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The Top 5 Must-Have Drinking Accessories

Now that you've advanced beyond wine coolers and college keggers, you're more likely to appreciate a fine glass of Cabernet or a beautifully aged whiskey. You're also more likely to appreciate a bar stocked with thoughtful accessories that show you understand how to make the most of your favorite spirit or wine. Here's a list of our favorite must-haves that make every sip an occasion to remember.

1. Stones for Keeping Whiskey Cold

Connoisseurs who drink fine whiskey, scotch, rum or tequila appreciate the unadulterated flavor of spirits served neat. But sometimes, enjoying a glass of your favorite adult beverage is just a little more enjoyable when it's a few important degrees below room temperature.

Adding water or rocks dilutes the flavor, so what's a connoisseur to do? Add cold whiskey stones, of course! Just keep these in your freezer and add to your glass when you're ready to drink. Now you can enjoy a slightly chilled whiskey without weakening its aroma or taste intensity.

2. American Oak Aging Barrels

If you love the taste of aged spirits and wine, but hate spending hundreds more on expensive pre-aged bottles, try doing it yourself with small liquor barrels. American 2-liter oak barrels are the perfect choice for making your whiskey, wine, rum or tequila taste smoother and more expensive than it actually was.

Turn a blanco tequila into a reposado or anejo with ease, or enhance a common commercial whiskey's complexity right at home. Want to change the flavor? You can do that, too — check out your infusion options to create a unique flavor all your own.

3. Beautiful Bar Glasses

Red Solo cups have their place in life, but so does elegantly cut glass barware. You'll need at least eight each of our double old fashioned, highball, red wine, white wine and water glasses. Bonus points if you add a matching carafe or ice bucket.

Here's a tip for easy cleanup: Crystal barware is beautiful, but it's also more delicate and often not dishwasher-safe. Cut glass is less expensive, just as lovely and cleans beautifully in the dishwasher.

4. Aerator and Decanter

You can age inexpensive wine in small oak barrels and then add another layer of subtlety with an aerator and decanter. You've probably noticed a friend who swirls her wine vigorously in the glass. She does that because it enhances the flavors and aroma. The aerator and decanter eliminate this step for your guests and assures you'll maximize the taste of every bottle you open.

Simply place an aerator into the top of the decanter, and slowly empty the bottle inside. Remove the aerator and enjoy! Wash in the dishwasher, rinsing any tannins to avoid clogging.

5. Juicer

If you enjoy making mixed drinks, then you know there's no substitute for fresh juice. Compare a margarita made with bottled lime juice and one made with fresh, and you'll notice the difference immediately. With a juicer, you can make quick work of getting the fresh stuff you need without torturing yourself grinding limes, lemons or oranges by hand.

Bonus tip? When you buy produce for drink-making, always choose the large individual citrus fruits rather than the more-conveniently-packaged bags. The bigger fruit is more expensive, but it also yields significantly more juice. Keep them on the counter to ripen and bring to room temperature before juicing to get the best results.

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