Looking to elevate your home bartending game? Look no further! In this article, we will introduce you to the must-have starter cocktail accessories that every beginner mixologist needs. From shakers to jiggers, muddlers to strainers, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re a seasoned entertainer or just starting to dabble in the world of mixology, these essential tools will help you craft the perfect cocktails right in the comfort of your own home. So grab a glass, sit back, and prepare to impress your friends with your newfound bartending skills!
Must-Have Starter Cocktail Accessories
Welcome to the wonderful world of cocktail making! Whether you’re a seasoned bartender or an enthusiastic home mixologist, having the right tools can make all the difference in creating delicious and impressive drinks. In this article, we will explore the must-have starter cocktail accessories that will elevate your mixology game to new heights. So grab a drink and let’s dive in!
The cocktail shaker is an essential tool in any mixologist’s arsenal. It allows you to mix and shake your ingredients together, creating a well-blended and chilled drink. There are three main types of cocktail shakers to choose from: the cobbler shaker, the Boston shaker, and the French shaker.
The cobbler shaker is the classic three-piece shaker that most people are familiar with. It consists of a metal tumbler, a tightly fitting lid with a built-in strainer, and a cap that seals the shaker. This shaker is great for beginners as it is easy to use and provides all the necessary functions in one compact design.
The Boston shaker is a two-piece shaker consisting of a metal tumbler and a separate mixing glass. These two components fit together snugly to create a seal when shaking the drink. The advantage of a Boston shaker is that it allows for better control and visibility during the shaking process. It is also easier to clean and less prone to leaks.
The French shaker is a hybrid of the cobbler and Boston shakers, combining the metal tumbler of the cobbler shaker with the separate mixing glass of the Boston shaker. This shaker offers the best of both worlds, providing a balanced and elegant design that is a favorite among professional bartenders.
A muddler is a long, pestle-like tool used to crush or muddle ingredients such as fruits, herbs, and sugar in the bottom of a glass or shaker. This process extracts the flavors and aromas, enhancing the taste of the cocktail. There are various types of muddlers to choose from, including wooden, stainless steel, and plastic.
The wooden muddler is a classic choice, favored for its natural aesthetic and gentle muddling action. It is typically made from hardwood such as beech or cherry, which is resistant to moisture and won’t affect the taste of your ingredients. The smooth surface of a wooden muddler minimizes the risk of scratching delicate glassware.
Stainless Steel Muddler
For those who prefer a more durable and modern-looking muddler, stainless steel is the way to go. Stainless steel muddlers are sturdy, easy to clean, and resistant to rust and corrosion. Their sharp teeth or grooves allow for a more aggressive muddling action, perfect for tough ingredients like ginger or mint leaves.
If you’re looking for an affordable and lightweight option, a plastic muddler might be the right choice for you. Plastic muddlers are often made from durable BPA-free materials and feature textured heads for efficient muddling. They are also dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze.
A jigger is a measuring tool used to ensure accurate proportions when pouring ingredients into your cocktail. It typically has two different-sized cups or cones on either end, allowing you to measure both small and large amounts. There are different styles of jiggers to choose from, including the double-sided jigger, the bell jigger, and the Japanese jigger.
The double-sided jigger is the most common type of jigger. It usually has a larger cup on one end, typically holding one or two fluid ounces, and a smaller cup on the other end, usually measuring half or three-fourths of an ounce. This versatile jigger is great for measuring a wide range of ingredients and is a staple in any bartender’s toolkit.
The bell jigger, also known as the hourglass jigger, is a stylish and functional alternative to the traditional double-sided jigger. It features a slim waist and a bell-shaped design, allowing for easy pouring and precise measurements. The larger end of the bell jigger usually holds 1.5 ounces, while the smaller end holds 0.75 ounces.
The Japanese jigger is a sleek and elegant jigger commonly used in high-end cocktail bars. It has a unique elongated shape with different measurement markings along the sides, making it easy to measure ingredients accurately. The Japanese jigger typically comes in various sizes, ranging from 0.5 to 2 ounces, catering to different cocktail recipes.
When it comes to pouring cocktails, having a strainer is essential to prevent unwanted debris or ice chunks from entering the glass. There are three main types of strainers to choose from: the Hawthorne strainer, the julep strainer, and the mesh strainer.
The Hawthorne strainer is the most commonly used strainer in cocktail making. It features a flat, rounded shape with a coiled spring around the edge, allowing it to sit snugly on top of a shaker or mixing glass. The Hawthorne strainer filters out ice and larger pieces of ingredients while allowing the liquid to pass through, resulting in a smooth and well-strained cocktail.
The julep strainer is a classic strainer with a perforated bowl-shaped design and a handle. It is commonly used when pouring cocktails directly from a mixing glass without using a shaker. The julep strainer is ideal for cocktails like the mint julep or any other stirred drink where only a small amount of ice needs to be strained.
A mesh strainer, also known as a fine strainer or sieve, is a versatile tool that can be used alongside other strainers or on its own. It features a fine mesh screen that effectively filters out even the smallest particles, such as fruit pulp or herbs. A mesh strainer is perfect for achieving a crystal-clear cocktail or for double-straining to remove any remaining sediment.
A bar spoon is a long-handled spoon designed for mixing and layering ingredients in a glass or shaker. It is an essential tool for building balanced and layered cocktails. There are several types of bar spoons to choose from, including twisted handle spoons, long handle spoons, and teardrop spoons.
