Cocktail basics that’ll survive even the messiest dorm room
First thing’s first: You can’t make a great cocktail without the necessary components. Both our experts agree that you must have a decent cocktail shaker set. These can be totally inexpensive (often less than $20), yet come with everything you need: a mixing tin, pint glass, Hawthorne strainer, bar spoon, and jiggers (to measure the liquids).
Donahue says he can’t live without a small cutting board, a knife, and a peeler -- and you shouldn’t either. “These tools will take care of your garnish game and won’t cost you much to round out your new cocktail kit.”
Add to that Caporale’s must-haves -- sugar, bitters, lemons, and limes -- and you’re well on your way to being a pro. “Having [these four ingredients] on hand will allow you to make a world of classic cocktails,” he says. (Make simple syrup by mixing equal parts granulated sugar and hot water from the tap -- no heating necessary.)