5 essential tools of the trade.


cover bar basics 1

A list of must-haves emerged after touching base with four local bartending experts. Here are the five tried-and-true tools of the trade that no home bartender should be without:

  1. Boston shaker Basically a stainless steel cup that couples with a simple pint glass, this tool showed up on the list of every bartender queried. “I would say that if I were given only one tool to make drinks all night, it would be a Boston shaker,” says Ryan Dierks, co-owner and bar manager of Truckee Tavern and Grill. “You could literally do everything with it.” This version, called the “Professional Boston Shaker, Unweighted,” includes both the 16-ounce mixing glass and the unweighted shaker tin. $14.50. Also find tips on how to use the Boston shaker on this site.
  2. Citrus peeler Catlyn Piercy, of Bite American Tapas, underscores the importance of a carefully executed citrus twist. “Using a good citrus peeler, cut a twist without getting the bitter white pith part of the fruit. You can use it to flavor the rim, and then twist it before putting it into the drink to release the aromatic oils.” She advises home bartenders find one that fits comfortably in the hand and has an ultra-sharp blade. The affordable Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peeler fits the bill on both counts. $3.95
  3. Measuring jigger There are lots out there, but the OXO Steel Angled Measuring Jigger — favored by many pros — features precise markings that make amazing and consistent cocktails a reality for the home bartender. $8
  4. Bar spoon It might seem an unnecessary tool, but the pros swear by this low-tech wonder. Piercy says a bar spoon should be used in a continuous circuit around the mixing tin. “You expose the liquid to the surface area of the ice with the least amount of turbulence,” she explains, adding that it minimizes dilution due to agitation of the ice. Stir for at least 20 seconds to thoroughly chill mixture. The Hoffman Barspoon is an elegant reproduction of the classic turn-of-the-century bar tool used at the famed Hoffman House of New York City. $24.95
  5. Hawthorne cocktail strainer This can’t-live-without item allows one to remove the extra ice and herbs and generally help to make the cocktail smooth. Patented in 1892, it features corrugations at the base of the handle that hook onto the mixing glass or shaker rim to keep the strainer from slipping. The Antique-Style Hawthorne Strainer gives a nod to the past. $19.95





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