Mixology: 6 Essential Bar Tools For Amateur Bartenders
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When you’re just beginning your mixology journey, the process of discovering the alchemy of ingredients and alcohol can be a fascinating idea. Whether it is creating a classic cocktail or coming up with a signature special, having a handful of basic bar tools can really make all the difference in the way your drink tastes or feels. Having a few basic tools handy can quickly take your cocktail creations from dull to divine and give you a drink that is worthy of your leisure time.

Cocktail Shaker

Not just for fancy flipping, the cocktail shaker is the go-to bar tool and a true workhorse of any bar. It comes in many various styles and designs, but the most common are the Boston shaker and the cobbler shaker. The Boston shaker has two metal or glass pieces that fit together, whereas the cobbler shaker has a built-in strainer and cap.

Why It’s Essential

A good cocktail shaker ensures that your ingredients are thoroughly mixed, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavours and a well-chilled drink. It's a must-have tool for classic cocktails like the martini, margarita, and whiskey sour.


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Every cocktail recipe has specific quantities listed, but for bartenders making hundreds of drinks a night, getting out measuring cups or weighing scales isn’t a viable option. That’s where the Jigger comes in handy. It typically has two different-sized cups on each end usually of 1.5 ounces (44ml) on the larger side and 0.75 ounces (22ml) on the smaller one, allowing you to measure precise quantities of liquid ingredients.

Why It’s Essential

Precision is key in mixology, and a jigger ensures that you maintain the correct balance of ingredients, resulting in a consistent, well-balanced and delicious cocktail every time.

Mixing Glass

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All you may have deduced from Mr. Bond’s standard Martini order, not all cocktails can be shaken, some need to be stirred. A mixing glass offers an elegant way to mix ingredients on the bar counter and build up multiple ingredients. Classics like the Manhattan or negroni often need to be stirred with ice and strained which can be optimally done in a mixing glass with a long, thin shape that allows for easy stirring.

Why It’s Essential

Stirring cocktails in a mixing glass preserves the clarity and texture of the drink while gently chilling and diluting it. It's a must-have for any mixologist aiming for precision and finesse.

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Bar Spoon

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Sure, you can have a teaspoon on hand or a couple of dessert spoons, but if you’re looking for convenience, a bar spoon is a must. A bar spoon is a long, slender spoon with a twisted handle, specifically designed for mixing and layering cocktails, it can also be used for tasting small drops of the drink along the way to ensure the perfect flavour. It may seem simple but it’s an indispensable tool for creating stunning drinks and adding the finishing touches to your creations.

Why It’s Essential

A bar spoon allows you to delicately mix and layer ingredients, ensuring that each sip is a harmonious experience both in terms of flavour and aesthetics.

Hawthorne Strainer

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Whether you opt for the Boston shaker or the cobbler, a Hawthorne strainer is a must-have tool for any mixologist. This metal strainer with a spring-like coil that fits neatly inside a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. This strainer effectively filters out ice and other solid ingredients when pouring the cocktail into a glass which may be passed through otherwise.

Why It’s Essential

A Hawthorne strainer ensures that your cocktails are free from ice shards and pulp, resulting in a smooth and consistent pour.


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Building a great drink is all about building flavours, and a muddler is a handy tool to do that. Almost like a flat pestle, and usually ridged or lightly spiked, this tool is used to extract flavours from fruits, herbs, and spices by crushing them gently and releasing their natural essence.

Why It’s Essential

Muddling enhances the aroma and taste of cocktails by extracting essential oils and flavours from fresh ingredients, elevating the overall drinking experience.