How well-equipped is your home bar? One of the reasons that people like to get drinks out is that bartenders in well-stocked bars have all the tools that they need to make any drink you’d like is because they have the tools to do so. Drinks tend to taste their best when they are properly mixed – and it is easier and less frustrating to make them with the right equipment. Fortunately, there are only a few tools that you absolutely must have to set up a good home bar:
Jigger – A jigger is a two sided metal cup used to measure out liquid, specifically spirits, and it is crucial in mixing drinks, since getting those measurements accurate means that your drinks will taste better. On a standard jigger, the larger side measures 1 1/2 oz and the smaller side, called a pony, measures 1 oz. Jiggers come in different sizes so make sure you start with the standard as your foundation.
Boston Shaker – This is one thing you use all the time when mixing drinks. The two piece shaker has a 26-28 oz mixing tin and a 16 oz mixing glass. It’s used for shaking, stirring and pouring drinks and is just the right size to give you the perfect mix and make you look professional while you’re doing it.
Hawthorn Strainer – Hawthorn strainers have a coiled spring-like wire that allows it to sit snugly onto the top of the mixing tin of your Boston shaker. It is meant to remove any shards of ice that are in the shaker after a hard shake. Drinks that are shaken with ice should always be strained through the Hawthorn strainer for a clean, splash-free pour.
Julep Strainer – A Julep strainer is used to strain stirred drinks from a mixing glass, unlike the Hawthorn strainer that is used with the mixing tin. The Julep strainer has a concave shape that is made to fit in the mixing glass and has no spring. It is used to strain out ingredients that have been muddled into the bottom of a mixing glass, like mint or basil.
Bar Soon – Bar spoons have long handles and are used for stirring drinks. It is not uncommon to find spoons fitted at one end with an ice pick, disk for muddling, or a small hammer for breaking up ice. The spoon or bowl measures a tea-spoon (5 ml), which makes it easy to measure small amounts of ingredients you might need to add to a drink. The back of the spoon can be used for layering drinks.
Muddler – A muddler is used to extract flavors and aromas from fruit, vegetables, spices, and herbs by way of crushing and grinding. The small, flat head is perfect for getting into the corners of a mixing glass and it can easily crush ingredients without chopping them into small pieces.