Bar Tools

What No Bartender Should Be Without

There are some basic tools needed to make cocktails that should be top priority when outfitting your home bar. Some of these items are already in the kitchen and the rest can be purchased at prices that fit any budget. With these basic essentials you can be mixing cocktails with ease that are sure to please.
  • Cocktail & Boston Shakers

    There are two basic types of shakers available on the market.

    • Cocktail or Traditional Shaker: A metal shaker with a tight-fitting top covering a strainer which fits onto a bar tin. Cocktail shakers are available in many stylish designs and are perfect for use in the home bar.
    • Boston Shaker: This shaker serves a dual purpose because it is comprised of a 16 ounce mixing glass and a larger, flat-bottomed bar tin. The glass can be used alone for stirring drinks over ice and the two pieces are usedMORE
    • Hawthorne Strainer

      Hawthorne Cocktail Strainer

       

      For drinks that are shaken or stirredwith ice and served neat or over new ice, a strainer is needed to separate not only the ice, but any fruits, herbs or other solid ingredients from the liquid. A strainer is necessary if you are using a Boston shaker because there is not one built in and this Hawthorne strainer is the most common style.

      The Hawthorne Strainer is a flat-topped, perforated metal device with a continuous coil of wire around its perimeter, which helps keep the strainer in place.MORE

  • Julep Strainer

    Julep Strainer for Cocktails

     

    A julep strainer is perforated, made of stainless steel and in the shape of an over-sized soup spoon with holes. It is placed at an angle inside a mixing glass or bar tin while straining cocktails into the glass.

    Jigger

    Cocktail making tools on bar

     

    Jiggers are metal measuring devices that usually have two cones, one on either end. The larger cone typically holds 1 1/2 ounces while the smaller cone holds 3/4 or 1 ounce. The jigger is an essential, aesthetic piece of the bar set up that helps ensure precise measuring of liquids and creating consistent cocktails.

    Many bartenders you’ll see do not use jiggers for every drink and instead measure using memory, technique, and years of experience pouring a lot of drinks.

  • Bar Spoon

    Overhead view of a Fresh mojito on bartop

     

    Different from the average spoon, a bar spoon typically has a long shaft (for reaching the bottom of tall glasses), a spiral handle (for easy twisting of the shaft) and a petite spoon bowl with holes (for floating liquors). This type of spoon is essential for stirring and layering drinks as well as tedious tasks like fishing cherries out of a jar. The first time you use a bar spoon you will never be without one in the bar, they’re that essential.

    Muddler

    Woman making cocktail

     

    A muddler is thick stick, made of either wood, stainless steel, or plastic, that is used to mash ingredients in the bottom of a glass. Often used to mix sugars, bitters, and to extract juices and oils from fruit and mint. Muddling is an essential step in making Old-fashionedsMojitos and Caipirinhas.

    When buying a muddler choose a thicker one that has a diameter of about 1 1/2-2 inches at the widest point. These will give you more crushing and mixing power than the thinner muddlers.

  • Speed Pourer

    Speed pourer

     

    The speed pourer, or bottle pourer, is more of a luxury item for most home bartenders, but can be handy when hosting parties and offer the ability to pour liquor for the bottles very quickly and easily. Commercial bars and restaurants place these in the majority of their liquor bottles, especially they’re well and most popular spirits.

    In order to prolong the shelf life of your distilled spirits, it’s best to replace the speed pourer with the original cap if you will not be using it forMORE

  • ice Accessories

    Ice bucket with white wine

     

    Ice is key to the bar and items like ice buckets, crushers, scoops and tongs are essential. Electric ice crushers work well, but to eliminate one more appliance you can get an insulated ice crushing bag, sometimes called a Lewis bag and whack it with your muddler to the consistency you desire. Talk about getting some frustration out!

  • Electric Blender

    Blender and crushed ice in wine glass

     

    The blender is essential for preparing frozen drinks like frozen daiquiris and margaritas, and they are also used to crush ice and puree fruit. While most people use large blenders in the kitchen, smaller models are available for the home bar where space can be tight.

    Breville Citrus Press

     

    Most juicers will produce nearly the same results and range from the simple reamers to electric juicers.

