Home bartenders, rejoice! We’ve compiled a wet-bar shopping list—courtesy of Christopher Ramsey, manager of cookware mecca Sur La Table—so that all you have to do is back the truck up to the loading dock.
[sidebar]• There are two basic bar glasses: the highball and the double old-fashioned (or “doff,” for short). If you like to host cocktail parties of 10 or more people, you’ll want to buy two dozen of each to account for cleaning and breakage.
• Don’t skimp on specialty cocktail glasses unless you want to look like an amateur. “You can’t substitute any glass for a martini,” Ramsey says. “And definitely purchase cordial glasses. You don’t want to pour Frangelico into a big old rocks glass. It’s simply tacky.” Ramsey also recommends some seasonal designs: With summer coming, for instance, try the new “margatini” glass ($10) for serving this popular margarita-martini hybrid.
• For wineglasses, Ramsey suggests stocking a dozen reds and a dozen whites. But “unless you’re inviting a sommelier over,” he says, “don’t worry about all those specialty wineglasses,” like shiraz-only stemware. And by the way, don’t be afraid to put your glasses in the dishwasher, but as you’re loading them, do separate them with plastic or melamine models, says Ramsey.
• While there are plenty of gadgets available to make bartending easy, the most basic tool is the “waiter’s friend” corkscrew (not that flapping-arm thing or rabbit-inspired number). If you don’t feel like putting the effort into twisting out the cork, Ramsey raves about the Peugeot Elis rechargeable electric bottle opener ($120).
• Another smart buy: an aerator like the Vinturi (about $40), which helps wines breathe before they’re quaffed.
• The one neat gadget Ramsey couldn’t do without? The Metrokane flip-top cocktail shaker ($30). “I can’t keep them in stock,” he says. “With the flip top, there’s no holding or balancing—just shake and pour.” Will do!
Sur La Table, The Mall at Chestnut Hill, 617-244-0213, surlatable.com.