As a bartender or home mixologist, having the right tools is essential to create delicious cocktails. In this article, we will explore the essential tools needed to stock your bar like a pro.
Who Needs These Essential Tools?
Whether you are a professional bartender or someone who enjoys making cocktails at home, having these essential tools in your arsenal will help you make perfect drinks every time.
What Are The Essential Tools For A Well-Stocked Bar?
- Jigger – A measuring tool used to ensure accurate pour measurements.
- Shaker – Used to mix ingredients and aerate the cocktail.
- Strainer – Used to remove ice or small particles from the cocktail.
- Mixing Glass – A vessel used for stirring drinks with ice.
- Barspoon – A long-handled spoon used for stirring cocktails.
- Muddler – Used to crush fruits, herbs, and spices to release their flavors.
- Citrus Juicer – Used to extract fresh juice from citrus fruits.
- Cutting Board and Knife – Used to cut fruits and garnishes.
- Ice Bucket and Tongs – Used to store and serve ice.
- Glassware – Basic glassware includes rocks, highball, martini, and wine glasses.
When Should You Use These Tools?
These tools should be used when making cocktails that require specific measurements, such as classics like the Martini or Manhattan. They are also necessary for creating custom cocktails using fresh ingredients, which require muddling or juicing.
How To Use These Tools?
- Jigger – Hold the jigger with one hand and the bottle with the other and pour the required amount of liquid into the jigger.
- Shaker – Add the ingredients to the shaker, add ice, shake vigorously, and strain into a glass.
- Strainer – Hold the strainer over a glass and pour the cocktail through the strainer to remove any ice or small particles.
- Mixing Glass – Add ingredients to the mixing glass, add ice, and stir with a barspoon until well-chilled, then strain into a glass.
- Barspoon – Use the spoon to stir cocktails in a mixing glass or shaker.
- Muddler – Add fresh fruits or herbs to the bottom of a shaker or mixing glass, use the muddler to gently crush them to release their flavors.
- Citrus Juicer – Cut the citrus fruit in half, place it in the juicer cut side down, and squeeze to extract the juice.
- Cutting Board and Knife – Use the board and knife to chop fruits and garnishes to the desired size and shape.
- Ice Bucket and Tongs – Fill the ice bucket with ice, use the tongs to remove individual pieces of ice as needed for each drink.
- Glassware – Choose the appropriate glass for each cocktail based on its ingredients and style.
Pros and Cons of Using These Essential Tools
- Ensure precise measurements for consistent cocktails
- Enhance the flavor and texture of cocktails
- Allow for the use of fresh ingredients
- Impress guests with professional-looking drinks
- Can take up space and be expensive
- Requires proper storage and maintenance
- May not be necessary for simple cocktails
Alternatives To These Essential Tools
If you don’t have access to these tools, there are some alternatives that can work just as well:
- Measuring spoons and cups can replace a jigger
- A large mason jar with a lid can replace a shaker
- Fine-mesh sieves or cheesecloth can replace a strainer
- A spoon or fork can replace a muddler
- A reamer can replace a citrus juicer
Step by Step Guide to Stocking Your Bar with These Essential Tools
- Determine what cocktails you want to make and the tools required for each.
- Purchase high-quality tools that are durable and easy to use.
- Find a dedicated space to store your bar tools, ideally near where you will be making drinks.
- Properly clean and maintain your tools after each use to ensure longevity.
Comparison of Different Types of Essential Tools
- Jigger – A double-sided jigger is most common, with one side measuring 1 ounce and the other measuring 1.5 ounces. There are also adjustable jiggers that can measure different amounts.
- Shaker – Boston shakers consist of a metal tin and glass pint or mixing glass, while cobbler shakers have a built-in strainer and cap.
- Strainer – Hawthorne strainers fit onto the top of a shaker tin or mixing glass, while Julep strainers fit inside the mixing vessel.
- Mixing Glass – The Yarai mixing glass is a popular choice due to its elegant design, but any clearglass mixing vessel with a spout will work.
- Barspoon – A longer spoon allows for better stirring and reaching the bottom of a tall glass.
- Muddler – A wooden or stainless steel muddler is most common, but plastic muddlers are also available.
- Citrus Juicer – Manual juicers can be handheld or countertop models, while electric juicers can extract juice quickly and efficiently.
- Cutting Board and Knife – A plastic cutting board is easier to sanitize, while a sharp paring knife is best for cutting fruits and garnishes.
- Ice Bucket and Tongs – Insulated ice buckets can keep ice cold for longer periods and come in various sizes, while tongs vary in length and style.
- Glassware – Different types of glassware are used for different cocktails and can range from basic to more ornate designs.
Tips for Using These Essential Tools
- Practice using each tool before making drinks for guests.
- Keep the tools clean and organized to avoid clutter and confusion.
- Invest in high-quality tools to ensure longevity and better performance.
- Experiment with different tools to find what works best for you and your cocktail creations.
- Have fun and get creative!
The Best Essential Tools for a Well-Stocked Bar
After researching and testing multiple brands and types of essential bar tools, we have determined the following to be the best:
- Jigger – OXO Steel Double Jigger
- Shaker – Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins
- Strainer – Cocktail Kingdom Hawthorne strainer
- Mixing Glass – Yarai Mixing Glass
- Barspoon – Hiware 12-Inch Stainless Steel Mixing Spoon
- Muddler – Top Shelf Bar Supply Stainless Steel Muddler
- Citrus Juicer – Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer
- Cutting Board and Knife – OXO Good Grips Cutting Board and Paring Knife Set
- Ice Bucket and Tongs – Oggi Stainless Steel Ice Bucket with Tongs
- Glassware – Libbey Glassware Basics Set
- Do I need to buy all of these tools to make cocktails? No, while having these essential tools can enhance your cocktail-making experience, simple cocktails may not require all of them.
- Can I use a regular spoon instead of a barspoon? While a regular spoon will work, a longer barspoon is designed for better stirring and reaching the bottom of a tall glass.
- What is the difference between a Boston shaker and a cobbler shaker? A Boston shaker consists of a metal tin and glass pint or mixing glass, while a cobbler shaker has a built-in strainer and cap.
- Can I use bottled juice instead of fresh citrus juice? While using bottled juice is an option, fresh citrus juice provides a better taste and texture to cocktails.
- How do I properly clean and maintain my bar tools? Most bar tools can be hand washed with warm soapy water and dried thoroughly after each use. Some tools, like wooden muddlers, may require special care.
Stocking your bar with the essential tools outlined in this article will help you create delicious and professional-looking cocktails. While investing in high-quality tools can be expensive, it will improve your overall cocktail-making experience. Remember to have fun and experiment with different tools and techniques to find what works best for you. Cheers!