It doesn't really take a lot of fancy tools to keep a bar appointed for entertaining. A small selection of spirits and mixers, a shaker, and a bag of ice from the corner bodega will keep the drinks flowing and your guests lubricated. But if you take your cocktails as seriously as gourmets take their food, there's a nigh limitless toybox of whosits and whatsits out there to make cocktails even more delicious. And even if they don't add much functionality, they do add a lot of style. If you happen to have won the Lottery, here are eight luxe toys to splurge on for cocktailians who want a bar that's as cool looking as it is well stocked.
• Ice Ball Mold — Japan Trend Shop $182
A perfectly clear sphere is the holy grail of ice, and it's almost impossible to get without a lot of effort. Once you've got your block of perfectly clear ice (an adventure in itself), you can either chip away at it with an ice pick, or you can use an ice mold like this one to shape it into a perfect ball.
• Yarai Mixing Glass — Cocktail Kingdom $34
The Yarai mixing glass is named for the cross-hatched pattern in the crystal, which theoretically makes it more difficult to drop. (I think the price is more a factor in my not-dropping-it-ness.) While they're not inexpensive, these mixing glasses are the ne plus ultra of mixology tools. Gorgeous to look at and tough enough for professional work, setting one of these on the bar says, "I am really serious about my cocktails."
• Yukiwa Gold Shaker — Umamimart $75
While many professional bartenders swear by the two-part Boston shaker, a three-part cobbler shaker like this one is necessary for the hard shake, the intense shaking method preferred by hardcore Japanese bartenders. Kanetaka Daiki, the master mixologist behind the bar at Glen in Beijing, uses a simple single-serving shaker made of plastic, but we're shopping in Fantasy Land, and I like the bit of kitschy flash from this gold one.
• Pimp Cup — Custom Cups $75-275
While we're talking kitschy flash, how could we ignore the pimp cup? There's no better vessel for a Pimm's Cup.
• Spherical Ice Tray Set — MOMA Store $16
Spherical ice balls aren't just for Lottery winners anymore. With a set of regular ice molds, you can shape them in your own freezer for way less than $182.
• Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer — Amazon $19.99
Fresh-squeezed juice is the gateway to serious cocktails, and that requires a serious juicer. With this sunny presser, you can get fresh-squeezed citrus in an instant, and then the whole thing can just pop in the dishwasher with no nooks and crannies to hold onto the pulp.
• Boston Shaker — Amazon $60.58
Nothing makes a bartender look like a pro quite like a heavy-duty Boston shaker. The two-part shaker has a heavy glass mixing glass for a bottom, but it's tough enough that there should be no worry about breaking. This one doesn't have a spout, so don't forget a strainer to get the cocktail out of the shaker when you're done.
• Bitters Bottles — Cocktail Kingdom $23.95
There's a wealth of bitters out there beyond Angostura and Peychaud's. Some people make their own, and there are tons of artisanal producers experimenting with strange flavors to add depth to cocktails. The only problem is those bottles don't necessarily match each other and your bar can wind up looking cluttered if you start collecting. But fear not, because that opens up one of the most fun bar accoutrements around: bitters bottles! They come in any number of sizes and the corked stoppers make for a perfectly measured dash every time. Best of all, they look like tiny potion bottles. Sometimes I like to sit in front of my collection and pretend I'm a wizard.
(Images: 1. Japan Trend Shop, 2. Cocktail Kingdom, 3. Umamimart, 4. Custom Cups, 5. MOMA Store, 6. The Kitchn, 7. Amazon, 8. Cocktail Kingdom)