    If you buy a juicer, use it and don’t leave it sitting in the back of the cupboard. Fresh fruit or vegetable juice can make the best cocktails and is recommended over bottled juices whenever possible. Your cocktails will thank you for your effort.

  • Soda Siphon

    Soda Syphon

     

     

    When it comes to adding soda waterto your mixed drinks you have two options; bottled sodas which can go flat if not used right away or a soda siphon. The siphons transform regular water into an effervescent, carbonated beverage by using CO2 cartridges inserted into the handle. With a quick squirt into your Gin Fizz or John Collins your drink is topped off nicely with a perfect amount of freshly carbonated water.

     

  • Use a cutting board for preparing garnishes. Designate a small board for bar use only so that you don’t end up cutting fish or chicken on it and give it a nice cleaning after every use in order to have the freshest tasting fruits, vegetable and herbs.

  • Keep a set of pairing knives sharp and in the bar for cutting slices, twists and all your garnishes.

    A good knife is one of your most valuable tools and a personal favorite are those from Zyliss. I have one of these for all of my food and beverage needs and they are a great, reliable knife that gives you clean cuts.

  • Zesters are useful for grating items like nutmeg or chocolate onto the top of cocktails or for fine lemon zests. Choose a small, handheld one that has a fine-toothed, sharp grating surface and a sturdy handle.

    Another option is the canelle knife, which can serve a dual purpose. A good canelle knife will include both a zester and a channel that makes cutting citrus spirals easy.

  • There are many different styles of corkscrews to choose from, the most popular being the Winged and Waiter’s corkscrews.

    Most liquor bottles don’t need a special bottle opener or cork screw but there’s nothing worse than a guest showing up with a bottle of merlot and you don’t have a way to open it. Besides, you may want to mix some wine cocktails. It’s smart to keep at least two around because it tends to be one of the first tools to be misplaced.

  • Frustration sets in if there’s no bottle opener around and you need one. It’s handy tool for opening various bottles you may be opening in the bar such as beers and sodasand they can be compact, even fitting on a keychain, built into another tool or you can simply install one permanently into the wall or cabinet.

    A complete set of metal or plastic measuring spoons is sometimes necessary for dry ingredients and small amounts of liquids.

  • These short, thin straws or stirrers are used when serving many mixed drinks and, occasionally neat cocktails, to guests, allowing them to keep their drinks mixed to the end.

    BY COLLEEN GRAHAM

BEST WHISKEY GLASSES FOR EVERY HOME BAR

As we grow older our tastes and preferences in life change with every surpassing year. Hopefully, this trends in the positive direction, though one can never be sure. Whatever the case, it’s obvious that these tastes in foods, clothing, lifestyle, and even politics all mirror our progression through our sordid and existential adult years; our taste for whiskeynotwithstanding. Moving through the motions of “borrowing” your Dad’s six pack to slamming solo cup after solo cup of college keg beer to graduating from bourbon and Coke to the finer things in life, enjoying a proper single malt scotch or small batch bourbon on a Friday evening proves you’ve grown out of the nonsense and into adulthood.

We can only hope that alongside your decision to ditch the Jack Daniels for something a bit more refined you’ve upped the collection of glassware to house these delightful drams as well, ridding the cabinet of your vacation shot glasses and plastic cups. A fine whiskey deserves a fine vessel that opens the banquet, allows for easy sipping, and moves you beyond the binge-drinking-infused blackouts of college. So if you’re wondering where to start in this venture, pull up a seat and pour yourself a drink out of your beginner’s cup for the last time. We’ve put together a list of the 20 best whiskey glasses that not only get the job done correctly but look damn good while they do it. I mean, isn’t that the essence the growing up anyway?

The Experience Neat Whiskey Glass

THE EXPERIENCE NEAT WHISKEY GLASS

Here’s one of the more unique glass shapes you’ll encounter. The Neat Whiskey Glass is lead-free and its shape helps eliminate nose burn from those harsher variants, allowing for an unadulterated tasting experience (hence the name). No wonder they’re recommended by connoisseurs.

