SAVEUR Gift Guides: How to Upgrade Your Home Bar

Essential tools and bottles from veteran bartender and tequila smuggler Ivy Mix

By Craig Cavallo

Published on November 30, 2015

Ivy Mix knows her way around bars. The 11-year industry veteran, formerly of Fort Defiance and Clover Club in Brooklyn, first got into drinks in Guatemala, where she lived off-and-on for four years. That's also where she learned about tequila and mezcal, and may or may not have helped smuggle it across the border. These days she's the co-owner of Leyenda, where she runs an impressive bar menu with her mentor Julie Reiner, who has a decade of bartending experience of her own.

So when Mix recommends a bottle or mixing glass, it's one you can trust. Here are her picks for anyone looking to improve their home bar.

Cocktail Kingdom Shaken Set

Prefer your martini shaken? This kit comes with a Boston shaker for the frothiest flips and brightest margaritas. Cocktail Kingdom Shaken Set, $64.70 from Cocktail Kingdom

The Craft Cocktail Party: Delicious Drinks for Every Occasion

This book is great for complete beginners to seasoned vets. I love it because Julie gives great ideas for each season and occasion, and because she’s my mentor! Craft Cocktail Party, around $17 from Amazon

The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique

Another great all-encompassing book by Jeff Morgenthaler. He is a fantastic writer and this is a must-read. The Bar Book, around $20 from Amazon

Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl

Give this book to a friend who loves antiquing and punch bowls. Dave’s book is full of punch bowl history and ideas. Punch, around $17 from Amazon

Campo de Encanto Pisco

This is my favorite pisco on the market. It’s just delicious, and reasonably priced. Campo de Encanto Pisco, $36 from K&L Wines

Ilegal Reposado Mezcal

My favorite mezcal for winter sipping and smokey old fashioneds. Ilegal Reposado Mezcal, $65 from Caskers

Fortazela Anejo Tequila

A spicy lowland tequila that’s great for the winter months. Fortazela Anejo Tequila, $75 from K&L Wines

Mezcal Vago Elote

Excellent small-batch mezcal, and they make great single varietal mezcals like this one. This is for the farm-to-table person in your life. Mezcal Vago Elote, $53 from Astor Wines

Wüsthof Classic 5.5" Serrated Utility Knife

A serrated paring knife is a bartender’s best friend, and the money for a good one pays of with better cut fruit. Wüsthof Classic 5.5″ Serrated Utility Knife, $50 from Kitchen and Company

Vitamix TurboBlend Two Speed

The Vitamix is simply the best way to blend any drink. It’s worth the splurge for anyone who wants to up their game. Vitamix TurboBlend Two Speed, $399 from Vitamix

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