Let's Toast to Time with Loved Ones

There are so many reasons to celebrate this season!

Whether you like to celebrate with eggnog, hot toddies, or mulled cider, we have everything you need to craft holiday-worthy cocktails. From building a drink directly in the serving glass to using a shaker correctly to muddling herbs and fruit to extract their flavors, our first-ever cocktail book, How to Cocktail, is full of helpful tips, tricks, and recipes. The book also contains a section about what bar tools the test kitchen recommends. After all, a reliable cocktail shaker, muddler, and strainer are just as important as trustworthy recipes. With our foolproof recipes and our top-rated tools, you’ll be toasting to dear friends and family all holiday season long.

With a little practice, this large Boston shaker was simple and comfortable to handle. The wide mouth and medium height of the sturdy, tempered mixing glass made for quick filling, stirring, muddling, and cleaning. And the glass itself sat low in the larger cup, making it especially easy to form and maintain a long-lasting seal. Our only gripe? The thin metal cup got fairly cold during use. Available at TheBostonShaker.com  More on this test

With a roomy, medium-depth basket of very fine, tight, stiff mesh, this strainer removed lots of bran from whole-wheat flour and produced silky purees. A long, wide hook allowed it to sit securely on a variety of cookware, and while its rounded steel handle was a bit less comfortable than some, it was still easy to hold. This strainer’s sturdy construction makes it worth its high price: It looked as good as new even after serious abuse.  More on this test

The longest model in our lineup, this double-headed muddler stood tall in vessels of all sizes. With a moderate weight and a large, smooth head, this model quickly and efficiently muddled everything under it, making great drinks. Testers liked that it also had a second, smaller head, which was handy for maneuvering in narrow vessels or for making a second drink without having to wash the muddler. Made of unvarnished wood with indentations cut into it, this model was particularly easy to grip, even when wet. And although the wood stained slightly after its overnight cocktail bath, the muddler was otherwise quite durable.  More on this test

Distinct from citrus presses that use small holes, this model features a star-like arrangement of large draining slots, which direct the juice in a steady stream with no splattering or overflowing. Its large, rounded handles were easy to squeeze for testers of all sizes, which helped this press quickly extract far more juice than any other model. Its roomy bowl could also accommodate up to medium-size oranges (but not large ones).   More on this test

Our winning spoons had a simple design that allowed for a continuous, bump-free sweep, with a ball-chain connector (similar to what military dog tags hang on) that was easy to open and close. This set's metal construction felt remarkably sturdy, and ingredients didn't cling to the stainless steel. And while the 1-tablespoon measure did not fit into all spice jars, it was a minor inconvenience for an otherwise easy-to-use set.  More on this test

This small, inexpensive plastic beaker has bold, clearly marked lines and numbers that can be read from above; a single wide mouth made it a breeze to fill, and a tiny spout ensured a clean pour every time. In addition to the ounce lines you'll need for making cocktails, the beaker also has volume lines for tablespoons, fractions of a cup, and milliliters, so you can use it to measure liquids in the kitchen as well. Better still, the lines are positioned in such a way that no one set of measurements obscures another, making each set equally easy to read and use.  More on this test

This squat but surprisingly roomy cobbler shaker was leakproof and easy to use: Simply twist on a strainer and snap on a domed top, which doubles as a 1- and 2-ounce jigger. (The silicone top faded a bit after 10 washes but sealed just fine.) While the thin metal cup got cold during use, its carafe-like shape made it fairly comfortable for testers of all hand sizes to grip. The cup’s wide mouth allowed for effortless filling, muddling, and cleaning; a reamer attachment was a nice frill.  More on this test

This classic model was accurate and had bold, easy-to-read measurement lines that clearly corresponded to specific numbers. The handle, though small, was smooth and wide enough to be comfortable. We also liked that the glass resisted staining and was durable. Our one criticism: Using the cup properly requires crouching down and looking at the lines at eye level, which was uncomfortable for some.   More on this test