From Shakers to Strainers: The Ultimate Guide to Mixed Drink Accessories
Mixing drinks and cocktails is an art form that requires precision, creativity, and the right tools. Just like a painter needs various brushes and a sculptor needs different tools, a mixologist needs a wide range of accessories to create the perfect concoction. In this ultimate guide, we will explore the essential mixed drink accessories that every aspiring bartender should have in their arsenal.
Shakers are the workhorses of the cocktail world. They come in two main types: the Boston shaker and the Cobbler shaker. The Boston shaker consists of two metal cups, one larger than the other, which fit together to create a seal. The Cobbler shaker has a built-in strainer and a lid that fits tightly on top. Shakers are used to mix ingredients, cool down the drink, and create a beautiful foam or froth.
After shaking or stirring a cocktail, you’ll need a strainer to separate the liquid from the ice, fruit, or other ingredients. The Hawthorne strainer, with its spring-like coil, is the most common type used. The coil helps catch solid particles, ensuring a clean and smooth pour into the glass. For more specific straining needs, a fine-mesh strainer or a julep strainer can be handy.
3. Mixing Spoons:
A long and twisted mixing spoon is essential for stirring cocktails in a glass or pitcher. The twisted design allows for better control and helps incorporate the ingredients gently without over-diluting the drink. Look for a spoon with a flat end, which is useful for muddling herbs or sugar cubes.
For cocktails that require the release of essential oils and flavors from fruits, herbs, or sugars, a muddler is a must-have tool. They are usually made of wood, stainless steel, or even plastic. A muddler ensures the ingredients are properly crushed and mixed with the other components of the drink.
Precision is key when it comes to crafting cocktails, and jiggers help bartenders measure spirits accurately. These hourglass-shaped measuring tools come in various sizes, typically ranging from 0.5 to 2 ounces. Some jiggers have double sides, making it easier to measure different quantities without needing to switch jiggers between pours.
6. Citrus Juicers:
Freshly squeezed juice can make a world of difference in a cocktail’s taste. Citrus juicers, whether handheld or countertop, allow you to extract the maximum juice from fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges. They are usually designed to catch seeds and filter out any pulp, ensuring a clean and smooth citrus infusion.
7. Bar Spoons:
Bar spoons are an essential accessory for layered drinks or those that require gentle stirring. With a longer handle and a smaller spoon, they allow precise layering by slowly pouring one liquid on top of another without mixing them.
8. Cocktail Straws:
While not essential, cocktail straws can add a touch of elegance and functionality to any drink. They are particularly useful for sipping colorful and layered drinks or enjoying finely crushed ice cocktails like a Mint Julep. Opt for reusable or biodegradable options to reduce plastic waste.
Having the right mixed drink accessories is crucial for both amateurs and professionals alike. Whether you are shaking up a classic martini, muddling herbs for a refreshing mojito, or mastering the art of layering, invest in high-quality tools to enhance your cocktail-making skills. Explore the world of mixology and let your creativity flow as you experiment with new flavors and creations. Cheers!