I’ve spent most of my adult life as either a cocktail professional or enthusiast. During that time I’ve formed some strong opinions about the tools, books, and other drinks-related items that I think are worthwhile. Rather than keeping them to myself, I thought I’d share the list with you in this buyer’s guide.

Updated 16 Nov 2022

Recommended Bar Tools

Cocktail Sets

Complete Bar Tool Set by Barillio

Barrillio’s Complete Bar Tool set lives up to its name – it’s a package that contains everything you need to make great drinks. Some items worth mentioning: a Boston shaker set to ensure you can shake your drinks properly, a separate mixing glass to stir down your Old Fashioned’s, and Hawthorne, Julep and Fine strainers to make sure only the good parts end up in your glass.

Boston Shaker Set by Barillio

If you’re on a budget then Barillio’s Boston Shaker set is a great option, containing a solid set of starter tools that will let you make most drinks.

Travel Bartender Kit

I would have loved a decent bartender travel bag back was a young bartender working London’s event scene. While those days have passed, there are still plenty of occasions where I want to take my kit with me, and thankfully we know have great travel bag options, including this one from Barillio.

Misc. bar equipment

Crystal Mixing Glass by A Bar Above

While a crystal mixing glass may not be a strict requirement when making stirred drinks, they still seem to add something special to the process.

Easy Jigger® Spirit Measure by Difford’s Guide and Bonzer

If you want to make great tasting drinks then you need to be very accurate with your measurements. But this can be tough when you’re trying to add very small amounts of liquid, or convert a recipe from millilitres to ounces or vice versa. The Easy Jigger solves both of these problems, with accurate markets starting at just 1.25ml, marked in both metric and imperial measures.

Big Muddler and Lewis bag

It’s frustrating when you are trying to make Caipirinhas and don’t have a muddler or crushed ice at hand. The solution – get a good, solid muddler like this one from Brallio. Squeeze the juice from as many limes as you need, then when it’s time for some crushed ice, throw some ice in the included Lewis Bag and give it a few smacks with the muddler. Easy!

Recommended Cocktail Books

Difford’s Guide to Cocktails, by Simon Difford

Now in it’s sixteenth edition, the Difford’s Guide has earned its pride of place on thousands of bartender’s bookshelves. I have fond memories of browsing through its pages during some quiet periods behind the bar. The book is big, and contains more than 3000 recipes, including variations of the all our favorite contemporary and classic drinks.

Modern Classic Cocktails by Robert Simonson

A new release in 2022, Modern Classic Cocktails features the recipes and interesting backstories behind some of the most popular drinks of the past 30 years or so.