Cocktail sets are a great option to give as a gift or as a present to yourself particularly as an introduction to the hobby. And they needn’t be expensive either – our top ten picks retail from thirty to a hundred bucks. A typical set contains a shaker, tongs, spoon, muddler and jigger although some contain more such as bottle pourers, presentation boxes and worktop organizers. Our choices are popular brands that have a reputation of being good value for money – and this isn’t a euphemism for poor quality!
10. Chefs Basics Home Bar Set Cocktail Tool Kit
This entry-level kit comes packed with a 13 oz cobbler shaker, ice tongs, bar spoon, bar knife, bottle opener, corkscrew, jigger, a Hawthorne strainer and a wooden organizer.
We like the spring-loaded strainer as it does a fantastic job of keeping ice fragments from entering your cocktail. The organizer is a welcome addition and it makes for an attractive and simple worktop feature with all your tools to hand. The cocktail shaker tins are a good fit and provide a strong waterproof seal. The design of the tins is quite ergonomic too and affords you a confident grip. With a 13 oz capacity this is not a big shaker but it’s ideal for making one cocktail at a time – helpful when you are just starting out and you’re trying to hone your skills. The double jigger is handy for measuring out basic shot volumes. With both a corkscrew and a bottle opener the manufacturer is keen to point out that you will be able to open any bottle you like to make your cocktails. At this price point we were impressed to see the inclusion of the tongs, spoon and knife tools.
9. Finedine Expert Cocktail Shaker Home Bar Set – 14 Piece Bar Tools Kit
The FineDine 14-piece set is another amazing wallet-friendly offering. Complete with 15 oz and 30 oz Boston cocktail shaker tins, this sizable kit allows you to make two good-sized beverages at a time. The set is food-grade stainless steel which is dishwasher safe and doesn’t hold on to lingering aromas. The set also includes a Hawthorne strainer to filter ice and also does a good job of keeping leafy herb ingredients getting through! Two stainless steel shot glasses and a double jigger make light work of any measurements you need to pour. No fewer than six liquor pour spouts are supplied which give you a healthy flexibility when it comes to your spirits. There is a robust 7” flat bottle opener included but no corkscrew. The set is rounded off with a red knobbed twisted bar spoon. Now, although the FineDine kit doesn’t have an organizer, the shaker tins are designed to hold all of the equipment, making it easy to transport should you wish to impress your friends with your cocktail skills at one of their homes. Each piece has a good heft to it and feels like it will undoubtedly last you a few years.
8. Barillio Elite Cocktail Shaker Set Bartender Kit
The Elite cocktail shaker has a large, cobbler-style, 24 oz capacity suitable for two satisfyingly large cocktails. This shaker has a built-in strainer and a top sealing shaker cap that helps prevent any spillages. A muddler is included – a first in this review. You can use the muddler to mash herbs, fruits or spices to release amazing flavors. This opens up a new avenue for the budding mixologist – why not try your hand at a mojito (mashing mint leaves) or a Caipirinha (mashing lime and sugar)? The Elite set also gives you a twisted bar spoon, a double jigger with half ounce and one ounce capacities, and two liquor pourers. Added value is an attractive black velvet bag, an illustrated pocket cocktail recipe book and a downloadable ‘Happy Hour – World of Cocktails’ eBook. The pull-string branded bag is ideal for keeping your tins scratch-free in style. The pocket cocktail book has 11 recipes and the eBook has a handsome 52!
What we love about Elite is that they offer a lifetime satisfaction, no questions asked, guarantee on their products, showing how are confident in their materials and workmanship. Barillio is known for good customer service and a varied catalog.
7. Bar Brat Premium 14 Piece Bar Set Cocktail Kit
Bar Brat is a well-known brand in the cocktail scene and this bartender kit is a perfect example of thoughtful, good quality, attractively designed barware. Each accessory and tin is branded with the BB logo, it’s not a set of generic equipment. The Boston shaker tins look beautiful being brushed steel inners and a polished outer. The larger tin has a 750 ml capacity and the smaller has a 550 ml capacity. Made of premium 304 (sometimes called 80/8 chromium nickel) stainless steel the tins are guaranteed rust-resistant and dishwasher safe. This kit comes with four handy bottle pour spouts, ice tongs, Hawthorne trainer, mixing spoon andwaiter’s corkscrew. Also in the Bar Brat set is the ubiquitous double jigger, one cup is graduated at 20 and 40ml, the smaller is graduated at 15 and 30ml. Although they have metric measurements they’re still straightforward to use! Upon purchase you get an eBook recipe guide containing 101 cocktails for you to try to make yourself.
Bar Brat has excellent customer service too and the welcome assurance of a no quibbles money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. Considering the weight of these pieces they aren’t likely to dent or pick up dings easily.
6. Stock Harbor 9 Piece Stainless Steel Bartender Set
The Stock Harbor set gives us the happy return of the bar top organizer! This is an attractive, well-laid out bamboo storage rack that is solidly made and accentuates the look of any modern home bar. In use it accommodates the large 18.6 oz Cobbler shaker comfortably. Speaking of which the shaker comes with the striking Stock Harbor anchor logo printed on it. The double jigger is a 20 and 40 ml capacity; another that uses metric units which may not be to everyone’s tastes. Also in the box is a waiter’s friend, bottle opener, ice tongs, artisan twisted bar spoon and the essential Hawthorne strainer. We also get a handy cheese knife in this set which is useful for after-dinner cocktails. The only thing that’s missing in this mid range set is a muddler. Perhaps a future iteration of this set would include one and make the Stock Harbor product an unarguable must-have!
