Crappy cocktail tools have killed many drinks.
That’s unfortunate for two reasons. First, low quality equipment can be the hidden culprit that affects your cocktail quality. Second, great cocktail tools have more to do with information and quality than cost.
With a little research, anyone can have a great bar setup.
So let’s jump into the 4 most important cocktail tools you can have for your bar.
Cocktail Tool #1: Boston Shaker Setup
The boston shaker setup consists of two tins: one 28 oz tin, and a smaller 18 oz tin. This is setup is superior to others for four reasons.
First, using two metal vessels allows you to rapidly chill the the mixture that you are shaking.
Second, when you shake with ice, the metal tins contract and form a seal. That means all that precious liquid remains in the shaker (and not on your shirt).
Third, the smaller metal tin is a more durable option than using a mixing glass – a critical advantage (unless you want glass shards with that daiquiri).
Fourth, the setup is more sanitary than the cobbler shaker. While the small rubber gasket surrounding the lid helps keep liquid in, it can be a magnet for old cocktail liquid, mildew, and even rust.
Here is a great, cost effective boston shaker set.
Cocktail Tool #2: Hawthorne Strainer
The hawthorne strainer is simple, flexible, and elegantly designed cocktail tool.
It has more applications and gives you better control than the julep strainer.
Once you’ve mixed or shaken your cocktail, this strainer will keep ice, fruit, and anything else out of your glass.
Despite the many variations, colors, and features, the basic version works well.
Cocktail Tool #3: Jigger Set
Cocktails are a study in precision, and jiggers will help you pour the right amounts.
I prefer the two sided metal jigger over small glasses with measurement lines. By filling these to the top (rather than to a line), you can lessen meniscus related errors.
These three denominations of jigger will carry you far:
Cocktail Tool #4: Muddler
Some of your cocktail recipes will call for whole fruit, herbs, or vegetables. A good muddler will allow you to lay the smack down on any of these, before shaking. The result is maximum flavor extraction before you shake.
There are many muddlers on the market – some of which offer more of a cool factor than others. Ultimately, you want to choose a muddler with the following characteristics:
- Long (nothing worse than scraping knuckles on the edge of your shaker tin)
- Doesn’t absorb flavors over time – look for plastic or sealed (but not lacquered) wood
- Won’t strip or leech plastic over time
This muddler is a great, inexpensive option that meets all the above requirements.
Don’t let a bad bar setup ruin your cocktails. Get the right equipment from the start – your drinks will thank you for it!
What are some of your favorite tools? Are there any others you would add to the list?