Cocktail mixing tools are an essential component of mixology, the art of creating and mixing cocktails. Mixology classes and mixologist courses often focus on how to use this barware to create delicious, beautiful drinks. So today, we’ll discuss the most common types of mixing tools, how to use them, and how they help the mixology process.
stainless steel bar tools

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Types Of Cocktail Mixing Barware

Pouring gin for gin cocktails into a cocktail jigger and then mixing glass instead of cocktail shaker-- with a strong vermouth bottle on the side

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Cocktail Mixing Glass

This is a mixing glass that is specifically designed for cocktails. It is typically made of heavy glass so that it doesn’t shift around on your counter while stirring and has a spout for easy pouring. A mixing glass is used to mix ingredients and chill a spirit-forward drink before serving (such as a Martini or Old Fashioned).
stainless steel cocktail shaker set with a cocktail

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Cocktail Shakers

Cocktail shakers come in a variety of styles, but the most common are the Boston shaker and the cobbler shaker. The Boston shaker consists of two parts, either a mixing glass and a metal tin or two metal tins; because it’s two shaker cups, it requires a separate strainer.
The cobbler shaker, on the other hand, has one larger tin, a top with a built-in strainer and lid cap. While convenient to have the built-in strainer, it often isn’t that great– which means you may have to buy a separate one anyway.

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Fine Strainer

A fine strainer is used to strain out any larger solids from the drink. It is typically made of metal and has a fine mesh to sift out particles from your recipe– whether that be a drink, soup, or even a cake (think flour sieve).
A cocktail fine strainer is a small version of this tool, specifically designed for use in cocktails. It’s great for filtering out ice shards, egg whites, fruit pulp, and herbs like mint, resulting in a silky smooth drink.
Putting reusable straws into cocktails

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Cocktail Straws

Cocktail straws are great for drinking cold beverages and can even be used to stir the drink. They also add a decorate touch and look great on Instagram! They come in a variety of colors and sizes– ranging from short and thin for cocktails served in a rocks glass or even wide and long for boba drinks and smoothies– and can be made of plastic, metal, or silicone.
Hand juicer for citrus fruits hanging from a bar cart

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Lemon Extractor or Handheld Juicer

A lemon extractor is a tool used to extract juice from a lemon. It is typically made of plastic or metal and has a small handle that you squeeze after putting your citrus into the rounded area. Check out the all new A Bar Above juicer in our shop!

How To Use Cocktail Mixing Tools

mixing old fashioned cocktail from scratch with ice cubes

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Using A Cocktail Mixing Glass

To use a mixing glass, simply add the ingredients for the cocktail to the glass with ice, and then use a bar spoon to stir the ingredients together. Once the ingredients are well mixed, use a julep strainer– a strainer specifically designed to match a mixing glass– to strain out any solids, including ice, from the drink.
Shaking a cocktail in cocktail shaker

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Using A Cocktail Shaker

To mix using a cocktail shaker, add the ingredients for the drink to your smaller shaker tin. Close the shaker, and shake it vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Once the ingredients are well mixed and chilled, use a Hawthorne strainer to strain out any solids from the drink. Or both a Hawthorne strainer and fine strainer to “double strain” a cocktail with herbs, muddled fruit, or egg whites.
Aviation cocktail with .5 ounce fresh lemon juice made by a head bartender being strained with a fine cocktail strainer-3

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A Fine Strainer

To strain using a fine strainer, hold it over your cocktail glass pour the drink through it from your cocktail shaker, also using a Hawthorne strainer held to the shaker. This will remove any extra solids from your drink that may get through the Hawthorne strainer; this technique is called double-straining and creating a really smooth cocktail.
Putting a straw into the white russians drink with Kahlúa original, your favorite cream or milk, and vodka for a decadent drink

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Using Cocktail Straws

Using cocktail straws is pretty darn simple! If you want to use a straw to stir your drink, just add the ingredients for the cocktail to the glass, and then use the straw to stir the ingredients together and to add a decorative touch to your glass while you sip your delicious beverage.
Using a straw to mix would typically be done directly in your serving glass and is really for two-part cocktails like whiskey and soda water (AKA the Whiskey Highball).
lemon squeezer

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Using A Lemon Extractor/Handheld Juicer

While using a lemon extractor or juicer, cut the lemon in half and place it cut-side down in the extractor. Press down on the handle to squeeze the juice from the lemon. Use the resulting juice in the cocktail recipe as desired. Of course, this isn’t just for lemons! A squeezer will come in handy for fresh lime juice, orange juice, and grapefruit juice as well.

Importance Of Using Cocktail Mixing Barware


a whiskey sour with 2 ounces whiskey in coupe glass is a simple cocktail until you add more ingredients like red wine

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Creating Consistency

Using mixing tools ensures that the ingredients in your drink are well-mixed and that the flavors are well-balanced. This creates consistency in the drink so that each one is just as delicious as the last, which is particularly important if you’re working in a bar or serving drinks at a party.

Enhancing Presentation

Cocktail mixing kits can also enhance the visual presentation of a drink. For example, a fine strainer removes any solids from the drink, leaving it super clear and visually pleasing. Adding a cocktail pick with your garnish is another example of how your drink presentation can go from OK to oh-so-lovely.
Aviation classic cocktail recipe with 4 key ingredients and minimal prep time -4

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Improving Taste

Using the right mixing tools can improve the overall taste of a drink– Adding lemon juice with a lemon extractor can offer a bright and refreshing flavor and ensure that there isn’t extra pulp that throws off your cocktail.

Saving Time

Cocktail-mixing accessories can definitely save time in the mixology process. A cocktail shaker, for example, can quickly mix ingredients together and chill the drink.
bartender holding cocktail with rye whiskey and a cocktail cherry and orange peel

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So there you have it: Cocktail mixing tools are an essential component of mixology and play an important role in creating delicious and beautiful drinks. Mixology classes online can really teach you how to use them and how to incorporate them into your cocktail creations if you aren’t sure where to start.
With the right tools and techniques, you can elevate your cocktail-mixing skills and impress your friends and guests with your mixology expertise. You’ll be mixing like a pro in now time– Cheers!

About Melanie Tornroth

A former English teacher, Melanie optimistically embraces the struggle that is work-from-home parenthood as the in-house writer for A Bar Above. When not responding to “Mom” and writing articles for ABA, she also runs Goodnickels Photography, loves to cuddle her cats, and is perfecting the art of keeping her pandemic “fermentation babies” alive.