A Guide to Bartenders’ Tools
A bartender will always be at a lost without his equipment – his jigger, shaker and bar spoon. Most bartenders have their own personalized kits that are their prized possessions. You do not have to go so far as to getting them personalized or detailed but if you are an enthusiast, these pieces are a must for the bar.
This is one of the most basic pieces of equipment for a bar. There are two variants of a shaker:
Boston Shaker – This is a 2 piece shaker, where one side is metallic and the other glass. You pour your ingredients in the glass cover it with the metallic tin and shake it. The two pieces are stuck together because of a vacuum created within. When you are through with the shaking, the drink should be in the metal tin, use a strainer to pour it into the glass. This is the preferred shaker amongst professionals because you can use the attachments separately on their own as well. Find it on Amazon India for Rs 2539.
Cocktail Shaker– This shaker is completely made of metal or stainless steel and has a strainer attached to it. It often has 3 parts to it, the main tin, the cover with the strainer and the lid for the strainer. Pour all your ingredients in the main tin, remove the strainer cover before fixing the main cover on the tin, place it the last. Otherwise you will create a vacuum which will make it very difficult to open the shaker. Zansaar offers a stainless steel shaker for Rs 2033.
A shaker is where the magic truly comes together – fill up the shaker with ice, spirits and liqueurs of your preference, close the shaker and give it a nice, quick shake. You need to be careful as to how much you shake your drink as well.
Two hollowed cones attached to each other which looks like an hour glass and is used to measure out spirits for your cocktail is a jigger. The larger cone ideally would hold 1.5 ounce while the smaller one holds ¾ – 1 ounce. Jigger allows you to pour exact measures of spirits which when it comes to expensive alcohol is preferable. If you find bartender free pouring alcohol in drinks, know this that they have far more experience and are trained to gauge the amount they pour. Snapdeal has a set of three jiggers for Rs 1473.
Not all cocktails are meant to be served on ice, some are chilled enough to stand on their own. This is where strainer comes into play. Strainers keep ice, fruit pieces and stray seeds getting into the final drink. There are 2 types of strainers.
Hawthorne – is a metal disc with holes in them and a metal spring on the circumference on the underside. It also has prongs and a handle which helps balance the strainer when placed on the mouth of the shaker while pouring your drink. It was originally used to pour drinks from a metal tin. Purchase a Hawthorne strainer from Amazon India for Rs 1283.
Julep – looks like a miniature version of a colander with its bowl and holes. Essentially it does the same thing as the Hawthorne strainer but in glass shaker. Place the strainer convex side outside at the mouth of the glass and pour the drink. A julep strainer costs Rs 1129 on Amazon India.
To doubly ensure that you do not have any unnecessary and stray bits and pieces in your cocktail you can use a fine mesh strainer as well; this is basically just a tea strainer that every Indian household has.
There is nothing different in a bar spoon and regular spoon except that the stem of a bar spoon is really long and the spoon bowl is slightly. This is of course so that the spoon fits into a shaker or mixing glass without your hand coming in the way. The stem is also often spiraled making it easier to stir the drink. The small spoon bowl also makes it convenient for you to layer drinks. Pick up this fork tip bar spoon from Amazon India for Rs 285.
A muddler muddles. When ingredients like fruits, spices, sugars and herbs are used, muddling helps extract oils and flavors from them before any of the spirits are poured in. Old Fashioned and Mojito are examples where a muddler comes in handy. They can be made of wood, stainless steel or plastic, they are also thick and tall. A classy wooden muddler on Zansaar costs Rs 1159.
No cocktail is complete without ice either in the drink or to chill. An ice bucket is an imperative in a bar in such a case. Today, there are a variety of ice buckets available which promise low or slow melting of ice. Pick up an affordable ice bucket from FabFurnish for Rs 837.
Bottle Opener and Corkscrew
A bottle opener and corkscrew are oft forgotten elements of a bar, perhaps because of their stature. You really don’t want to look for innovative ways to open a bottle of beer or wine bottle. These should be the first things in your bar.