Bartender: Thomas Paessler

Raise the Bar This Holiday

We’ve got everything you need to ensure your party guests are filled with plenty of spirit.

Bartender Thomas Paessler keeps things old school. He rocks a major mustache, refers to girlfriends as “paramours,” and kicks back to ’40s on 4 on Sirius XM Radio. He also is ready to bring the holiday cheer to your next soirée. “I started Good Bartenders two summers ago, and I will create a custom menu for an event. I tend to stick to classics or create drinks inspired by classics,” he says. “I offer the experience of going to a nice cocktail bar in your living room.” Paessler recommends booking at least two weeks out. Pre-party, he’ll check out the space, plan the menu, tell you what alcohol to buy and how much, and advise on glassware and number of bartenders you need. Rates are $75 an hour per bartender and include the consultation. Cheers! [email protected]

All That Glass

Thomas’ Tip: 

A drink is only as good as its worst ingredient. So if you want a good drink, buy good alcohol. When it comes to glasses, I love coupes. Get some of those, some great Old Fashioned glasses, and tall glasses, and you’re set.

Essential Barware

    Champagne coupes

    Old Fashioned glasses

    Martini glasses

    Red wine glasses

    White wine glasses

    Brandy snifter

Wallcovering: Peonies by Brett Design, available to the trade at EC Dicken


1. Red wine glass, $30 for two/Napa Home  2. Vintage glasses, $15 for set of six/Nest  3. Guy brandy snifter, $5/Crate & Barrel  4. Camille white wine glass, $15/Crate & Barrel  5. Camille Champagne coupe glass, $11/Crate & Barrel  6. Milagro Collection glass, $18/Ceylon et Cie  7. Vintage Old Fashioned glass, $48 for eight/Lula B’s  8. Cameo wine glass, $10/Crate & Barrel  9. Hand-blown glass with raised design, $99 for set of six/Coco & Dash  10. Mint julep cup, $20/Sur La Table  11. Sempre glasses, $50-70/Vintage Living  12. Poe martini glass, $1,518 for set of six/Bernadette Schaeffler  13. Broughton Double Old Fashioned glass, $95/Ralph Lauren

Liquid Courage

Thomas’ Tip: 

The way I recommend people build their bars is to find a drink they like. Find the recipe for that drink, then buy everything you need to make it. Make it four times. Adjust it to your taste, and invite some friends to try it. The next week, pick a new drink, a new liquor, and a new liqueur. If you build your bar this way, you’ll never have a bottle in your bar that you don’t know how to make at least one drink with, and nothing gathers dust untouched. 

If you simply must have it all right now, I would say these are the things to have on hand: a good 100-percent agave tequila, whiskey (at least one bourbon or rye), gin (Tanqueray is my go-to), vodka (most people don’t sniff at Tito’s), brandy (I prefer cognac), Cointreau (it’s a must for a brandy sidecar or Chelsea sidecar), and bitters (Angostura bitters to start and later Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6 and Peychaud’s Bitters).

Legit Libations









Mix It Up


    Club soda

    Fresh simple syrup

    Ginger beer


    Angostura bitters

TAKING STOCK: Sorry, Charlie. The days of the kegger are behind you. Here’s everything you need for a super grown-up bar that will make every hour a happy one.


1. Bols Genever gin, $34  2. Herradura Tequila Anejo, $56  3. Laphroaig Quarter Cask Single Malt Whisky, $57  4. Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, $27  5. Absolut Elyx Vodka, $50  6. 10 Cane Rum, $25  7. Leopold Raffin Cognac, $44  8. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, $38  9. Cointreau, $22  10. Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth, $6.50  11. Jack Rudy Small Batch Grenadine, $18   12. Scrappy’s Bitters, $25  13. Q Tonic Water, $8  14. Fever-Tree Ginger Beer, $8  15. Orb copper jigger, $10/Crate & Barrel 16. Hammered copper bowl, $7/Sur La Table  17. Chambord Liqueur, $21  18. Kelly Wearstler Precision bottle opener, $250/Forty Five Ten  19. Mini Montgomery cocktail set, $295/Ralph Lauren  20. Aerin round match striker, $195/Neiman Marcus  21. Lappas silver-plate tray with horn handles, $375/Coco & Dash  22. Silver bowl, $5/West Elm  23. Guest towel, $45/Coco & Dash

All alcohol is from Goody Goody; mixers are from Sur La Table; Mille millions wallcovering by Élitis is available to the trade at Donghia.  

Tool Shed

Thomas’ Tip: 

You don’t have to have the fanciest tools to get the job done well. That being said, sometimes the fancy tools make the job easier—and more classy looking! You need a good measuring device; good drinks come from precisely balanced recipes. A shaker, because there’s no substitute for shaking a drink. A bar spoon, because some drinks need to be stirred and shaking won’t do. A strainer to keep ice, pulp, and the like from getting in your drink. Make sure you have a good paring or utility knife for cutting fruit for juices or garnishes. And if you’re not doing a party for a zillion people, a hand juicer is best for getting the fresh juice you need for great drinks. 

Tools of the Trade

    Paring knife


    Bottle opener

    Ice bucket


    Cutting board

    Bar spoon


    Good ice


1. Kyla tray with brass handles, $525/Mecox  2. Lappas silver-plate cocktail shaker, $450/Coco & Dash  3. Freeze ice cube tray, $11/Z Gallerie  4. Twisted copper spoon, $13/Sur La Table  5. Orb cocktail whisk, $8/Crate & Barrel  6. Strainer, $10/Sur La Table  7. Olive wood paddle board, $39/West Elm  8. Kuhn Rikon paring knife, $10/Sur La Table  9. Zester, $9/Sur La Table 10. Lappas silver-plate double jigger, $195/Coco & Dash  11. Kelly Wearstler bejeweled bottle opener, $350/Forty Five Ten  12. Brass Uncle Sam corkscrew, $98/Jonathan Adler   13. Tom Dixon Gem tealight holder in gold, $25/TenOverSix  14. Cocktail picks, $7 for set of six/Crate & Barrel  15. W&P ice pick, $20/Williams-Sonoma

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