Making drinks at home can be rewarding and fun especially when you want to impress your friends or a date! But remember a good workman is only as good as his tools so make sure to invest in the right cocktail equipment.
We are going to go into a bit of depth on how to use bar tools correctly and layout the must-have items so you look and feel the part as a home mixologist. Below you will find our top picks for cocktail equipment and how to use them.
There are three main methods for making cocktails. Built, Shaken and Stirred. Built cocktails are all made in the vessel the drink is being served in. Usually, you would start with any fruit or herbs, then liquor, ice and finally any sodas. Think Mojitos and the Old Fashioned.
Moving on, next we have stirred. The main reason to stir is to chill the drink and also to create dilution. Usually, you would want to stir for up to 40 seconds.
Lastly, we have shaken. Well everyone has their own shake but as long as you use enough ice and shake with enough force, your cocktail will turn out well. Between 10 – 12 seconds your drink will have reached thermal equilibrium, meaning it’s ready to drink.
When making cocktails, add all your ingredients first, with the least expensive liquor last, just in case you make a mistake on the way. Then follow up with the ice.
Like we said above, everyone has their own shake. To get technical, the two variables to concentrate on are the quantity of ice and force. During shaking a cocktail you are creating tiny air bubbles that add texture to a drink through the process of aeration.
Shaking a cocktail with enough force, and with a fluid motion, will help the ice hit the sides of the tin. You want to shake for 10 – 12 seconds which is the point your cocktail will reach thermal equilibrium.
Basically this means it has hit ‘optimum temperature’ and anymore shaking will create unwanted extra dilution. You can see from the chart below from ‘Tales of the Cocktail’ the process of shaking and how the temperature is affected.
The Y-axis (vertical line) shows the temperature and the X-axis (horizontal line) shows the time shaken. The only other way to reach a lower temperature would be to keep your glassware and possibly alcohol in a freezer before serving
For a long time, the Boston tin on glass was seen in almost every bar. Although yes durable, they are clumsy and heavy to deal with. We recommend using these tins instead. The metal is better for conducting temperature and you will find they are easier to handle. They are also near indestructible.
The Parisian Shaker, also known as a French shaker, is somewhere between a Cobbler and a Boston. The shape is similar to the Cobbler shaker, but does not have a built-in strainer.
While the two peice shaker is designed to fit perfectly together, it can be troublesome to pul apart.
Visually it is impressive and great for batch shaking cocktails.
Like shaking, with stirring you are trying to chill your cocktail and achieve dilution. Now most shakers can be doubled up to be used as mixing vessels too, but there are also some really stunning mixing glasses out there that will make you bar look super sleek.
When stirring cocktails, like above add all your ingredients first, with the least expensive liquor last. Add as much ice as possible to the mixing vessel, in simple terms the reason is that ‘the less ice the less it melts!’ but to be technical it creates faster chilling and slower dilution.
Hold your spoon centrally with you forefinger and middle and keep the spoon circling around the inside sides of the vessel. What this should do is keep all the ice spinning in one structure. If it sounds like your ice is churning you are doing it wrong!
In a bar enviroment, we choose these stainles steel mixing tins. The surfaces are polished and look proffesional in any setting. The advantage of using tins is that metal chills drinks much faster and more consistently than glass. Keep this in the freezer for about a minute before using it for a more precise temperature controlled drink.
A good bartender relies on his tools for precision, efficiency and ease. This is our extensive list of the essential tools every home bartender needs. The next section we will cover strainers but be sure to put this section at the top of your shopping list.
Atomisers are great for spraying a thin mist of alcohol as a finisher or spraying the inside of glass as an additional flavour. There a few metal versions but let’s face it, this one looks awesome and we will really add that flair to your cocktail game.
Ice will make or break a drink. Ideally we would all use ice blocks from the freezer and cut what is needed but that’s not always practical. These silicon molds are easy to pull the ice it and easy to keep clean. When choosing it is better to go for large cubes like this ones so the dilution rate is slower.
There are only 3 types of strainers you will need to get you through cocktail making. We use strainers to hold ice in place or to filter out small particles that are not for the final product.
Ok now we are getting into the fun stuff. The list below is for the advanced bartender or for those who really want to look the part when they are hosting a cocktail party. You don’t particularly need these items but hell if you going to build a home bar, why not?
Ok you may be thinking, but shouldn’t I have a sexy glass art deco style bar trolley? Yes of course you can but in terms of price and durability, this wins top marks from us. The three tiers are great for holding all your tools, and produce, There is a glass rack on the bottom shelf, A bottle rack to hold four of your liqueurs in place, it has a removable top to act as a tray and to top it all off it has wheels! For the price of £74.95 it’s a steal.
Probably our favourite piece of equipment on this list. This precision sous vide cooker is incredible. Just plug it in, set the temp and time and let it sit in a pot. No heat or gas needed. The Anonva will precisely rotate the water and it can all be controlled from your phone. And the amazing part is that it’s going for under £100.
What did you think of our list? Did we leave anything out? Now you have your shopping list or you’ve already got some of this stuff on the way you have taken your first step to being a professional home bartender. Next time we will be writing a list on all the glassware you will need for your bar but in the meantime why not check up on some of our articles to start making cocktails!
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