PURCHASE: $14

Glencarin Crystal Canadian Whiskey Glass

GLENCAIRN CRYSTAL CANADIAN WHISKEY GLASS

Here’s a quality glass designed for those who thought Canadian whiskey didn’t deserve its own specific vessel. It features a wide bowl for a full appreciation of the blended whiskey’s unique color and a solid base that’s designed to be easy on the hand since you’re more than likely to have an additional dram from this handsome piece.

PURCHASE: $15

Sagaform Rocking Whiskey Glasses

SAGAFORM ROCKING WHISKEY GLASSES

Suited to let you rock out after clocking out of the daily grind, each set of six rocking whiskey classes holds just under seven ounces of your favorites brand, build from thick glass to prevent breakage, and were developed by Swedish designer Roger Persson who ensures that even though they rock, they won’t roll over.

PURCHASE: $19

Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Glass

GLENCAIRN CRYSTAL WHISKEY GLASS

Built for tasting just under seven ounces of your favorite whiskey, the tapering mouth allows for easy sipping while the drinker captures the rich aromas from their favorite brand. Additionally, its wide bowl enables light to hit the whiskey at all angles, setting off its color in full force.

PURCHASE: $23

On The Rock Glass With Ice Ball Maker

ON THE ROCK GLASS WITH ICE BALL MAKER

For those who like their whiskey on the chilled side, this rocks glass is the perfect option. Each set comes with a silicone mold that, when filled and frozen, forms a single solid ice ball that outlasts regular ice cubes. The glass itself also features a shape conducive for the ice ball, allowing the sipper to swirl with ease minus the worry of spillover.

PURCHASE: $24

Corkcicle Whiskey Wedge

CORKCICLE WHISKEY WEDGE

The warm whiskey burn can end up deterring many from enjoying one of the world’s finest spirits. Here’s a fantastic solution to that obstacle. The Whiskey Wedge is an artful way to chill but not water down the dram, as the wedge is designed to melt at a much lower pace than floating ice cubes.

PURCHASE: $26

Waldorf “Men’s Bar” Crystal Whiskey Glasses

WALDORF “MEN’S BAR” CRYSTAL WHISKEY GLASSES

No secrets here. Just a classic set of handsome whiskey glasses that are sure to bring the wet bar to new heights. They’re designed with stemware in mind from the Old Waldorf Hotel’s legendary Men-Only Bar and crafted from nearly one pound of lead-free crystal, holding up to nine fluid ounces.

PURCHASE: $36

Orrefors ‘Intermezzo’ Old-Fashioned Glass

ORREFORS ‘INTERMEZZO’ OLD-FASHIONED GLASS

Truly one-of-a-kind, each Intermezzo glass features a drop of color in the stem that distinguishes the glass from anything else you’re ever encountered. It’s made from crystal, is dishwasher safe, and designed by Erika Lagerbielke; add a touch of modern to the bar.

PURCHASE: $46

Riedel VINUM Whiskey Glasses

RIEDEL VINUM WHISKEY GLASSES

World-famous glassmakers produce this fine whiskey vessel that’s made of 24 percent lead crystal for enhanced clarity, a capacity of seven ounces, and features a short stem and elongated thistle-shaped body in order to enhance the characteristics of the whiskey for every drinker’s enjoyment.

PURCHASE: $46

Matterhorn Glasses

MATTERHORN GLASS

If you’re more of a dreamer than a doer check out these Matterhorn glasses inspired by the famous mountain in the Alps. Each glass is crafted out of crystal and looks quite impressive when filled with a dram of your favorite whiskey. And while you may never actually hike the famed mountain, at least now you can admire it from afar.

PURCHASE: $47

Schott Zwiesel Titan Crystal Glass Paris Barware Collection

SCHOTT ZWIESEL TITAN CRYSTAL GLASS

Time to bust our the aromatic bitters and the sugar. Each of these Old Fashioned-style glasses boasts a 9.5-ounce capacity and are made from Tritan crystal glass that resists breakage, chipping, and scratching. They’re completely dishwasher safe and won’t cloud or discolor as their life wears on.

PURCHASE: $48

Norlan Glass

NORLAN GLASS

Get your hands on this glass that was just given the green light for production after a successful Kickstarter campaign. It’s a transparent, double-walled sipping vessel formed from a specific glass-blowing technique. The Norlan weighs in at 125 grams and features a faceted base to eliminate fingerprints on the bowl.

