A necessity for every gentleman’s bar, just about every cocktail requires at least one bar tool to make the drink.
Whether you prefer it shaken or stirred, many drinks require a buildup in either a Boston Shaker or a Cobbler. If space is minimal, we suggest the Cobbler since it’s an all-in-one shaker with the strainer built in. You can often find them in metal, plastic and glass. We recommend sticking with metal as you don’t run the risk of breaking it like you do with glass, and the metal maintains the temperature which keeps your drink cooler and chills it faster while shaking over ice.
The Boston shaker consists of a mixing glass (often a pint glass), over which is fitted a large metal mixing lid. A seal is created between the mixing glass and lid, and the whole apparatus is then shaken firmly. The mixing glass can also be used alone for stirring drinks that are not to be shaken. Typically, the cocktail is then strained into a glass using either a Hawthorne or, less commonly, a julep strainer.
The only disadvantage is that using a Boston shaker requires housing for three parts instead of just one. You’ll need space for the glass, the lid, and the strainer, whereas the Cobbler shaker allows you to store it easily as a set taking up less room in your bar.
Used for measuring, a jigger is shaped like a reversible shot glass, with typically one measure twice as large as the other (for instance, two oz/1 oz). Most bartenders will rate the jigger their second most-used bar tool next to the shaker. Although there is a theory that ounces can be counted off, it isn’t fool proof, and the right proportions can turn a drink into a revelation; wrong proportions, a disaster.
Stirrers come in many shapes and sizes on eBay. The benefit is they’re very inexpensive. We suggest a long spoon with a twisted handle which allows you to stir drinks effectively within a large mixing glass or shaker. One account for the twisted handle is that it makes it easier to spin the spoon, which is sometimes used as a stirring technique - especially when your mixing glass is full of ice.
There are two basic strainers used to separate the drink from the ice in your shaker. The most popular style is known as the Hawthorne strainer (named after the Hawthorne Café in Boston) which is recognised by the springs and is used with the metal part of the Boston shaker. The other - and less common - style is a julep strainer which does not have springs, and is slightly bowl-shaped, designed to be used with the mixing glass.
A muddler is used for crushing fruit, fruit peels, and herbs, as well as to extract the essential oils and juices. An old fashioned, for instance, requires muddling sugar, fruit, and bitters, while a mint julep calls for muddling mint leaves and sugar. Muddlers often come in plastic, steel or wood, among other materials. We especially recommend the wooden muddlers. If you are looking to save money, consider a metal one with a plastic pyramid cone head.
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