There are so many choices on the market when it comes down to selecting bar tools and no one tool is the right one for all. We know that whether you are a cocktail enthusiast or professional bartender, everybody has their own style and we all need bar tools that are made well, easy to maintain, and are reasonably priced. Here are some tools that are easy on the eye and have stood the test of time with us. This list may change from time to time as we are frequently trying and testing new gadgets.
If for some reason we have to eyeball the measurements when making a cocktail, the Boston shaker is ideal tool to do so. The set consists of a 28-ounce stainless steal tin and a clear pint glass perfect to pour into when measuring devices are not available. It is an inexpensive vessel, perfect for casual use at home. However, this set bears the risk of glass shattering, making the Boston shaker a bit of a hazardous tool to use in a busy bar.
Scars on our hands may serve as a good reminder of the dangers found with using the Boston shaker. Because of this, we recently switched to using a tin-to-tin set. A durable 18 ounce weighted stainless steel tin replaces the rather fragile pint glass in a Boston shaker. This set not only produces a much colder shaken cocktail but also makes the working process faster and safer. When both Naranja pieces are pressed together, the set easily forms a stable seal and the metal is also flexible enough to separate with ease. In our opinion, this is the best shaker set to use in a busy bar.
When we want to up the level of sophistication of an intimate gathering, we always turn to the Parisian shaker set from Uber Bar Tool. This absolute beauty, consists of two stainless steel copper tins that join together in subtle way that gives the illusion of being a one-piece vessel. The delicate seal is not very secure however and requires two hands when shaking, and this is the reason you often won’t find it in bars. If you are just shaking a few cocktails and enjoying a couple of good cigars with friends, the Uber Shaker is the way to class up the act.
The Libbey Glass is one of our favorite bar tools. To put it simply – stirring a cocktail in a pint glass can be very frustrating. Ice can fall out, compromising not only the quality of the drink, but also tainting the good name of the bartender. A Libbey cocktail beaker has a really wide mouth, making both pouring and stirring a breeze. It is an elegant vessel that can compliment any bar setting and definitely one of Flair Project’s “must haves”.
Used primarily to strain shaken cocktails, hawthorn strainers are a very basic tool and therefore there is a wide variety available on the market. The Koriko strainer is what we prefer for a few key factors: unlike cheaper models, with loose springs and funky sizes, the Koriko nicely covers the entire mouth of the tin shaker, preventing ice and other solids to fall out around the sides of the strainer. It is also made from heavy stainless steel that make this piece not only more durable but also much easier to handle.
Besides being used for simply straining stirred cocktails, the julep strainer can come to the rescue when we make a mistake. Its perforated bowl is perfect for removing unwanted ice that might have fallen into the cocktail. This Cocktail Kingdom julep strainer fits nicely in both pint glasses and mixing beakers, and just like the hawthorn strainer, it spans evenly across the width of the mixing vessel, preventing ice from falling out when straining.
When the aim is extra smooth texture we double strain our cocktails using Urban Bar Biloxi strainer to keep solids like fruit, herbs and even ice chips out of the drink. Cone strainers come in a variety of shapes, sizes and quality levels. We have had so many cone strainers that have bent, become tangled, and even some that have rusted. We have been using Urban Bar Biloxi for a quite some time now and they have proven to measure up to Flair Project’s standards.
A slender bar spoon allows you to stir cocktails more efficiently without adding oxidation to the finished cocktail. We use a few different styles of bar spoons, but the The Purefold is our favorite, mainly because of its size. It is a single piece metal bar spoon that is not only sturdy but also very versatile. We use it for stirring cocktails as well as a measuring device for powders and sugars. The bowl of the spoon measures exactly one teaspoon and the neck is 15 inches long, perfect for stirring cocktails in deep cups.
Most muddlers on the market have hidden drawbacks, which make them one of the most overlooked bar tools out there. In the past, we have used wooden muddlers, and while they might be a good looking utensil, the wax they are coated with will wear off, leading it to splinter, with pieces sometimes ending up in a drink. We also try to avoid using muddlers that have spikes on the bottom. The reason being is they tend to shred herbs and leafs, releasing a bitter flavor, defeating the purpose of muddling fresh produce in the first place. With all this in mind, we have taken to using the Cocktail Kingdom’s “bad ass”muddler – it looks like a short single piece plastic baton. This might not be the most elegant bar tool you’ve seen, but it does a better job of bringing flavors forward when muddling fresh fruit and herbs.
There is a misconception that it is the unskilled bartenders who have to use jiggers, because they are not taught how to free pour. And while we do believe that professional bartenders should know how to free pour, it is absolutely clear that jiggers have their place beyond the home bar. Sometimes just the tiniest amount of a pungent extract or high-end liqueur can completely change the taste of a drink. When precision to the last drop is required, we always use the Japanese style double sided jigger. Its sides measures 2 oz. and 1 oz respectively, and each is engraved inside for smaller measurements (0.5 oz, 0.75 oz and 1.5 oz). This is the perfect measuring device for home and for a busy bar.
This our favorite tool for peeling extra thin citrus core. Using a knife to zest will not get you the best results. When using Precision Kitchenware’s dual peeler you will carve only the top of the core, where all the essential oils are, and discard the white part which happens to be very bitter. We love the dual blade that allows for zests to be made in the form of both wide swaths and juliennes for more creative garnishes. It’s very sturdy and unlike most plastic vegetable peelers the blade won’t get detached from the main body as soon a little pressure has been applied.
Pre-ground cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices are dried, and tend to lose their vital oils, for this reason we prefer to grate them to order. This Dragon grater is perfect for grating not only nuts, but also citrus, ginger, and other roots and vegetables. We prefer this tool not only because of its durability, but also because of its thinness, which allows us to easily see how much product have we grated.
Ice scoops are definitely not something to neglect. Whether you are using them at home or behind a busy bar, we must be sure to select the appropriate size. It is also important that your ice scoop is made from stainless steel as they spend a significant time interacting with water. There is nothing more horrifying for us than picking up ice with a rusty scoop. We have used this Stainless steel Ice Scoop for over a decade now and it has yet to let us down. It’s the perfect size, easy to handle, and most importantly this tool has been built to last.
Learning to use pour spouts is an absolute must for professional bartenders but they can also be quite useful at home. Spouts make it much easier and faster to pour (even when you use a jigger). You will also have more control of the stream while pouring, saving you some frustrating time of spilling the good stuff all over the countertop. Nobody wants that! And these eBoot stainless steel pour spouts come with plastic caps that will prevent your booze from fading away.
If you elect to go for all in one mixology kit then looks and practicability are pretty much equally important. We love the Omishome Bartender Kit– featuring all the tools you need to make one perfect drink after another. It includes: Cocktail Shaker (24 oz), Jigger (1 oz / 0.5 oz), Ice Tongs, Bar Spoon, Hawthorne / Ice Strainer, Muddler, Wine Pourer, Corkscrew, Straws and Bamboo base. Plus you get 6 free stainless steel straws as a bonus!