I recommend building this set of basic tools and booze as you go along, rather than buying them all at once. Start with what you need for one drink and go from there.

Hardware: Cocktail shaker (Cobbler or Boston), Mixing glass, Jigger, Citrus juicer or reamer, Hawthorne strainer (if using Boston shaker), Fine mesh strainer, Muddler, Barspoon, Cocktail picks, Vegetable peeler, Tovolo Perfect Cube ice trays

Glassware: Old Fashioned (7 oz) glasses, Cocktail (6 – 8 oz) or Coupe (3 – 5 oz) glasses, Collins (10 oz) glasses

Spirits: Bourbon whiskey, Rye whiskey, Scotch whisky (blended or Speyside), Light rum, London Dry gin, Old Tom gin, Brandy or Cognac, Tequila (plata or reposado)

Mixers & Liqueurs: Italian vermouth (keep cold), French vermouth (keep cold), Triple Sec, Herbsaint, Drambuie, Simple syrup, Sparkling mineral water or tonic water, Coca-Cola

Juices, Accents, & Garnishes: Fresh citrus: lemons, limes, and oranges, Fresh mint, Angostura bitters, Peychaud’s bitters, Orange bitters, Luxardo maraschino cherries, Pimento-stuffed green olives



  1. Eric Lecours says:

    i notice you recommend herbsaint in all your recipes. traditionally i believe absinthe was used. if absinthe is available, which is preferable, herbsaint or absinthe? cheers, eric

  2. Dave says:

    For the sake of economy and ease of use for the beginner, Herbsaint will work as an absinthe substitute. For the Sazerac in particular, Herbsaint has become the standard. In other recipes, any preferred pastis/absinthe will work – I also keep a bottle of Pernod on hand.

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