If you want to make the best drinks, you have to use the best ingredients. The freshest fruit, the best liquor, the purest water – all matter towards making a great cocktail. But of equal importance are the tools you use to make these drinks. Here are the top 5 tools every bartender should have in his kit.
1) Stainless Steel Shaker
Without a doubt, the most important tool in a bartender’s kit is the cocktail shaker. Ideally at least 18 0z in size, this vessel is the base for every cocktail you will make. Ensure that it is of quality material and has a solid seal around the top so that when you shake it, nothing leaks out.
2) A Quality Strainer
While it is not uncommon to have a shaker with a strainer on top, to really kick your bartending game up a notch go ahead a pick up a cocktail strainer. This will undoubtedly filter far better than the few metal holes at the top of the cocktail shaker and will ensure no large chunks of ice, fruit or any other ingredient slip out into your glass ruining the drink.
After the cocktail shaker, the most crucial tool to have as a bartender is a jigger. Ensure that it is a double sided one with a ½ oz. and a 1 ½ oz. side. And if you really want to be a pro, go ahead and pick up a 1 0z and 2 oz. one as well. While there are those who think they can just eyeball out a shot and that’s good enough, just stop. While yes you can probably pour about an ounce of liquor over some ice to drink, it is quite a different task when crafting a cocktail. Proportions matter. If you were baking you wouldn’t just randomly throw flower into the bowl and guess it to be about right would you? It is no different here. Pull out the jiggers, measure out the ingredients and you will surely taste the difference.
When you really start to get serious about your cocktails, you will want to get yourself a muddler. Whether you’re making mojitos, old fashions or any other drink, a muddler can really make the difference. If you’ve ever had a drink with a fruit peel in it you can taste when the bartender took the time to release the flavors or when he simply plopped a peel into the glass. Don’t be the lazy bar keep and go that extra step.
5) Ice Tongs
Finally, get yourself a pair of ice tongs. This isn’t college any more. You don’t know all the people sitting at your bar. They don’t want your hands all over the ice getting your sweat into their drinks. Get a nice pair of ice tongs so you can look and act the part. It’s cleaner, heathier and really just looks far cooler.