'Tis the season for cocktails, nog, and mulled wine, but is your bar equipment up to par when it comes time to mix up some holiday cheer? Consult our guide to essential bar tools and stock up on wares from Target to make sure you have everything handy to keep things merry and bright this holiday.
A Jolly Jigger Every bar needs a good jigger or two, especially for more complex cocktails that require precise measurements. A good jigger is not hard to find, but we're especially fond of this little number from OXO which features a no-slip grip—a very handy feature if Santa's pour is just a little too generous.
A Most Comfortable Shaker Mixing cocktails for guests in a traditional shaker can be a bone-chilling experience, when it really should be a heartwarming one. Maybe it's time for a double-walled, soft-grip vessel like the OXO SoftWorks Cocktail Shaker. Double walls mean it's insulated and won't give your fingers frostbite after shaking the first Candy Cane Martini. It also has a built-in jigger for quick and easy measuring.
A Versatile Strainer Shakers with built-in strainers are fine for mixing one or two drinks, but if you're tending bar for a thirsty holiday crowd, you'll definitely want to invest in a stand-alone strainer like this one, also from OXO. The flexible spring fits inside both cocktail shakers or glasses, so if you only have one shaker this will let you improvise by mixing drinks in pint or cocktail glasses (you know, like the real bartenders do). An added plus: the soft finger rest provides comfort while straining. Your index finger will thank you in the morning.
A Graceful and Gentle Ice Bucket The OXO SoftWorks Stainless Steel Ice Bucket is sexy enough to leave on the bar or tabletop if space is at a minimum for holiday entertaining. Double walls prevent exterior condensation and grooves in the bottom of the bucket allow water to collect, which means the remaining ice will last longer. Consider watered-down cocktails a Ghost of Christmas Past.
Some Wine Elves If you've never experienced the joy of uncorking a bottle of wine with an automatic corkscrew, prepare yourself for a major game change. The Oster Wine Opener is a rechargeable electric corkscrew that uncorks your bottle at the push of a button. Placing this device over the entire neck of the bottle ensures that the screw is perfectly aligned for optimum cork extraction. For $29.99 you also get a wine chiller and foil cutter in this set. So, for less than the price of your favorite vintage, you'll be expertly uncorking wine for holidays to come.
…And Glitzy Glassware Stemless wine glasses are great for serving wintry reds (holding the glass in your palm helps bring the wine to room temp) and can also serve as festive cocktail or eggnog glasses. The Threshold Cocktail Glass with Metallic Rim does triple-duty as a wine, cocktail, or eggnog glass while adding a glamorous, glittery touch to holiday gatherings.