Twisted Handle Spoon
The twisted handle spoon is one of the most recognizable bar spoon designs. It features a twisted shaft that provides a comfortable grip and adds an elegant touch to your cocktail presentation. The twisted handle design also helps prevent the spoon from slipping into the glass or shaker when stirring.
Long Handle Spoon
A long handle spoon is a versatile and practical choice for stirring cocktails. It typically has a straight shaft with a length of around 10 to 12 inches, allowing for easy access to the bottom of highball glasses or tall mixing glasses. The long handle also aids in controlled stirring motions, ensuring a well-mixed cocktail.
The teardrop spoon, also known as a spiral spoon or spoon-straw, features a unique teardrop-shaped bowl with a spiral handle. This design enables the spoon to easily reach into narrow glasses, and the spiral handle provides a comfortable and secure grip. The teardrop spoon is particularly useful for layered cocktails or serving drinks with a straw-like effect.
A mixing glass is an essential tool for stirring cocktails, particularly those that do not require shaking. It provides a larger surface area for mixing and allows for better control of dilution and temperature. There are different types of mixing glasses to choose from, including the Yarai mixing glass, the Boston mixing glass, and a regular pitcher.
Yarai Mixing Glass
The Yarai mixing glass is a classic Japanese-style mixing glass that features a diamond-cut pattern on the exterior. This pattern not only adds a touch of elegance but also provides a better grip when stirring. The Yarai mixing glass is a favorite among bartenders for its durability, large capacity, and aesthetically pleasing design.
Boston Mixing Glass
The Boston mixing glass is a versatile and practical option for cocktail enthusiasts. It is a sturdy glass with straight sides, allowing for an easy and comfortable grip. The Boston mixing glass is often used in conjunction with a Boston shaker, making it a popular choice for both stirring and shaking cocktails.
A regular pitcher can also double as a mixing glass, especially for larger batch cocktails or casual gatherings. While it may not have the same aesthetic appeal as specialized mixing glasses, a pitcher offers convenience and simplicity. Just make sure to choose one with a sturdy base and a wide opening for easy stirring and pouring.
No cocktail is complete without a burst of fresh citrus. A citrus juicer is a must-have accessory for extracting the juice from lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. There are different types of citrus juicers to choose from, including manual citrus juicers, electric citrus juicers, and citrus presses.
Manual Citrus Juicer
For those who enjoy the hands-on approach, a manual citrus juicer is the way to go. This simple yet effective tool typically consists of a cone-shaped reamer and a container to collect the juice. Manual citrus juicers are easy to use and require minimal effort, providing you with the satisfaction of extracting every last drop of juice.
Electric Citrus Juicer
If you frequently make cocktails or entertain guests, an electric citrus juicer can save you time and effort. These juicers feature a motorized reamer that spins at various speeds, efficiently extracting juice from citrus fruits. Electric citrus juicers are equipped with a built-in strainer and often come with different-sized reamers to accommodate different fruit sizes.
A citrus press, also known as a hand press or squeezer, is a manual juicer that offers both convenience and efficiency. It typically has a lever mechanism that provides leverage when squeezing the fruit, allowing for easy juice extraction. Citrus presses are great for juicing large quantities of citrus fruits and can be used with minimal effort.
Fine Mesh Strainer
In addition to the regular strainers, having a fine mesh strainer in your cocktail toolbox can greatly enhance the quality and presentation of your drinks. A fine mesh strainer effectively removes even the tiniest particles, resulting in a smoother and more visually appealing cocktail. There are various types of fine mesh strainers to choose from, including tea strainers, colanders, and flour sifters.
A tea strainer, also known as a tea infuser or sieve, is a small fine mesh strainer typically used for steeping loose tea leaves. However, it can also be repurposed as a cocktail strainer. The small size of a tea strainer makes it perfect for straining drink garnishes or delicate ingredients like herbs or spices.
A colander is a larger fine mesh strainer commonly used for rinsing and draining food. While it may not be specifically designed for cocktail making, a colander can be repurposed as a fine mesh strainer when making larger batches of cocktails or when straining out more substantial ingredients. Just ensure that it is clean and suitable for use with food and beverages.
A flour sifter is a unique and unconventional choice for a fine mesh strainer, but it can work wonders when used in mixology. With its fine wire mesh, a flour sifter effectively removes any tiny particles or clumps, resulting in a smoother and more refined cocktail. Just be sure to thoroughly clean the flour sifter before using it for drink preparation.
If you’re looking to elevate your cocktail presentation and add a burst of citrus aroma, a citrus zester is a must-have accessory. The zest from citrus fruits contains essential oils that contribute to the flavor and aroma of a cocktail. A citrus zester is a small handheld tool designed specifically for removing the flavorful and aromatic outer layer of citrus peels.
Last but not least, garnish picks are a simple yet versatile accessory that can elevate the visual appeal of your cocktails. Garnish picks come in various materials, including bamboo, metal, and plastic. They can be used to skewer and present a wide range of garnishes, such as fruit slices, olives, herbs, or even small cocktail umbrellas.
In conclusion, investing in the right starter cocktail accessories can greatly enhance your mixology experience. From the essential cocktail shaker to the handy garnish picks, each tool serves a specific purpose in creating well-crafted and visually stunning cocktails. So go ahead and equip your home bar with these must-have accessories, and get ready to impress your guests with your newfound mixology skills. Cheers to endless cocktail adventures!