Stock Harbor honors their manufacturer’s lifetime warranty, something that really inspires confidence when purchasing goods. Not that you are likely to need it – the dishwasher-safe products are of great quality and unlikely to fail. The set comes in a nicely-designed box which would be good to wrap as a gift.
5. Barman’s Barware Kit Cocktail Gift Set
At #5 on our list we are half-way through and entering what we like to think of as the best of the best. This set arrives in a stylish black diamond-patterned cylinder tied with a blue ribbon. First impressions are very good! Opening the tube we find a Boston shaker comprising a stainless steel tin and a good quality glass. This is the first kit in our guide to feature anything other than all-metal cocktail shakers. The tin holds 28 oz (800 ml) and the glass takes an impressive 16 oz (450 ml). They’re accompanied by a metric-measured double jigger with 25 ml and 50 ml graduations. Other accessories in the tube include a good quality ring grip muddler, a twisted mixing spoon and three liquor pour spouts. This set also provides no fewer than three straining implements – a julep strainer, a Hawthorne strainer and a conical sieve.
The thick cardboard tube is very resilient and it’s a breeze to re-pack everything for storage or transport.
4. VonShef Premium Matte Black Parisian Cocktail Shaker Barware Set
Epitomizing modern style, the matte black finish of the VonShef barware raises the profile of any home bar. This set is for people who want to raise their game and look every bit the professional while preparing top class tasty cocktails.
The minimalist design of the Parisian shaker only bears the logo in gold type. It’s a substantial 19 oz capacity shaker made from premium stainless steel that gives you a confident air in use. So feel free to shake this vigorously! This set’s accessories are all matching too, finished with a matte black look that mean business. We have a 9” double-ended bar spoon/fork (a first in this guide!), a Hawthorne strainer, and a substantial muddler to get the most out of your ingredients. Two spirit pour spouts and a double jigger with half ounce and ounce measures complete the set.
In use, the shaker is great; our initial concerns of it being easy to scratch were unfounded and it will take some rough treatment in its stride. VonShef also produce this set with a copper finish and a stainless steel finish.
3. GSCW Bar Set with Ice Bucket – 10 Piece Stainless Steel Bartender Mixology Kit
The GSCW set has another first in our list; it features an amazing double-walled ice bucket and lid! This will keep your ice chilled for up to six hours ready for chilling your Martinis. This isn’t ice bucket to chill bottles! The polished stainless steel finish of the Cobbler shaker looks stunning on your counter and its only embellishment is the sharp GSCW typed logo. It has a good heft and makes you feel like you’re a real bartender. Its capacity is the regular 16 oz, enough for two decent-sized cocktails. Although it’s dishwasher safe you still need to hand dry it to avoid any water marks appearing. This set comes with a very sleek stainless steel bar top organizer which really looks the business. The GSCW package is generous and includes a waiter’s friend, flat bottle opener, Hawthorne strainer, bar spoon, ice tongs and cheese knife. The double jigger has a half ounce and ounce measure.
2. NÄUZone 14 Piece Professional Jumbo Sized Cocktail Shaker Set
NÄU Zone is one of those brands that you should always consider when making a purchase for your home bar. Their restaurant-grade equipment is of the highest quality and a perfect blend of beauty and functionality. The brilliantly polished Boston shaker tins are an imposing 28 oz and 16 oz. These are weighted tins, imparting a fantastic sense of craftsmanship. On test the Boston shaker was drip and leak free which we always appreciate.
The NÄU Zone package is a great value for money 14 piece set which includes a sturdy muddler, ice tongs, twisted bar spoon, flat branded bottle opener, conical strainer, Hawthorne strainer and five spirit pour spouts. The double jigger has 1 oz and 1.5 oz measurements. The set comes in a sturdy, striking presentation tube which you can use time and again or use it to give as an amazing present.
As with all the best manufacturers, the NÄU Zone offers a satisfaction guarantee to ensure you are totally happy with your purchase. As they say, ‘If you’re not thrilled… we’ll do everything possible to make it right’. Oh and did we say this is a homegrown Michigan-based company? It’s all good!
1. Mixology&Craft 15 piece Cocktail Shaker Bar Set
A tall, slender Cobbler shaker is the focal point of this enormous 15 piece bartender kit. At 24 oz you will certainly make drinks for everyone in no time at all. Fashioned in stainless steel with a polished surface, its mirrored appearance carries the decorative Mixology & Craft font logo. As you would expect we found that the shaker was free from any leaks no matter how vigorously we shook it. The shaker comes with a built-in strainer
This set is aimed at the amateur wanting the best start or a seasoned pro who appreciates quality barware. So what do you get for your money? The first item that caught our attention is the half gallon ice bucket. This branded, single-walled container accepts a good amount of ice and will stay chilled for a couple of hours. The essential double jigger continues the polished outer and brushed steel inner aesthetic and has a half ounce and one ounce measure. For those who prefer metric measurements, the jigger features them too. The Mixology&Craft set includes a muddler, bar spoon, Hawthorne strainer, ice tongs, bottle opener, and two each of liquor pour spouts, wine aerators and bottle stoppers. This is the only kit on test to feature aerators and bottle stoppers! The gorgeous drum cylinder the set arrives in is robust and makes storing your new barware a cinch.
The icing on the cake is the lifetime warranty coupled with a no quibble full and immediate refund should you be anything less than satisfied – we doubt you would ever need it!