PURCHASE: $48

Dorset Double Old Fashioned Glasses

DORSET DOUBLE OLD FASHIONED GLASSES

Getting its name from the photogenic county on England’ southern coastline, each Dorset Double is composed of lead-crystal and reflects light in all directions thanks to the hand-cut fluting on the side of the glass. Pick up a set of these and any cocktail or dram will be presented in a fantastic manner.

PURCHASE: $58+

iittala Ultima Thule

IITTALA ULTIMA THULE

Classy. That’s the one adjective that comes to mind at first glance. Its design produces a more translucent appearance for the glass and even though they may look too delicate to wash after consumption, you’ll be please to know each piece is dishwasher safe.

PURCHASE: $60

iittala Aarne Double Old Fashioned Glass

IITTALA AARNE DOUBLE OLD FASHIONED GLASS

Looking a bit like a shot glass rather and your typical Old Fashioned, the wide mouth facilitates a fuller sip capacity without any drip and the whole piece is made from mouth-blown glass, designed by Goran Hongell. Its mid-century design is one of elegance and simplicity, marrying it well with any number of fine whiskeys.

PURCHASE: $65

Library Hand-Cut Double Old Fashioned Glass

LIBRARY HAND-CUT DOUBLE OLD FASHIONED GLASS

Suited for a cool winter’s night next to a warm fireplace, the rough-hewn glass makes this vessel a fantastic addition to your wet bar. It’s crafted from molded blown soda glass, boasts a hand-cut design, and comes in a set of six that also includes a shot glass, highball, wine glass, flute, and martini glass as well.

PURCHASE: $72+

Ox Horn Double Old Fashioned Whiskey Tumbler

OX HORN DOUBLE OLD FASHIONED WHISKEY TUMBLER

If you’re not satisfied with drinking an after-hours pour out of glass then look to this Ox Horn built tumbler. Built from ethically-sourced horns, it hosts 10 ounces of capacity, is polished to a bright finish, and handmade in England. Easily a more macho option for those whiskey drinkers out there.

PURCHASE: $120

Blade Runner Whiskey Glasses

BLADE RUNNER WHISKEY GLASSES

If Harrison Ford drank whiskey, which we’re sure he does, he would certainly own a pair of these Blade Runner glasses. They feature a square design with diagonal cuts at the angles and were modeled after the exact same tumblers used by Deckard himself in the movie.

PURCHASE: $142

Waterford Mad Men Double Old Fashioned Glasses

WATERFORD MAD MEN DOUBLE OLD FASHIONED GLASSES

Honor the age when it was okay to start sipping once you arrived at work in the morning and not having a decanter full of bourbon in the office was sacrilege. These old fashioned glasses honor the mid-century lifestyle of Madison Avenue’s most influential ad executives. Each glass is deep cut and the heft of the crystal is obvious with each sip.

PURCHASE: $175

The Lowball Machined Whiskey Tumbler

THE LOWBALL MACHINED WHISKEY TUMBLER

As a hard working individual you appreciate the time and effort it takes to get something done correctly. The Lowball was conceived with this notion in mind and is crafted for that special moment when the day is done. The interior features CNC Lathe contours to create a perfect hourglass snifter profile and the tumbler boasts optimized geometry so it fits perfectly in your hand.

Pelican’s Elite Soft Cooler

This has been the summer of the cooler. Brands that once did nothing more than make iPhone cases or water bottles have up and launched their own line of line of products. All the while, companies that made their name by producing high quality coolers have upped the ante with products like Pelican’s Elite Soft Cooler.

More than looking super cool, this beast of a soft cooler can hold 24 cans (there is a smaller version that holds 12) on ice for up to 48 hours. In large part, this is due to Pelican’s special closed-cell foam insulation. That technology combined with the tough and durable double-coated TPU outer fabric makes the cooler about half as heavy as the leading coolers on the market today. And to top it all off, this leak-proof box-of-fun comes with FDA approved food grade liner and a 3-year warranty. Summer might be coming to a close but the good times are just getting started.

