New for 2023, here’s the lowdown on the best bar tools out there, that any good bartender just can't do without.
1. Buswell 4 Prong Hawthorne Strainer
With a history more varied than a Cadbury’s Christmas Selection pack, the Hawthorne strainer is one of the oldest pieces of bartending equipment.
Devised in the early 1900s by Nathaniel Hawthorne in his Boston bar, it’s made up of a flat disc and a coiled spring and is used by bartenders to create a perfectly clear drink when mixing cocktails.
The spring works to stop large chunks of ice, fruit or garnishes from dropping into your glass, and their design means that they can be easily affixed to a Boston Shaker creating a nice, tight seal…
Here at EBS we are big fans of this one from Buswell, it has 4 prongs and comes in gunmetal black, copper, gold and durable stainless steel. A very sexy strainer indeed...
2. Koriko Boston Shaker Weighted Tins
If there's one cocktail tool that is an absolute must have, it’s the Boston Shaker.
This bartender tool staple is essentially 2 tins used to mix cocktail ingredients together - diluting and chilling them ready to pour.
Measure out your spirits and/or mixer into the smaller tin, add ice cubes into the cocktail shaker and place the larger one on top to seal it.
Now shake it like a polaroid picture and pour!
FYI: these don’t come with a built-in strainer (unlike the Julep Strainer) so you’ll need to use a separate one. You’ll use this shaker when you come to make any kind of cocktail that’s not built or stirred - think Mojito, Martini or Sidecar.
Try this weighted copper number from Koriko. We think it's the best Boston Shaker tin out there.
3. Pina Barware Muddler in Bamboo
If you’ve never used a muddler, then you must have been living under a rock.
These wooden marvels are used to infuse flavours from herbs and citrus fruits into your drinks, as well as dissolving sugar cubes into cocktails. A gentle touch is recommended, so give your ingredients a light mash rather than a good pounding, and we find wooden muddlers are best (and used by most professional bartenders).
The key with muddling is not to over do it. Muddle too much and you’ll release bitter aromas into your cocktail glass which could ruin your Mojito.
Pina Barware’s bamboo muddler works well for us, it’s long enough for tall glasses and is sturdy and smooth.
Grab a rocks or Collins glass and get pressing.
4. Barfly Japanese Bar Spoon
Bar spoons aren't the most glamorous of the professional bar tools, but together with the mixing glass, they are one of the most important and worth having in any home bar, too.
These ingenious little fellows come in handy when measuring ingredients or stirring classic cocktails like the Negroni, the Manhattan and the Gimlet. It is also an integral bar tool for layering with drinks like shots. Slippery Nipple anyone?
There are 3 types of spoons in use today; the American bar spoon, the European, and the Japanese version (unsurprisingly more elegant than their Western counterparts). You can take your pick, although most bartenders prefer the Japanese style.
Get your hands on this copper-plated option from Barfly - it has a machined end so you can handle small ingredients, and is 33.5 cm long so there’ll never be a glass too tall…
5. Pina Barware Brushed Steel Jigger
You're probably wondering, 'what is a jigger', so let's clear that up. It might sound like pirate terminology (ooh arr), but the bar jigger is actually a measuring cup and is used to prepare almost all cocktails and long drinks.
Some bartenders prefer to free pour their spirits while making cocktail recipes (which looks more dramatic but takes considerable training), while others like the precision that a jigger will give you.
There are 3 types of jigger on the market: the double-ended Hourglass Jigger, the Japanese Jigger (that come with measurement markers on the inside) and the smaller Bell Jigger.
And if you're wondering where it got its name, one theory is it comes from the word ‘thingamajig'. Is this fact? We’re not sure.
But we can recommend making cocktails using this basic brushed steel jigger from Pina Barware. It comes with a decent price tag, and with measurements engraved on the outside, it’s one of the best bar accessories out there.
6. Barbits Stainless Steel Mexican Elbow
Neither a specialty tequila nor a one-armed Luchador move, this nifty little number is the last word in citrus squeezers and cocktail tools!
These bartending basics come with an extra hinge or “elbow” so you can squeeze like Dwayne Johnson would to extract as much precious lemon, lime, or orange juice as possible.
Most Mexican Elbows also provide a handy cocktail strainer that will remove all the pith and pips, keeping your juice as pure as can be before it makes a splash into your mixing glass - and you're most likely to need one when you're making Daiquirís or a Sour of some kind.
Try this one from Barbits - it is guaranteed to produce an excellent cocktail time and time again, and thanks to the stainless steel, you can chuck it in the dishwasher, too. Sorted.
7. Hermetus Bottle Opener, Westmark
And last but not least, the bottle opener. The most simple piece of bartending equipment on our list - but an item that you will need over and over during every bar service.
Whether opening a bottle of premium lager or a refreshing mixer to top up one of the many mixed cocktails in your repertoire, a handy bottle opener attached to your apron will make your life a whole lot easier.
There are literally 100s to choose from, but we are big fans of this resealable bottle opener by the German brand, Westmark, called the Hermetus.
With a casual flick of the wrist, you can plonk a bottle ready to drink on the bar - and just as easily pop the top back on the surplus ginger ale that didn't get used up in your Moscow Mule. Keeping it fizzy and fresh until the next one is requested.
Not only does this piece of bar equipment have a dual purpose, but it also looks sleek with elegant design in tempered steel and it’s got a rubber non-slip handle. Excellent.
Know your jiggers from your shakers by signing up to our bartender course - where you'll master all the expert bar skills you'll ever need...