Cocktail making is an art form that requires precision and attention to detail. Just like any other craft, having the right tools is essential to producing quality work. Barware, also known as cocktail tools, includes a variety of items such as cocktail shakers, cocktail strainers, cocktail muddlers, and cocktail mixing glasses.
Below, we’ll discuss the six essential bar tools that every aspiring bartender should have in their arsenal.
Cocktail shakers are necessary tools creating a variety of mixed drinks, including classics like the Margarita, Whiskey Sour, and Daiquiri. There are two main types of cocktail shakers: the Boston shaker and the cobbler shaker.
Parts Of Cocktail Shakers
As mentioned, a cocktail shaker is a key tool for any mixologist or home bartender. Their parts depend on the style of shaker:
- Metal Or Glass Container – The metal or glass container is the primary vessel where you place the ingredients for the cocktail. In a Boston shaker, the metal container is typically a large mixing tin, paired with a smaller tin cup or a pint glass container. In a cobbler shaker, the container is typically made of metal and includes a built-in strainer and cap.
- Strainer – This is a small, perforated device that sits on top of the shaker tin. It allows the cocktail to be poured into a glass while filtering out any ice or solid ingredients. In a Boston shaker, a strainer is a separate tool called a Hawthorne strainer, which fits snugly over the metal tin. In a cobbler shaker, the strainer is built-in into the shaker top, which is secured on top of the metal container.
- Cap – During the cocktail shaking process, the cap is a crucial component that fits securely over the top of the metal or glass container, effectively sealing it shut. Depending on the type of shaker you’re using, the cap may vary. For instance, in a Boston shaker, there isn’t really a cap– instead, you secure the smaller shaker tin to the larger one. In a cobbler shaker, the cap is typically a metal lid that comes with the built-in strainer and fits over the strainer top.
To strain solid ingredients from the liquid in cocktails, a cocktail strainer is crucial. There are two main kinds of cocktail strainers that bartenders commonly use: the Hawthorne strainer and the julep strainer. A fine mesh strainer may also be used in addition to either of these, in order to double-strain for an extra smooth drink.
- Hawthorne Strainer – The Hawthorne strainer is the most commonly used cocktail strainer. It features a metal disc with a tightly coiled spring that fits inside the rim of a cocktail shaker. The spring helps to keep ice and solid ingredients out of the drink as it is poured into the serving glass. Hawthorne strainers are ideal for use with Boston shakers, which consist of two separate pieces that fit together to shake the drink.
- Julep Strainer – A julep strainer is a perforated spoon used to strain cocktails directly from a mixing glass. It is typically used for cocktails that are stirred rather than shaken, such as the classic Old Fashioned. The bowl-shaped head of the julep strainer is placed over the top of the mixing glass, allowing liquid to pass through the holes while trapping ice and other solid ingredients.
Both types of strainers are essential tools for any home bartender or professional mixologist– one for shaken drinks and the other for stirred drinks, although they are also interchangeable if need be. They allow for a smooth and consistent drink without unwanted bits of pulp or ice, making sure that the cocktail is presented in a visually appealing and delicious way.
Choosing the right cocktail strainer requires consideration of its size and design. A properly designed strainer should fit comfortably into the shaker or mixing glass, allowing for hassle-free pouring without any unwanted pulp or ice.
If you’re looking to create cocktails that feature fresh fruits or herbs, cocktail muddlers are a must-have tool. These small devices are used to crush ingredients and release their flavors into the drink. Muddlers are typically made from wood, stainless steel, or plastic, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
When choosing a cocktail muddler, it’s important to consider the material, size, and shape. A good cocktail muddler should be comfortable to hold and easy to use without damaging the ingredients. Easy cleaning is also a plus.
Cocktail Mixing Glasses
Cocktail mixing glasses are an important tool for creating cocktails that are stirred rather than shaken. These tall, narrow vessels are used to mix ingredients before pouring them into serving glasses. They’re typically made from heat-resistant or tempered glass, and they come in a variety of sizes to accommodate any mixing needs.
When selecting a cocktail mixing glass, look for one that is large enough to mix the desired quantity of ingredients with ease. It should also be thick enough to withstand daily use without cracking or breaking. A good mixing glass should have a heavy base and enough heft to remain stable when stirring. Additionally, it should be comfortable to hold and have a spout that allows for easily pouring the finished cocktail.
A jigger is a small tool that is used to measure the amount of alcohol or other liquids used in a cocktail. It is typically made from stainless steel and is composed of two cups that measure up to one ounce on the smaller side and up to two ounces on the larger side. They are used to ensure accuracy when creating cocktails, as it can be difficult to eyeball the exact quantity of each ingredient.
One type of jigger is the Japanese jigger; it’s a tall, slender jigger that has two sides: one for measuring small amounts and another for measuring larger amounts. Another style is the bell jigger, which also has two sides but is more rounded and shorter.
A bar spoon is a long-handled stirring spoon used in cocktail making. It’s usually made of stainless steel and can have a spiral handle that makes it easy to stir liquids without splashing them out of the glass. A smooth handle is also common, but it is a personal choice that you prefer to hold.
These spoons are also very useful for measuring a small number of ingredients such as bitters or other syrups and can be used to layer ingredients in layered cocktails.
These spoons come in a range of sizes, from one teaspoon to two tablespoons. When measuring specific ingredients for cocktails, it’s important to use the appropriate spoon size so you get the precise amount that is needed.
Having the right cocktail tools is essential in creating quality cocktails. As mentioned, the six essential cocktail-making tools are cocktail shakers, cocktail strainers, cocktail muddlers, cocktail mixing glasses, jiggers, and bar spoons.
When choosing these tools, it’s important to consider the size, material, and design to ensure they are comfortable to use, accurate, and durable. With these essential bar tools, you’ll be able to create your favorite cocktails and impress your guests at your next gathering. So invest in quality cocktail-making tools and start experimenting with new cocktail recipes today!