Hub BBQ Grill

If you’re going to ask anyone to design a grill, it only makes sense to start with a multiple Michelin-starred chef like Heston Blumenthal. Blumenthal teamed up with Australian manufacturer Shriro, makers of the Everdure line of products, for the Everdure by Heston Blumenthal line. While the entire line is prettier than almost any other options on the market, the one you’re really going to want on the patio or the deck is the Hub. The “ultimate charcoal experience” removes the need for a lighter or fuel with the integrated Fast Flame Ignition System that uses an electric element to get your charcoal to just the right temperature within 10 minutes. If you’re looking to expand your meal from the more traditional or even unconventional grill food, the Hub also has a retractable, commercial-grade rotisserie for whole chickens or suckling pigs. In addition to those more note-worthy innovations there are small details like extended grate handles that lift from the outside without you having to move them with tools. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s just a gorgeous looking piece of equipment.

The Delta Prime Fidget Spinner Opens Your Beer

Pangea Designs, makers of the awesome Beertop Delta Spinning Top Bottle Opener, are back on Kickstarter with a new project designed to satisfy both your fidgeting and bottle opening needs. The Delta Prime fidget spinner opens your beer, will keep you entertained for hours and also works as a 1/4″ wrench. It’s a compact, keychain-sized piece of EDC that also happens to be endlessly amusing. So why spend more than fifty bucks on a fidget spinner when you can pick up a dozen from China for a buck? Because quality is the name of the game when it comes to everything from Pangea Designs, and that’s no different when you’re talking about the Delta Prime. It’s CNC-machined from a solid billet of stainless to guarantee it will be spinning long after the craze ends and, more importantly, you won’t have to worry about your fidgeting habit leading to lead poisoning.

Toto Is a Combination Grill and Oven

From renowned manufacturer Alfa 1977 comes the aptly named Toto Grilloven, a combination outdoor grill and oven that puts their four decades of oven and BBQ manufacturing experience front and center. On the left side of the Grilloven you’ll instantly recognize the familiar shape of an outdoor pizza oven capable of cooking your favorite Neapolitan style pies in minutes. On the right side you’ll find a 23″ x 23″ cooking top with grills, grates and even an open section on the cook deck if you want to throw something together in a wok. The grill burner for starting the grill is designed to work with both wood and charcoal, so you’re free to experiment with different flavors and techniques. The cooking features are the most important aspects of the grill, but it doesn’t hurt that it’s also one of the prettiest grills we’ve ever seen. The Toto Grilloven is available with two different paint jobs: a monochromatic gray color scheme throughout or with a pop of blue on the oven and yellow on the grill.

The Hendrick’s Cocktail Garnisher

The fresh flavor of cucumber makes an ideal garnish for many gin-based drinks. Hendrick’s Cocktail Garnisher lets you ready a bar-full of slices at once. Just mount cucumbers on both sides and start turning the central crank – it will cut two at a time, at the perfect 1/8″ thickness for hanging on the rim of the glass or floating in your drink. Designed by Hendrick’s Gin and made by hand.

Otterbox Is Now Making Growlers

Otterbox, one of the world’s most trusted phone protection and accessories companies, got their start in the ’90s making water resistant boxes for the outdoors. You can finally carry your beer with the same level of protection you have for your phone because Otterbox is now making growlers. The brand is returning to their roots with a line of rugged outdoor gear, but our favorite piece is obviously the new Otterbox Elevation 64 Growler. If you hadn’t already guessed based on the name, the rugged stainless growler holds up to 64 ounces of whatever liquid you want to put inside. Since you’re probably going to be using it for beer instead of coffee or water, it’s also worth noting that the vacuum sealed growler has an interior copper lining specifically built for superior cooling capability. Will it hold enough beer for an entire weekend trek? Doubtful. But it will keep four pints cold for longer than you’ll be able to resist drinking them.

The Dry Ager Dry Aging Fridge

That delicious cut you had last time you visited your favorite steakhouse? It was most likely dry aged. Now you can get the same delectable results at home with the Dry Ager Dry Aging Fridge. It combines precise temperature, humidity, and airflow control to ensure proper aging, while an active carbon filter and ventilated disinfection system sterilize the air every minute and keep germs and bacteria at bay. Built entirely in Germany, it comes in two sizes to handle up to 44 or 220 pounds of meat at a time.