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7 Basic Bar Tools Every Budding Mixologist Should Own

Mixing Glass

One of the biggest advantages to having a home bar (besides all the money you save on going out) is being able to recreate your favourite drinks and come up with exciting new ones along the way. But sometimes when you’re just beginning your mixology journey, it can be frustrating to find that your creations don’t quite measure up to the cocktails you’re used to. 

Firstly, don’t get disheartened, it’s a learning process after all, secondly, take a look at the types of cocktails you’re trying to create, and see whether you may need to add to your arsenal of bar tools to make it happen. A few basic bar tools can quickly take your cocktail creations from dull to divine and if you’re seriously looking into making mixology a hobby, it’s worth investing in some high-quality barware to make it happen. 

7 Basic Bar Tools That Every Home Bar Needs

  1. Cocktail Shaker

Not just for fancy flipping, the cocktail shaker is the go-to bar tool and a true workhorse of any bar. It comes in many various styles and designs, but the most common are the Boston shaker and the cobbler shaker. The Boston shaker has two metal or glass pieces that fit together, whereas the cobbler shaker has a built-in strainer and cap. 

Why It's Essential: 

A good cocktail shaker ensures that your ingredients are thoroughly mixed, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavours and a well-chilled drink. It's a must-have tool for classic cocktails like the Martini, Margarita, and Whiskey Sour.

  1. Jigger

Every cocktail recipe has specific quantities listed, but for bartenders making hundreds of drinks a night, getting out measuring cups or weighing scales isn’t a viable option. That’s where the Jigger comes in handy. It typically has two different-sized cups on each end usually of  1.5 ounces (44ml) on the larger side and 0.75 ounces (22ml) on the smaller one, allowing you to measure precise quantities of liquid ingredients. 

Why It's Essential:

Precision is key in mixology, and a jigger ensures that you maintain the correct balance of ingredients, resulting in a consistent, well-balanced and delicious cocktail every time.

  1. Mixing Glass

All you may have deduced from Mr. Bond’s standard Martini order, not all cocktails can be shaken, some need to be stirred. A mixing glass offers an elegant way to mix ingredients on the bar counter and build up multiple ingredients. Classics like the Manhattan or Negroni often need to be stirred with ice and strained which can be optimally done in a mixing glass with a long, thin shape that allows for easy stirring.

Why It's Essential:

Stirring cocktails in a mixing glass preserves the clarity and texture of the drink while gently chilling and diluting it. It's a must-have for any mixologist aiming for precision and finesse.

  1. Bar Spoon

Sure you can have a teaspoon on hand or a couple of dessert spoons, but if you’re looking for convenience, a bar spoon is a must. A bar spoon is a long, slender spoon with a twisted handle, specifically designed for mixing and layering cocktails, it can also be used for tasting small drops of the drink along the way to ensure the perfect flavour. It may seem simple but it’s an indispensable tool for creating stunning drinks and adding the finishing touches to your creations.

Why It's Essential:

A bar spoon allows you to delicately mix and layer ingredients, ensuring that each sip is a harmonious experience both in terms of flavour and aesthetics.

  1. Hawthorne Strainer

Whether you opt for the Boston shaker or the cobbler, a Hawthorne strainer is a must-have tool for any mixologist. This metal strainer with a spring-like coil that fits neatly inside a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. This strainer effectively filters out ice and other solid ingredients when pouring the cocktail into a glass which may be passed through otherwise.

Why It's Essential:

A Hawthorne strainer ensures that your cocktails are free from ice shards and pulp, resulting in a smooth and consistent pour.

  1. Muddler

Building a great drink is all about building flavours, and a muddler is a handy tool to do that. Almost like a flat pestle, and usually ridged or lightly spiked, this tool is used to extract flavours from fruits, herbs, and spices by crushing them gently and releasing their natural essence. 

Why It's Essential:

Muddling enhances the aroma and taste of cocktails by extracting essential oils and flavours from fresh ingredients, elevating the overall drinking experience.

  1. Ice Bucket and Tongs

Nobody likes a warm cocktail. But unless you’re ready to start running to the freezer with every new drink, then an ice bucket is a home bar must-have. A metal ice bucket that’s well-insulated and easy to access can ensure that every cocktail is at the perfect temperature. It’s a simple tool that is often overlooked but is crucial for maintaining the quality and presentation of your cocktails.

Why It's Essential:

Using an ice bucket and tongs ensures that your ice stays clean and free from contamination, guaranteeing a fresh and hygienic experience for your customers or guests.