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Great hostess that you are, you’ve got a couple bottles of wine on hand and maybe some vodka in the freezer. But nothing classes up an apartment like a well-stocked home bar. And it turns out, it’s not all that hard to get set up: Here’s everything you need, whether you’re entertaining a crowd or just taking the edge off after a long day.

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karandaev/Getty Images

Cocktail Shaker

You don’t need a Death & Company level tool kit, but you do need a few essentials: a good shaker, a strainer and a jigger for measurements (because you’ve outgrown the days of eyeballing it in a Solo cup).

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Fancy Glassware

Ideally, you want a set that includes highball, lowball and stem glasses, but if you don’t have the space, a few all-purpose tumblers will make every sip feel luxurious.

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Lemon Squeezer

You’re not still squeezing lemons by hand, are you? Spare yourself the hand cramps and the errant seeds with a citrus press.

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viennetta/Getty Images


Sure, you could make your old-fashioneds with the back of a spoon, but how often do you get to buy a tool designed specifically for smashing things?

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sf_foodphoto/Getty Images

Homemade Bitters

There’s nothing wrong with the store-bought kind, but making your own is ridiculously easy. Just steep your spices of choice in 100-proof vodka for a couple days, strain and voilà: bitters that would make a Brooklyn mixologist blush.

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Good Ice-Cube Trays

This might seem like an afterthought, but bodega ice isn’t doing your drinks any favors. Bigger ice cubes melt more slowly (as your whiskey-obsessed friend will tell you), keeping drinks cold without diluting them as much. Pro tip: For Instagram-worthy ice that’s clear, not cloudy, boil the water twice before freezing it.

julie reiner cocktail party book
Hachette Book Group

Cocktail Bible

No bar kit would be complete without the recipes to, you know, make the drinks. We love this tome from Julie Reiner, cocktail guru of the Clover Club and the Flatiron Room.

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West Elm

Bar Cart

OK, so maybe you don’t need one of these, but c’mon: Think of the instant Mad Men vibes it’ll give your living room.

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