1. French Press
If a great coffee cocktail is on your list of pleasures you will find that a French press will do wonders. The coffee produce by a press is thicker, richer, and far more flavorful than the coffee made in a drip machine. Most presses will make around 3 cups at once, which is perfect for sharing a round of Irish Coffee with a few friends.
I have used many French presses over the years and the one drawback is cleaning up the used grounds. That is why on my last press purchase I sought out one with a grounds keeper and I will probably not go back. The OXO French Press (Compare Prices) is what I use now and all you have to do to remove the coffee grounds is pull the keeper out by the handle and dump it in the compost or garbage.
Ice balls are perfect for creating large chunks of ice that melt slower and more even than traditional ice cubes. In Japan there are professional ice ball carvers and bartenders world wide have been learning the technique. The majority of us, however, are not going to spend the time learning this art and that is why there are these convenient molds for creating ice balls. The plastic molds are very easy to use and come in 2-4 balls per tray. There are also more expensive, professional ball molds that are more traditional and make crystal clear ice.
The ice balls are great, but you have to keep your trays working to ensure a constant stock. An alternative is one of these large cube trays. The ice is about the same size and these make 6 oversize cubes at once so you can easily have a supply of large cubes on hand for your nightly whiskey sipper. The King Cube trays are made of silicon and the finished cubes pop right out. The other thing I like to do with these large cubes is fill them with cut fruits, then fill with water and freeze for fun fruit cubes.
Ice is so important in the bar that I like to share the little tricks for maximizing the temperature of your drinks. In this case, we are looking at whiskey stones. The benefit of these 1/4 inch soapstone cubes is that they can be frozen or warmed and dropped into your whiskey or brandy glass to give you the ideal temperature for sipping with none of the dilution. They work with any drink and, unlike those plastic reusable ice cubes, never lose their temperature holding ability.
The last of our drink chilling non-essential bar tools is for those who like to share a round of frosty shots with friends. This soapstone tray fits four double shot glasses and when the whole set is frozen, you have a convenient way to serve the coldest shooters possible. It's a fun gift idea for those seemingly impossible people as well.
Drink dispensers are a great alternative to serving punch in a bowl. They are often made of glass, with a convenient nozzle for pouring drinks, and are available in a variety of styles. The lids keep debris from falling into the punch and fruits and ice can be place inside. Guests can pour a drink for themselves, and the double dispensers offer options a punch bowl cannot.
It never fails that you lose the cap to a bottle of liquor and we all are aware of the challenges of re-corking a bottle of wine. That is why it never hurts to have a spare bottle stopper (or five) around for emergencies. The fun, elegant, and quirky designs available can fit any theme and anyone's style. They also make a great hostess gift if you are out of ideas.
Infusion pitchers such as this one from Home Wet Bar make infusing spirits even easier because it eliminates the need to strain the fruit from the finished infusion. The liquor and fruit are in separate parts of the pitcher and it is easy to clean up afterwards. This one also include ice tubes for chilling and the entire set is ideal perfect for serving an infusion or fresh lemonade at a small party.
9. Garnish Tray
The garnish tray is a convenient item to have around if you do a lot of entertaining in your bar. Of course, you are not going to have prepared garnishes available for your everyday drink after work, the fruits simply will not stay fresh. However, for a crowded party with many people ordering many drinks, the garnish tray is essential because all of the cut garnishes are organized and the lids keep bugs and fingers from tainting the fruits.
10. Martini Pitcher
You see martini pitchers often in classic films and they are becoming popular again because of the renewed interest in classic cocktails. They are an elegant way to mix up a few stirred cocktails at one time and some of them are absolutely stunning to look at.