Essential Tools For The Home Bar
You’ve watched a hundred different cocktail tutorials online during the confinement. The recipes are ready go to, and that very selective list of close friends to invite is finally finished. Now, before you set the date for the next party at home, you need the tools to pull off the libations for the night.
Whether you want to be the professional mixologist or to just make someone smile throughout the night, here’s a quick breakdown of the tools you need for your home bar.
First things first, you need a quality set of shakers to do the job right. Because there are three main types of cocktail shakers, each with its own unique design and function, you have the choice to decide which fits your style and needs.
The Boston shaker is an American classic and the go-to for professional bartenders. Its volume allows you to make several cocktails at one time, but be careful to have a tight seal between the two parts before you start shaking. The Cobbler shaker is a great choice for anyone new to the mixology game. Its 3 pieces-- the body, a built-in strainer and a lid to cover while shaking, gives a certain ease of use. It’s typically used to make single drinks. The Parisian shaker is the French design, in 2-pieces, it’s a mix between the Boston and the Cobbler.
An Old-Fashioned, Stirred Martini, Manhattan, Negroni, Boulevardier… this list could go on all night. The point is that for any of these cocktails, you need to stir them in a mixing glass.
They come in different designs and sizes but the function is the same--to chill the cocktail without cracking the ice. With the mixing glass, you need a bar-spoon and Julep or Hawthorne strainer.
A correct dosage to follow precise recipes, that’s why you need a jigger. Most professional bartenders will use a jigger for every pour. Double-sided, they come in multiple sizes: 1oz/2oz, 1oz/ ½ oz, ½ oz/ ¾ oz. The more you use the jiggers, you’ll start to get a natural feeling for how much you are pouring.
Whether you like it shaken or stirred, you’ll need the Hawthorne strainer to make sure that the ice doesn’t fall out into your glass. Its size and function makes it easily versatile to use with a Boston shaker or a mixing glass. There is a range of designs to fit your style and comfort.
Straight-forward and direct, the double-strainer filters out any small loose pieces of cracked ice or fruit in the shaker. As the host, it’s always nice to serve crisp and clean cocktails without things floating around inside.
In tandem with the mixing glass, the bar-spoon is used to stir the ice to chill down the cocktail. The long, twisted handle allows for ease of use and the bowl is the measurement of a tea-spoon. They come in different styles, the Japanese bar-spoon is a little bit heavier and longer than the American style with the red cap.
Overlooked but never forgotten, the muddler is essential for your home bar. Imagine, you’re making a Daiquiri cocktail and you happen to have some strawberries or any other fruit at hand--- throw them into the tin of your Boston shaker, and give a good mash using the muddler before adding the liquids. You’ve just created your own unique cocktail.
To garnish your cocktail without using your hands.
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Fresh lemon or juice at a moment's notice.
With the cutting board handy, you can slice your fruit before throwing them into the shaker.
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Written by Sterling Hudson a mixologist and writer. He has worked behind the bar in New York City, Istanbul, London and is now the Bar Director and Head Bartender at Octopus in Paris, France.