Don't forget the bar spoon
The barspoon is a common bar utensil usually used to stir cocktails. Next to stirring, this tool doubles down as a measure, a muddler and sometimes even as a weapon used to defend yourself against angry, drunk guests 😉 Don’t actually do the last part!
The history of the bar spoon
The barspoon has a long history with many question marks. No one seems to know for sure where its true origin lies. One thing we know for sure, it’s one of mankind’s oldest eating utensil. The spoon finds its origin in paleolithic times according to cocktail historian Jared Brown. It may well be that man was using shells and other objects to eat certain types of food. There’s also records, and evidence of spoons found in Egyptian tombs.
Spoons were “invented” or brought back to many countries, so finding its specific origin is a difficult task on its own. But it’s during the middle ages in Europe, where the manufacturing and using of spoons took off. One type of spoon that was used during this era was the sucket spoon. A spoon that has a fork on the opposite end. The sucket spoon was a multipurpose utensil that was sometimes used to scoop out fruit from a, back then, famous British dessert called the wet sucket. A dessert containing various cooked fruits soaked in a syrup of some sort.
The sucket spoon eventually made its way into American bars during the early 1800’s cocktail revolution, where it was used behind the bar in cocktails and mixed drinks with fruits. One could say that this would have been the start of bar spoons starting to evolve behind the bar.
Another type of spoon could be traced back to France, where apothecaries would measure dry ingredients in the bowl of the spoon. The opposite end of the spoon had a small muddler. It was used to powder down more solid medicine. This spoon also made its way towards the bar, where it was indeed used to muddle sugar cubes in drinks. Anything bigger than a sugar cube would be to difficult to muddle and would require a different tool.
This bar spoon is usually the cheapest and the more common bar spoon type. It has a small plastic cap on the opposite end of the spoon, which has no real purpose to it. It’s mainly used to hide the fact that the makers haven’t done anything to the opposite end. These common bar spoons have a twisted body, but straight, untwisted spoons are also common. The American bar spoon is our least preferred bar spoon of choice.
European bar spoon
The European bar spoon is a modern version of the French apothecary-style bar spoon. It has a long-twisted stem, small spoon and a small muddler on the opposite end. As mentioned above, the muddler on the bar spoon is typically used to muddle sugar cubes into smaller particles. Anything bigger than a sugar cube is a little more difficult to muddle with a bar spoon due to the thin stem. A bit too much pressure and your bar spoon starts to look more like Robin Hood’s weapon of choice.
Japanese-style bar spoon
This style of bar spoon typically has a slimmer & longer body. Where most other bar spoons are between 20-24cm in length, the Japanese style bar spoon are sleeker and can range from anywhere between 30-50cm in length. The advantage of using the Japanese bar spoon lies in its shape. The twisted, long stem makes it easier to gracefully move ice cubes around in a mixing glass or other stirring vessel of choice. The opposite end of the Japanese-style bar spoon is usually either a fork or a teardrop weight. The weight makes the bar spoon better balanced which results in an improved handling. All the reasons and more mentioned above, make the Japanese-style bar spoon our favorite bar spoon.
Usage of the bar spoon
Every style of bar spoon has its pros and cons, yet they all have a common goal, its main usage. All bar spoons are used to stir drinks. The American and European bar spoons tend to stir a drink a less easy than the sleeker Japanese-style bar spoon. Check out the video below on how to stir drinks.
The bowl of the spoon can also be used as a measuring tool. Most bar spoons will be between 2.5-5ml. It is important to know how much liquid your spoon can carry. A couple of ml’s differences of sweet ingredients will not be easily noticed, but the same amount too much of e.g., an Italian bitter, can results in an overkill.
Many bar spoons have a twisted stem. This stem is to slow the flow of liquid, which is poured on top of the spoon. Typically used when creating awesome-looking layered shots
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