Welcome to In a Better Place, in which we help you handsome up your home, office or apartment, one space at a time. This week: your bar.
"Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can't drink any more."
Supposedly Picasso’s final words.
Also a roundabout way of broaching today’s topic: the fact that your home bar — like most — could use a little artistic reinterpretation.
Herein, we enumerate 12 bar tools that’ll seriously distinguish your mixing station: in style, in utility and above all, in badassery.
We’re talkin’ whiskey glasses inspired by America’s finest mountains. Champagne sabres straight outta Kill Bill. And a multitude of essentials forged from concrete, brass and steel. (For actual badass bar carts, go here. And for stocking your new bar with spirits, go here).
Your whiskey glasses: Whiskey Peaks
Handblown glasses with a raised topographic impression of America’s finest mountains. On the rocks, always.
Your ice mold: Clear Ice Mold from W&P Design
This silicone mold crafts huge, crystal clear ice cubes, just like you’ll find at the world’s best cocktail dens.
Your bottle opener: Kalalou Mermaid Cast
It lends your bar a bit of nautical flair, and the cast iron is gonna open bottles for a long time. For $10, you won’t do better.
Your cocktail shaker: Ralph Lauren Home Kipton
A weighted stainless steel Boston Shaker is fine. But a brass one, modeled after the shakers used at Ralph Lauren’s NY eatery The Polo Bar, adds real heft to your setup.
Your smoker: The Smoking Gun by Breville
A few years we had a smoked vodka cocktail that changed our lives (as in, we started appreciating vodka again). This smoking gun is small, easily disassembles for cleaning and works with a variety of materials (wood chips, tea, herbs, etc.). Learn how to get started with your new favorite cocktailing toy here.
Your Champagne sabre: Georg Jensen Indulgence
Mirror-polished stainless steel. Because you want to make an impression (and it’ll look great on the 364 days you don’t use it).
Your ice bucket: Forte Ice Bucket and Tongs
A classy, cool combo of Nambe Alloy and concrete. Keeps your ice chilled, and the bucket doubles as sculpture (also a bit like a Google Home speaker).
Your muddler: Crafthouse by Fortessa
Designed by one-time “World’s Best Bartender” Charles Joly, this black walnut muddler features a squared-off bottom and raised ribs to give you a better grip.
Your coasters: Geometric Slate Beverage Coaster
Hexagonal coasters built from temperature-resistant stone (with cork on the back). Works equally well with hot or cold beverages.
Your bar knife: Jackson Cannon
Designed for bar professionals, this versatile knife’s square tip is great for notching citrus for garnishes, removing seeds from fruit and slicing peels for twists. The stainless steel blade’ll stay sharp, and the flush underside can be helpful for scraping counters during cleanup.
Your bar tools: Barbell Barware Set by Jonathan Adler
Solid brass jiggers, openers, bar knives and tongs latched onto a dumbbell over a marble base. Adler refers to it as a “macho mantique.”
For taking your bar on the road: Moore & Giles Fine Leather Bar Rollup
Ostensibly so you can take your mixing tools on the road, Jim Meehan’s leather bar rollup works with any culinary tools. (Now $55 off.)
Your everything else: Cocktail Kingdom
The barware from this upscale retailer always comes with fascinating mixology history and real pedigree — if you want vintage, 19th century punch bowls and mixing glasses, for instance, try CK’s collab with cocktail historian David Wondrich. But Cocktail Kingdom is also just great out for filling out the rest of your home bar with a bit of panache. Personally, we dig the gunmetal black Japanese-style jiggers, the workhorse mixing glasses and the skull bar spoons.