lifesaver. SodaStreams are typically used to make soft drinks, but Probst says they can also be handy when making cocktails in large batches. You can use them to carbonate punch, or make your own tonic water for gin and tonics. Buy at Amazon

5. BAR SPOONS

Not only does using a clunky spoon to stir your cocktails look unprofessional, it can also feel awkward. Having a few long and slim bar spoons on hand makes it easy to stir drinks no matter what type of glass you're using. Probst recommends bar spoons that have a tiny cocktail fork on the opposite end. The tool will look nice, and can also be used to fish out any olives chilling at the bottom of your drink. Buy at Amazon

6. HAMILTON BEACH JUICER

“Freshly squeezed juices are super important when you want to make a really delicious cocktail,” said Probst. She’s had experience using a Hamiltion Beach stand juicer as a bartender, and recommends them for anyone looking to splurge on a quality juicer for their home. Buy at Amazon

7. HAND JUICER

For a cheaper alternative, a basic hand juicer is what Probst uses in her own home. In addition to being essential to making fresh cocktails, they’re also useful to have in the kitchen when cooking meals at home. Buy at Amazon

8. TOVOLO ICE MOLD

So you have all the right gear, your bar is fully stocked and you’ve finally mastered the art of mixing the perfect drink. The finishing detail you need to raise your cocktails to the professional league is some seriously classy ice cubes. Probst says Tovolo ice molds are often regarded as the best in the industry. Their molds come in the form of rigid cubes, elegant rectangles, or if you really want to get fancy, spheres. Once you have the power to make ice that looks like that at home, you may never want to go out. Buy at Amazon

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New Pop Chart Lab Poster Is a Boozy Blueprint For Making Classic Cocktails
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Pop Chart Lab's posters combine design with data, and their latest offering—a full breakdown of the ingredients in 60 classic cocktails—is no exception. From the exact ratio of gin and tonic that should go into a G & T (2 ounces and 4 ounces, respectively) to the garnishes you'll need to make a proper Tom Collins (a maraschino cherry and a lemon twist), the 3-foot-by-2-foot "Constitutions of Classic Cocktails" artwork teaches mixology basics you'd typically learn in bartending school, sans tuition fee.

In addition to mainstays like the Negroni and the Whiskey Sour, the poster also includes relatively obscure drinks (ever heard of the Golden Dawn, or the Journalist?), which you can attempt after drinking your way through your favorite concoctions. Before you know it, you'll be explaining to your friends the intricacies of why you should stir martinis instead of shaking them (sorry, James Bond), or the difference between a highball and a Collins glass. Bottoms up!

"Constitutions of Classic Cocktails" costs $37, and is currently available for pre-order. Shipping begins on Friday, October 20, 2017. (To see the poster's details up close, visit Pop Chart Lab's website and click on the diagram.)

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Attention Beer Lovers: A London Brewery Is Hiring a Professional Taste-Tester
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Beer lovers aren’t given many chances to discuss their passion for imbibing at job interviews. But a new open position at London's Meantime Brewing Company lists that expertise as one of the top qualifications. As Fortune reports, the brewery is seeking a professional beer taster to help improve its products.

The brewery’s part-time employee will “join the panel brewers as they taste, discuss, and pass opinion on a range of different beers,” according to the job listing on LinkedIn. On top of steady access to free booze three hours a week, the taster will receive a competitive salary “with beer benefits.” As the description reads: “Yes, this could just be the best job in the world.”

Meantime isn’t just considering any casual beer drinker for the role. Their ideal candidate will have a precise palate that can distinguish “chocolate malt from dark malt” and “Fuggles from Cascade hops.” They will also have an understanding of global consumer markets, a functioning knowledge of English, and an extensive beer vocabulary. The brewery is located in the London borough of Greenwich, so applicants who aren’t local should be willing to relocate.

Founded in 1999, the Meantime Brewing Company made its name on the beer scene with signature beverages like their London Lager, London Pale Ale, and Yakima Red. If you’re interested in joining the team, post 30 words on your LinkedIn profile explaining why you deserve the gig, along with any photos or videos that may help your case, with the hashtag #pickmemeantime. The company will narrow down the pool to three candidates for an in-person beer tasting before deciding their top pick. Meanwhile, you can prepare for the job by brushing up on your beer facts.

[h/t Fortune]

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