Bar Tool Basics


Jigger- These little guys are here to ensure accuracy and consistency in cocktails. When you see a Bartender using these they are not being cheap or trying make you a “weak” drink, they are actually ensuring your cocktail is created to specifications that considered balance and flavor. Jiggers are essential in creating consistency and (especially for the home Bartender) professional caliber cocktails.



Barspoon- The Barspoon is used for stirring and can sometimes also be used to measure ingredients like sugar, bitters, syrups and spirits. The basic rule of thumb is that when a cocktail is composed of mainly spirits it should be stirred (the Martini, the Vesper, the Manhattan etc.). The advantage of stirring is that it reduces the dilution but still allows you to chill your cocktail. When stirring a cocktail add all ingredients to the glass, add ice up to a little over a third full, insert spoon head on the side of the glass, start stirring, as the ice starts spinning lower the spoon to the bottom all while still keeping up the stir. Continue until you get the desired temperature and dilution.


Citrus Press- This is a pretty basic tool and is essential in creating quality, professional caliber cocktails. There simply is no substitute for fresh juice. Lemon, lime, grapefruit, watermelon, pretty much whatever you wanna squeeze with this thing will always be better than buying it pre made. Pineapple and tomato are a safe bet to buy pre-made.


Muddler- This is used for extracting oils and juices from various fruits and herbs. The Muddler is another essential tool to have on hand for the pros and the home bartender. Simply hold the Muddler, insert into your mixing glass and press down firmly on your ingredient and give a few turns and it should be muddled without being ground down to oblivion. Each ingredient may require more or less of an effort but remember your goal is to extract the oils, juices or in some cases simply to blend sugars so don’t over do it.



Boston Shaker- Here is the Chef’s knife of bartending. The Boston Shaker consists of a tempered pint glass and a tin. It is used for blending, shaking, and stirring (stirred cocktails are stirred in the glass portion). There are multiple types of Boston Shakers with various types and compartments…forget those. Stick to the glass and tin combo, its more versatile. If you do have trouble with creating the seal (inserting the mixing glass portion into the tin to create a seal that allows you to shake) feel free to purchase the three piece shaker tin that will come with a little cap.


Hawthorne Strainer- This tool is designed to fit on the top of the tin portion of the Boston Shaker (it can also fit the glass portion in the case of stirred cocktails) and strain the ice out of your freshly shaken cocktail. There is also the julep strainer (not pictured) that is designed to fit the glass. You can get one if you want but it’s really not necessary.

Double-Strainer- Muddled some raspberries and wanna keep all the seeds and fruit particles out of your drink? Use the Double-Strainer. This is also used to keep pulp out of your freshly squeezed juice. Its called a Double-Strainer because you are straining it twice, once through the Hawthorne Strainer (or the Citrus Press in the case of juicing) and once though the Double-Strainer. This is also called a Tea Strainer in stores sometimes.


Where to shop? You can pick up bar tool at a number of different places like,, or or you can go to Bed Bath and Beyond, Williams-Sonoma, even better check out your local restaurant supply store.


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