Throwing a cocktail party at home has its obvious advantages (no commute, you control the tunes), but it also comes with its share of drawbacks (actually having to do work). Recreating the experience of an upscale cocktail bar, complete with the appropriate tools, can be expensive, and learning how to use them is time consuming.
But no matter your bartending inspiration, there are several ways to work around equipment you haven’t bought yet (and don't plan on buying). Here's a list of ways to use common kitchen staples as if they were barware.
1. Use a shot glass as a jigger. Recipes for many classic cocktails vary from bar to bar, so small changes in your measurement will probably go unnoticed. Further, many cocktails rely on proportions rather than exact amounts.
If your recipe calls for one ounce lemon juice, one ounce simple syrup, and two ounces of gin, use one shot glass of lemon juice, one shot glass of simple syrup, and two shot glasses of gin. Pour over ice and stir.
2. Even if your last roommate stole your citrus juicer, you won't have to worry about being out of juice. Cut a lemon (or lime, if you're making gimlets) in half and stick a fork into the middle of it. Holding the half-lemon over a bowl, squeeze while working the fork up and down. You'll create a surprising amount of juice while exerting little more effort than if you were to use a juicer.
3. Cocktail shakers have been around in some form or fashion since before bars were invented. But if you haven’t bought one yet, don’t worry: shake drinks the old fashioned way by repeatedly pouring them between two cups. Put all the ingredients in one cup, add ice to a second cup, and then pour the liquid from one cup to the other over a sink.
4. Hawthorne strainers can make any home bar setup look super official, but there are other ways to make sure your drink doesn’t get too diluted. After it’s been shaken, use a standard baking whisk to cover the mouth of your mixing cup while you pour your drink into another cup.
5. Muddlers are wonderful, but you don't need one to become the designated Mojito-maker. You can use the end of a vegetable peeler to muddle your ingredients, leaving your guests none the wiser. (Mind that peeling blade, obviously.)