While guest-bartending last week, I not only learned how hard it is to mix drinks, I also realized the importance of proper mixology tools. The first thing you need to invest in is a cocktail shaker. Not a three-piece shaker, but a Boston shaker. It consists of a clear pint glass with a larger mixing tin. The second most crucial utensil is a measuring cup like this one from Oxo. It should have easy-to-read measurements in ounces and tablespoons. A cocktail strainer, citrus juicer, and swivel-edged peeler are items you'll use over and over again. Although there's plenty of fancy bottle openers out there, I prefer the humble waiter's corkscrew — it simply opens wine and beer bottles. Don't overlook good bar towels (I love this set from Crate & Barrel); they'll come in handy for wiping up spills and cleaning glasses. The last thing your home bar needs is a quality pairing knife for slicing fruit and garnishes. These knifes are fun because they come in a variety of colors.
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