With a few tools and basic liquors you’ll be cocktailing with the best of them.

Whether you’re entertaining at home or at the cottage, assembling a simple bar set-up can help in your cocktail creations. All you really need are a few basic tools, glasses, and spirits.


“Having a jigger at home and some proper bar tools helps,” says Matt Bryan, Mixologist for the McEwan Group. “Picking up a nice Boston shaker set, bar spoons, and a nice pairing knife can make your bar at home much easier and fun to work with.”


 WMF Loft Boston Cocktail Shaker, available at amazon.ca; Double Cocktail Jigger Set, amazon.ca; Commercial Stainless Steel Muddler, bedbathandbeyond.ca

Use the jigger to measure out liquor and to pour into the Boston shaker (this style of cocktail shaker includes a glass measuring cup to place over the stainless steel one to shake cocktails, plus a strainer for pouring). When the cocktail calls for stirring instead of shaking, your bar spoon will handle the task nicely. A pairing knife is good for slicing off the citrus peels for squeezing over certain style of drinks, for chopping up herbs, and for creating cocktail wedges for garnishes. In addition to these essentials, you’ll want to pick up a muddler to mash herbs, fruits, and spices.


Trudeau Highball and Old-Fashioned GlassesTrudeau’s Highball and Old-Fashioned glasses from the RESISTech line are engineered to resist chipping


Start your bar with these four types of glasses (you can always build on your collection as time goes on):

  • Highball
  • Old-fashioned
  • Martini
  • Shot glass


  • Cognac (sidecar)
  • White Rum (daiquiri; mojito)
  • Gin (classic martini; gin and tonic; Tom Collins)
  • Bourbon (Manhattan; old fashioned; whiskey sour)
  • Vodka (vodka tonic; screwdriver)
  • Tequila (margarita)


  • Cointreau
  • Red Vermouth
  • White Vermouth
  • Bitters (Bryan describes bitters as being like the “salt and pepper of your cocktail”)

“Stock your bar with some cool cocktail books, some fresh ingredients and a bunch of booze and the world is your oyster. Don’t be afraid to try new things—trial and error sometimes will lead to delicious cocktails,” says Bryan.