The 21 Essential Tools Every Bartender Should Know
Whether you’re new to the trade or a seasoned bartender, this list of top bartender tools can help to make sure you’re ready for anything. Be sure to also read on how to become a cocktail bartender.
A cocktail shaker
Potentially the most important tool in a cocktail bartender’s arsenal, a cocktail shaker is a metal receptacle used to mix any key ingredients. This can include fruits, eggs, herbs, syrups as well as the spirit itself. Cocktail shakers allow you to seamlessly blend and integrate all the cocktail ingredients.
There are three main cocktail shakers the are most commonly used by bartenders and mixologists regularly.
This three-piece shaker consists of a shaker, lid and cap to cover the strainer. Cobbler shakers are a good idea for those less familiar with cocktail craft, as you need less skill.
This two-piece tool uses two stainless steel mixing cups, one slightly smaller than the other. Some versions use one steel shaker tin, with the smaller cup made of glass.
This allows mixologists and bartenders to make a watertight seal, allowing you to thoroughly shake the cocktail to blend the ingredients properly.
This shaker requires a little extra care to ensure no liquid is lost. There isn’t an integrated strainer, so more skill is required.
French shakers are similar to the cobbler shaker but are missing the strainer. Parisian shakers are usually more stylish and more expensive than cobbler shakers. You will likely need an additional strainer to complete the cocktail.
A muddler is another essential bartender tool, allowing you to muddle and mix together fruits, herbs, berries and any other ingredients for your cocktail.
A muddler allows you to blend the ingredients without damaging the ingredients if necessary. Similarly, for some ingredients, muddlers can be used with more force and pressure for the desired consistency.
A jigger is a cocktail tool, usually consisting of a stainless steel measuring cup. This ensures the exact measurements can be used when creating the cocktail, an essential element to ensure the cocktail is just right. They’re one of the most important tools that every bartender should have to hand.
A bar spoon is another handy bartender tool that helps to mix and layer spirits with ease. From the flat end, to the spiralled handle, every element of a bar spoon considers how to get the best blended cocktail possible.
Its long length enables you to mix and sir right to the bottom of even the tallest and slimmest of cocktail glasses.
Stir spoons are a more delicate tool that’s used to simply stir the cocktail as opposed to blending or mixing. It’s another very important part of the cocktail making process and is a final touch to make sure the cocktail is silky smooth.
Bar spoons and stirring spoons are always made from stainless steel, making them durable and easy to clean, without affecting the flavour.
Cocktail strainers are another essential bartending tool. A little like a sieve, they allow a liquid cocktail mix or blended ingredients to pour through while any pulp or leftover ice is left behind.
There are three main types of cocktail strainer mainly used in bartending; the Hawthorne Strainer, the Fine Mesh Strainer and the Julep Strainer. You can read more about these as well as learn everything you need to know about cocktail strainers in our guide to using a cocktail strainer.
A mixing glass is a glass or metal container that’s used to chill cocktail drinks. This is usually done with a spoon, ice and through straining the drinks.
Speed Opener (Bar Blade)
Also known as a bar blade, flat, popper, mamba or church-key, a speed opener is a handy tool to easily remove bottle caps from beer bottles.
A wine key is similar to a pocket knife, but designed for bartenders! Complete with a knife, corkscrew and bottle opener, it’s the perfect bartender tool for those on the go who need to open bottles of wine at a moment’s notice.
You can’t forget about preparing the ingredients! That’s why a paring knife makes this list – from slicing apples to preparing lemon wedges and preparing lemon zest, this three-inch paring knife allows you to prepare and prep neatly to make the most aesthetic cocktail possible.
Ice tongs and scoop
Some cocktails wouldn’t be the same without ice! A pair of ice tongs and an ice scoop are essential for the preparation and presentation of class A cocktails that require to be extra chilled when served.
Used for adding the most delicate of garnishes, like edible flowers, to your cocktail.
Known for its shape, a Y peeler is a sharp stainless steel blade, perfect for peeling skins off vegetables and fruit for decorative garnishes. Designed for a neat finish, it’s a handy tool to have on hand for the more decorative cocktails.
Lewis Ice Bag
A lewis ice bag is a high-quality canvas bag used to make crushed ice. The canvas material absorbs any excess moisture, leaving you with fresh crushed ice perfect for cocktail curation.
A juicer is essential for getting freshly squeezed juice for your cocktail. Also called a lemon squeezer or a citrus squeezer, the levered design and hinged bowl allow you to extract juice effortlessly.
Absinthe spoons allow you to dissolve sugar into a glass of absinthe. You can easily rest the spoon on a rim of a glass, so you can gradually dissolve the sugar cube to achieve its desired effect.
A grater will be needed for garnishes such as grated chocolate, cinnamon, and orange skins. It allows you to extract flavour quickly and finish off your cocktails to a high quality. With ornamental and artistic touches.
Pour spouts AKA Speed Pourer
Pour spouts are detachable spouts that can easily be added to a bottle to assist with accurate, spillage free pouring. It helps avoid over-pouring and for flair bartenders, it can allow a little more drama into every pour. Bartenders use bar spouts regularly to help with speed, accuracy, and efficiency.
Ah-So Corkscrew/ Butler’s friend
This device which goes by a few names will indeed be a butler’s best friend, (or bartender’s best friend, for that matter) when it comes to opening older wine bottles. Older corkscrews can be brittle, dry, and fragile, and this opener allows you to apply more pressure with prongs attached to ease the cork removal.
A great tool for serving wine or champagne by the glass, you can use this to avoid compromising the drink once it’s been opened. A champagne stopper allows you to keep a bottle of champagne fresh and fizzy once it’s been opened, and keeps wine fresh too.
As well as the essential tools, a bartender also needs to have confidence in the list of key bartender skills.
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These essential tools will help you craft the perfect cocktail time after time. If you are ready to take your learning further, check out these online bartending classes. Be sure to keep up with any latest trends such as the edible cocktail bubble.