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How To Make The Best Cocktails On A Budget

Your Kitchen
|
July 14, 2020

Just married, on a budget, but still wanting some yummy cocktails at home? You're in good company. In this blog, I compile some of the essential tools you need to start making your drinks from home. The best part is that it won't cost you very much, but it'll save you a ton.

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Almost every newlywed couple out there is on a budget. It’s just how life goes.

Being a full time grad student and working part-time while my wife works full-time, we get it. But we also like to have an occasional cocktail together.

I’m an old fashion kind of guy; my wife, not so much. Instead, she enjoys a classic Moscow mule.

My guess is that you and your partner probably have your go-to beverages. I want to give you a few tips for how to make the best cocktails on a budget from home.

To start, you are going to have to drop a couple bucks on some equipment. This blog is all about having the right tools. So, onto tool number one.

The Mixing Glass

Clear Drinking Glass With Brown Liquid
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels.

Some drinks are meant to be shaken, some are meant to be stirred. An Old Fashion, for example, is one to be stirred.

There are many options out there for mixing glasses. Here’s the one I use.

With any mixing glass, make sure you go with crystal, and 100% led free. Also important is making sure that your glass is large enough that you could mix multiple drinks in it at a time.

If you like to host, having a bigger mixing glass is crucial. After every use, be sure to give it a mix. If you’re making a drink with a simple syrup, this is really important. Forgetting to rinse will result in the sugar crystalizing at the bottom of the glass. Not fun.

Onto the next tool you’ll need.

The Strainer

Person Pouring Water on Clear Wine Glass
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels.

Strainers are God’s greatest gift to the cocktail-making world.

Before I had a strainer, I was using two cups to try and strain my drinks. It was annoying, messy and very inconvenient. So, I finally purchased a strainer. Cocktail making has forever changed in the best way possible.

Once again, many options here. And to be honest, since you’re not making drinks for hundreds of people like you would if you were working in a bar or restaurant, you’re probably just fine opting for the cheaper option.

Here’s the one I went with. Absolutely zero problems and gets the job done. Once again, just be sure to rinse when done with it.

You won’t get very far without this next tool.

The Jigger

A Comprehensive Guide to Cocktail Measuring Tools: Jiggers ...
Photo by Kaufmann Mercantile on Unsplash

This is arguably your most important tool. It’s your measuring stick, as it were.

There’s really not too much to say about this other than that you really need it. Whether you’re measuring spirits, liquors, or simple syrups, this tool is essential.

Nearly all measurements in the cocktail world are done in ounces. 1/2 ounce, 3/4 ounce, 1.5 ounces. You get the picture. Having a jigger makes the measuring task as efficient as ever.

The next set of tools is for the margarita drinkers.

The Cocktail Shaker

Hikari Weighted Shaker Tins - Cocktail Kit
Photo via Myer.

As I said in the beginning, some drinks are meant to be shaken, others stirred.

One rule of thumb is to always add bubbly ingredients, like ginger beer for example, after you’ve shaken the non-carbonated ingredients.

Yes, I learned this the hard way.

Do you know what happens when you shake carbonated liquids? They build pressure, expand, and then undo the seal created by the cocktail shakers. So, words to the wise: make sure the drinks you’re shaking don’t contain bubblies.

As far as which cocktail shakers to go for, I recommend a classic set of stainless steal shakers. I’ve had the fancy shaker with a lid and built-in strainer and what I found is that the lid just doesn’t seal like to the two independent cups do.

Now you’ve got the core bar tools. Surely there are others you could have like a mixing spoon, but for those tools, you can definitely improvise.

I’d say you now have the essentials with the above-mentioned tools.

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