USBG Members Guide Home Bartenders in The Complete Cocktail Manual

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Hot off the presses, The Complete Cocktail Manual wraps up the collective wisdom of members from across the country to help the home bartender up their game. We want to thank all the members who submitted their ideas and a big congrats to SF Chapter member and drinks writer Lou Bustamante for authoring the book. The Complete Cocktail Manual is now available for purchase on Amazon.

An oft-asked question of our bartender members is: what are the essential tools for my home bar?

Join us on the discussion forum and let us know what you recommend to friends and family!


Lou and his team recommend these seven: 


Corkscrew and bottle opener   The waiter's corkscrew, with a lever and a bottle opener, is all you'll need to open any kind of bottle.

Strainer    There are two basic types of strainers: a Hawthorne (which has a loose spring forming a half circle on the lip), and a julep, (which looks like a squat, slotted spoon), but you probably only need the Hawthorne -- the julep is for stirred drinks, but often a Hawthorne fits and works better.

Tongs    When handling ice, stainless-steel tongs are a must to keep the temperature down. They can also come in handy when grabbing garnishes.

Muddler or Hand Juicer    A good muddler is essential for incorporating bold flavors from fresh herbs and fruits into a cocktail. Fresh juice is critical in a good cocktail, and the best juicing tool when making drinks on a small scale is a citrus press. They're fast, extract both fragrant citrus oils (from the peels and rinds) and juices, and they clean up easily.

Jigger    Free-pouring (mixing without using measuring tools) is a skill that takes time to develop; until then, please measure -- a fraction of an ounce can turn a great drink into a bad one. Double-ended jiggers are great for speed but not for flexibility -- if you need a quarter ounce of something, you'll have to eyeball it. The small measuring-cup-style ones are a better choice for beginners.

Bar Spoon    Use a bar spoon for making stirred drinks and fishing cherries out of their jars. You can also use a long spoon, like those for iced tea; but if you don't have one, it's easy to find a nice, inexpensive bar spoon.

Cocktail Shaker    Besides liquor and ice, a shaker is the only thing that's absolutley necessary to make cocktails. The variations in style are endless, but stick to two-part shakers, such as French or Boston styles. Three-part shakers, where the strainer is built into the top, can freeze up at the seams.


Thanks again to all the members who contributed to making this excellent compendium of drinks knowledge!

Ian Adams, San Francisco Chapter

Jared Anderson, San Francisco Chapter

Julio Bermejo, San Francisco Chapter

Kate Bolton, Oregon Chapter

Kevin Diedrich, San Francisco Chapter

Dario Doimo, Las Vegas Chapter

John Codd, San Francisco Chapter

Jennifer Colliau, San Francisco Chapter

Matt Cowan, Denver Chapter

Ian Cox, Atlanta Chapter

Corey Creason, New York Chapter

Christopher Day, Los Angeles Chapter

Andrew Dolinsky, St. Louis Chapter

H Joseph Ehrmann, San Francisco Chapter

Jason Foust, Indianapolis Chapter

Kaleena Goldsworthy, Chattanooga Chapter

Nat Harry, San Francisco Chapter

Paul Johnsen, Orlando Chapter

Alexandria Jump, Chattanooga Chapter

Ted Kilgore, St. Louis Chapter

Matthew Korzelius, Asheville Chapter

Chris Lane, San Francisco Chapter

Jeff Lyon, San Francisco Chapter

Patrick Lussier, Austin Chapter

Stephan Mendez, San Antonio Chapter

Julian Miller, Tampa Chapter

David Nepove, San Francisco Chapter

T. Cole Newton, New Orleans Chapter

Alejandro Olivares, Utah Chapter

Daniel Parks, San Francisco Chapter

Andreas Pejovic, Denver Chapter

Jonathan Pogash, Northeast Regional Vice President

William Prestwood, San Francisco Chapter

Ralf Ramirez, Los Angeles Chapter

Enrique Sanchez, San Francisco Chapter

Jonathan Shock, New Orleans Chapter

Ryan Shipman, Philadelphia Chapter

Matt Sorrell, St. Louis Chapter

Monica Snyder, San Antonio Chapter

Marcos Tello, Los Angeles Chapter

Martin Tummino, Miami Chapter

Alexandra F. Williams, Member at Large

Rich Williams, Los Angeles Chapter

Frederic Yarm, Boston Chapter



1 Comment

Key items

December 2, 2016 02:39 PM by Kevan Salkind

May i suggest any sort of knife being a key item? for cutting any fruit, herbs, vegetables in preparation for, but not limited to mixing, muddling, and garnishing.

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