You don’t need many tools to mix great drinks, but the right ones will make the process easier:
Jigger or tiny measuring cup: This is the most important tool, in my opinion. Cocktails demand precise ingredient measuring, so you need a tool to help you do just that. Oxo makes a good (and cute!) little measuring cup as well as a stylish jigger, and both are easy to use. You could also measuring spoons and some math (e.g., 1 fluid ounce = 2 tablespoons, 1/4 fluid ounce = 1 1/2 teaspoons), but this can get cumbersome, especially after the first drink.
Juicer: Freshly squeezed juices make a huge difference. I have the orange Chef’n juicer (big enough to squeeze oranges and small grapefruits as well as lemons and limes), but this reamer by Oxo is an effective, budget-friendly option.
Shaker: If your drink contains fruit juice or syrup, it should be shaken with ice to make sure everything mixes together. You have two options: a “cobbler” shaker (which has a mixing tin, a strainer lid, and a cap), or a “Boston” shaker (which is two tins or a tin and a pint glass). Both have their fans and detractors, so use whatever’s easiest for you. In a pinch, you can even use a Mason jar as a shaker.
Strainer: You won’t need this if you’re using a cobbler shaker. Since I use a Boston shaker, I have Oxo’s strainer because its short handle stays out of my way (note: I’m not sponsored by Oxo–I simply like their stuff). If you’re using a Mason jar, you can use the lid to hold back the ice when you pour, although this requires more hand coordination than I have.
Stirrer: Drinks that contain only liquor are usually stirred with ice to keep them beautifully clear. A long-handled bar spoon is the tool to get, but a chopstick or table knife works too.
That’s it! There are tons of other gadgets and accoutrements that you could get, but I prefer keeping things simple. Besides, more money spent on gadgets means less money available for booze and ingredients. It’s all about prioritizing. 😉