The tools you need as a bartender
It's what the feet are to the football player, the instrument is to a musician, the plane to the pilot and the stills to a distiller. The bartender's tools kit. Some bartenders prefer a double tin shaker, while others like using a three-piece shaker. I personally strain my stirred drinks with a pro-bar strainer where some of my fellow bartenders like to use a julep strainer.
If I travel, my basic cocktail toolset goes with me everywhere I go. It happened to me in the past that I showed up to a guest shift, but all the tools were used by the other bartenders or was on stage for a seminar and I had to use a three-piece shaker (which I personally really don't like). You won't make that same mistake twice you say? Well, I did. But it won't happen a third time…
This is what I always bring in my bartender-kit, the cocktail essentials.
I love making classic, stirred cocktails. The Red Light Negroni is a good example. I have my personal, stainless steel mixing glass that I take everywhere. Great for travelling, and perfect for controlling temperature and dilution.
I am a European-educated bartender, meaning I use the metric system (ml). I have been doing that for 23 years now, and it is impossible for me to get used to ounces. I always make sure I bring my ml jigger. If you are used to ounces? Make sure you travel with your ounce jigger (15ml is ½ oz and 30ml is 1 oz) just to be sure you won't get confused.
As I said, I love my double tin shaker. They might not be the most stylish shakers, but they are great in use and it doesn't matter too much if they damage a bit during work or travel. Are you more stylish than me? Go for a beautiful copper shaker and if you had a very good year, our fancy pancy diamond cocktail shaker.
As mention, I travel with my pro-bar strainer. This fits both your stirring glass and your shaker. The hawthorne strainer is often used in bars and works great with a shaker. You can poor a bit more accurately using a Hawthorne strainer, using the two little 'ears' on the shaker to direct. Add this to your bartender kit and you can't miss…
One of those things that you always forget, and just when you have a beautiful clear drink in a cocktail coupe, you don't have one. So always in my cocktail kit is the fine strainer. Great to sieve out small particles of ice or citrus.
Stirring a drink doesn't work without a bar spoon. And I like a bit of a longer bar spoon. I am not too tall myself, so this gives you a bit of reach. It also measures 5 ml, which is great if you want to serve someone a really small shot. The bar spoon is essential to your cocktail set.
It might sound stupid, but I don't leave the house without a speed pourer. I once did an event with hundreds of people and no speed-pourers. I can tell you, that sucked. To be fast and efficient as a bartender, this is a necessity. The speed pourer can be found in different sizes, this is the one I like to use.
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