Bar tools are essential equipment used in home bars and professional bars for preparing and serving drinks, from beer and wine to mixed cocktails. These tools help bartenders create beverages quickly and with greater accuracy, which is important for both taste and presentation.
The best bar tools come in a variety of shapes, sizes, materials, and styles. Some basic bar tools that every home bar should have include glassware, bottle openers & corkscrews, cocktail shakers & strainers, muddlers & jiggers, ice buckets & tongs, stirrers, and garnish trays.
Essential Bar Tools
Glassware is the cornerstone of any bar setup. Different types of glasses are used to serve different kinds of drinks based on their shape, size, and design— ranging from shot glasses to Collins glasses to flutes specifically designed for champagne or sparkling wines.
In addition to having the right kind of glasses available at home bars, it’s important to stock up on enough glasses so that you’re not running out during parties or get-togethers. Benefiting from stocking the right glassware in your home bar includes being able to better impress guests with an impressive selection of the correct type of glass for each occasion as well as to properly aerate wines when appropriate.
Bottle Openers & Corkscrews
Having a reliable bottle opener or corkscrew on hand is essential for serving beers and wines at your home bar. Bottle openers come in a variety of designs, from wall-mounted ones all the way down to keychain varieties that fit conveniently on a keyring or lanyard.
Similarly, with corkscrews, there are various types available, including lever-style ones as well as more traditional two-step screw-pulls, which leverage two prongs into the cork before turning the handle counterclockwise to remove it without breaking it apart.
When selecting a bottle opener or corkscrew, it’s important to consider what type would best suit your needs and lifestyle – if you plan on having friends over frequently, then something like a wall-mounted opener might make opening bottles easier; if you prefer portability, however, then something like a keychain version may be best.
Cocktail Shakers & Strainers
When making cocktails at home bars, it’s important to have quality cocktail shakers and strainers available; this allows you to create delicious drinks with accurate measurements – but with minimal effort.
There are many three major types when it comes to cocktail shakers, from classic three-piece shaker sets (also known as cobbler shakers) – which have a built-in strainer – to the more modern model of Boston Shakers, which feature two tin cups that fit together.
Depending on personal preference, one can choose between stainless steel options or even copper-plated versions, which provide an attractive aesthetic.
For strainers, there are 3 main types to strain out unwanted ice, fruit pulp, and other solids from cocktails and other mixed drinks:
- Hawthorne strainer, which has a circular frame that fits over a cocktail shaker or mixing glass and a spring coil that sits inside the frame to allow liquid to pass through while catching any solids
- Fine mesh strainer, which has a conical shape with a handle and is made of a metal mesh material with a fine mesh pattern that allows liquids to pass through while catching any small particles
- Julep strainer, which features a shallow bowl with a round or oval shape and perforated holes, allowing liquid to pass through while catching any unwanted solids when straining from a mixing glass
Muddlers & Jiggers
Muddlers are long-handled sticks typically crafted from wood or plastic, and they’re essential for crushing fresh ingredients such as fruit, herbs, sugar cubes, and spices within mixed drinks. They’re typically used in a pestle-type motion to press out the most flavor possible from ingredients.
Meanwhile, another imperative tool, the jigger measures out the exact amounts of alcohol needed in order to create a properly-balanced drink. They usually feature 2 cups, one on each side, and measure from 1/2 ounce to up to 2 ounces, with markings to show each measurement.
Both muddlers jiggers offer distinct advantages when using them at home. They ensure your ability to make balanced, well-made cocktails with the perfect amount of ingredients.
Other Essential Bar Tools
In addition to glassware, openers, corkscrews, muddlers, and jiggers, there are a few other items that may be considered essential parts of the home bar setup. These include ice buckets, tongs, stirrers, and garnish trays.
Ice buckets, typically crafted from robust plastic or stainless steel, are often equipped with several predetermined compartments, which can help dispense ice cubes rapidly and efficiently; they’re often matched with ice tongs. This time-saving action is particularly recommended for larger events where demand is consistently high throughout the night.
Stirring devices are another simple, yet often overlooked, tool that is essential to ensure the ingredients are uniformly and evenly distributed during the mixing process, giving a consistent flavor to each pouring.
These usually consist of thin metal rods with handles on one end, featuring a pointed tip on the opposite side; such stirring utensils – known as bar spoons – are specifically designed to blend cocktails but also to pick up any fruit that may be floating at the top of juleps or teas.
Lastly, garnish trays and mats come in an extensive array of shapes and materials, oftentimes being made out of rubber or silicone with non-stick surfaces containing various grooves and dips designed to securely hold citrus fruits or other decorative items.
Bar tools are an important aspect of preparing and serving drinks in both home bars and professional bars. These tools range from essential items such as glassware, bottle openers and corkscrews, cocktail shakers, strainers, muddlers, and jiggers to additional accessories like ice buckets and tongs, stirrers, and garnish trays.
The right bar tools are essential for ensuring a smooth and efficient preparation process, accurate measurements, and presentation of drinks, leading to a better taste and overall drinking experience.