The Mixology Talk Podcast, Episode Ten
Today we’re talking bar tools, and I’m probably going to get in big trouble with the Mixology community for this!
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In today’s Episode…
Chris will go through the tools he uses behind his bar, and I’ll go ahead and suggest some normal kitchen items that could serve the same purpose. Yep – no more excuses, even folks without bar tools can make a great drink!
We’ve provided links below to help you see the specific tools we recommend. I wanted to let you know that we get a small commission if you buy – but that doesn’t affect your price, or how much we like you. It just helps us support this site. Thanks for your support!
Chris uses a two-part shaker, with an 18 oz unweighed cheater tin paired with a 28 oz weighted shaker. For home bartenders who won’t be creating cocktails in large quantities, it might be a good idea to start with a simple glass-and-tin set. These shaker sets can be easier to open, but there’s always a risk that glass will break.
I (Julia) found a simple glass container in the kitchen with a snap on lid. That’s what I’ll be using!
For a quick review of how to use shakers, check out our video on Bartending Tools – Shakers.
p.s. THIS is a Nalgene Bottle
The Mixing Glass
For stirred cocktails, you’ll be using a Mixing Glass to chill and dilute your drink. But do you need a fancypants Yarai Mixing glass to do the trick?
Not necessarily! While Chris uses his favorite mixing glass to stir his drinks, I found that the same exact container I recommended for shaking would absolutely work here as well. Really you’re just looking for something with enough space to fit your drink, your ice, and with (preferably) vertical walls to allow for stirring easily.
Bar Spoons are just like normal spoons except:
- They typically have a much longer handle
- Their “cup” at the end is usually not very deep
- They usually have a cylindrical or spiral handle
- Chris doesn’t have a problem with buying too many “normal” spoons
Here’s that video on Stirring with a Bar Spoon that we promised!
There are LOTS of bar spoons out there, and most of them are at our bar. But here’s a good one on Amazon that’s pretty reasonably priced. I think we have these …
There are three different kinds of strainers that you’ll typically find behind a bar:
- Hawthorne Strainer: The quintessential bar strainer. Has a springy looking thing. Comes with most normal bar kits.
- Julep Strainer: Looks like a big flat spoon with holes in it. Use it for straining all-spirit drinks
- Fine strainer (not pictured): Looks like a tiny, fine-meshed strainer
Here are my “Cheater” suggestions:
- Kitchen Strainer: Cheater Strainer, Could replace Hawthorne or Julep in a pinch
- Coffee Filters / Cheese Cloth: Also not pictured. If you really must fine-strain, these are a good option.
Muddlers — aka “baseball Bats”
Seriously folks, don’t use a baseball bat. Muddlers are basically for smashing ingredients in the bottom of your shaker tin or pint glass. Basically anything that fits in there and can withstand a smashing will work. Here I’m going to recommend a hefty wooden spoon.
One of the key things that makes a good cocktail great is the use of fresh juice. Want fresh juice? You’re going to need a juicer.
The best option for low-volume bar juicing is the green thing in that picture – a citrus juicer. But really, you can get by using our trusty wooden spoon, a slotted spoon or … (not pictured) your hands. The key here will just be to make sure you strain your citrus juice if your juicer doesn’t have a good way to catch seeds. Nobody wants a seed in their cocktail!
Zester AKA Potato Peeler
Finally, you’ll need a zester to pull off the citrus zest and garnish many traditional cocktails. What tool do you need to do this? Well, look what I found – my missing potato peeler!
Chances are pretty good you’ve already got one of these at home, so you’re already well on your way!
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As long as it stirs and gets the booze cold, that’s all that matters. Thanks for listening 😉
Another simple hack you can use for juicing citrus is a pair of tongs. Use the middle part of the tongs not the end and you can squeeze every last drop of juice in even the toughest of lemons and limes! You still have to strain it but it’s much more effective than Julia’s spoon method 😉
Brilliant! I’m going to try this the next time the juicer’s in the wash! Thanks Jamila!