Monday, January 16, 2017

Bar Gear the Pros Use

First, a note:

There's no hard and fast rules when it comes to bar tools.  Cocktail Kingdom tends to be the preferred brand for most cocktail bars, but there certainly are outliers.  Oxo makes a fantastic citrus peeler, Bulldog pint glasses married with a large shaker tin are classic, and sometimes the best looking barware comes from thrift stores and vintage kitchen shops.

That being said - these are some of the most widely used tools in the business.  And you know if professional barkeeps are using them everyday, that's a testimonial on just how well-made this gear is.

The Leopold Jigger

A common site in most high-end cocktail bars, this extraordinarily well-made jigger is a must have for any home bar where accuracy is important.  Remember, without accurate measures your cocktails won't taste very good.

Buy: $20

Uber ProJig

Aside from being plastic, this jigger made really well.  It has partitions on one side to make measuring small amounts accurate and easy to see. (1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, and 3/4 oz.  1 1/4 oz on the other side.)  And it's used at the famous French 75 Bar.  For some people that's enough.  (Cheeky, I know)

Buy: $15

Koriko 2-Prong Hawthorne Strainer

When you get done shaking that perfectly made classic Daiquiri you need a practical and stylish way to keep the ice out of the drink.  This is that way.  The double pronged top keeps it on top of the shaker tin and the tight coils keep ice out of your drink.

Buy: $15

Koriko Mixing Tins

Ok so you might be noticing a trend here.  Koriko, made by the legendary bar company Cocktail Kingdom, is one of best quality products you can buy.  And - everybody uses them.  Except for Chris Hannah and his team at the French 75 Bar.  They use a pint glass instead of the small tin, because it's slightly less caustic to your ears when you shake.  And it's more classic.  But unless you are really proficient in shaking with glass I recommend sticking with 'tin on tin' because it's easier to get a good seal.  

Buy: $9 

Pulltap's Wine Key

Yes, even seasoned bar veterans use this deceptively simple wine opener.  And like the best bartenders and waiters will tell you, it's much more important to know how to use a wine key than to have a really nice one.  Want to know how it's done?  Watch the video.

Buy: $10

Skull Barspoon

Developed in collaboration with famous Tiki historian and writer 'Beachbum Berry' this barspoon is a wickedly cool way to stir your cocktails.  Want to see it in action?  Pop over to his incredible tiki bar in the French Quarter, Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29.

Buy: $26

Libbey Studded Mixing Glass

Libbey makes some of the most resiliant barware in the industry.  I can personally attest to having dropped glassware made by them multiple times only to have it bounce off the mats behind the bar.   For making martinis and other stirred cocktails this heavy-bottomed glass is the perfect addition for the home bar cart.  

Buy: $29

The Splurge: Jackson Cannon Bar Knife

Looking for a beautiful way to prepare garnishes and cut citrus?  This is the knife you want.  Designed in collaboration with Jackson Cannon, owner of the famous Boston bar, The Hawthorne, this superb cutting tool is a bartenders dream.  The pointed end is great for precise cutting and de-seeding lemons.  And the flat back can be used for cleaning off the surface of your cutting board.  And yes, it's full-tang.

Buy: $74