They say that a bad worker always blames their tools but we’re quite confident Frida Kahlo couldn’t have painted her self-portraits quite so strikingly using only her fingers.
The same could be said for mixologists. Without the correct cocktail equipment, bartenders would be blending beverages by stirring the ingredients together with a spoon...and believe us when we say that this won’t produce a memorable drink!
Of course, as with many hobbies and pursuits, bartenders can have a vast array of perplexing tools but if you’ve been mixing drinks long enough then you’ll realise that the majority of cocktails only require a few basic pieces of equipment.
Here are the 10 essential cocktail tools that every mixologist should own if they want to master the art of cocktail making:
1. Multi-Measure Jigger
Mixology is a science and, unless you’ve acquired the skill of pouring precise measurements by eye, you’re going to need some spirit measures. The Mezclar Preciso Jigger is made from stainless steel and is double-ended. It has 5ml markings on the 25ml side and 10ml markings on the 50ml side, providing you with multiple measurement opportunities.
2. Weighted Shakers
You could probably mix your cocktails in a plastic bottle. You could also whisk your aquafaba with a fork but it’s easier and more efficient to whip it up with an electric stand mixer. In the same way, why not use a cocktail shaker to shake your cocktail since it’s inexpensive and the perfect piece of cocktail equipment for the job?
The Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins are less than £15 and are made from durable stainless steel so they look professional and are easy to clean. They also have weighted bases, allowing you to practice your flair skills.
3. Bar Spoon
You could argue that it’s possible to use a normal kitchen spoon to mix cocktails that need to be stirred rather than shaken but a bar spoon is actually essential cocktail equipment. Why? Because kitchen spoons tend to be too bulky and bar spoons are long and narrow so can be used to stir even the most delicate of cocktails, such as those made in martini or champagne glasses.
The Bonzer Bar Spoon can be used to stir and even muddle drinks, due to its flat head.
4. Mixing Glass
For those cocktails that require stirring, a mixing glass is an essential piece of equipment. The Utopia Empire mixing glasses are beautifully designed to add a touch of class to any bar or home mixology station. Plus, they come with a useful pouring lip to reduce mess.
5. Hawthorne Strainer
Hawthorne strainers are a handy bar tool designed to fit the circumference of a two-piece shaker (like the one referenced above), with a spring to catch any pesky ice or fruit particles created from the shaking process. Bonzer’s Hawthorne Strainer comes with 2 devil ears to rest ontop of the shaker or mixing glass.
6. Fine Strainer
Similar to a sieve but designed for cocktails, the fine strainer is a great tool for straining out pith and pips from fruity beverages. The slightly larger holes mean that you won’t be standing there for ages watching the liquid pass through painfully slowly.
7. Julep Strainer
So many strainers! Are they all necessary? Originally created to help drinkers consume their Mint Juleps without getting ice and mint all over their moustaches, the Julep strainer has evolved into an invaluable bartender tool. It fits perfectly inside mixing glasses and pint glasses!
8. Small Knife
Simple but necessary cocktail equipment, a small knife can be used to cut lemon slices, carve citrus twists, or crush and cut herbs and spices.
The Overlord 3.5” Paring Knife can be used for everything from garnishing to peeling, trimming, chopping, and cutting.
9. Spice Grater
Spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon are great final flourishes for incredible cocktails and fresh always imparts more flavour. Therefore, a spice grater with coarse holes is an essential piece of kit for any serious bartender.
To release the flavours of fruits, herbs, and spices, one could simply use a blunt ended rolling pin but if you’re using a dipper well then it will constantly get soaked in water. Consequently, professional cocktail equipment made from stainless steel or plastic is the better choice. This Bonzer 10” Muddler is perfect for bruising leaves and other cocktail ingredients rather than tearing them.
11. Cocktail Books
Despite the fact that making killer cocktails is a practical vocation, the majority of bartenders and master mixologists have experienced growth and progression through reading a good cocktail book. We recommend these incredible cocktail books written by Black authors.
Whether you are making your favourite cocktail, or whipping up a non alcoholic drink, we hope you enjoy using this equipment as much as us!