What you already have – Mixing Vessels
French Press (aka Cafetière)
Little did you know that you had the perfect weapon for making stirred cocktails hiding at the back of your cupboard. Quite possibly unloved and forgotten since you bought that swanky espresso machine? Not only is it the perfect size and shape, it also has a built-in fine strainer that will ensure not a single chip of ice will make it into your perfectly stirred cocktail.
As long as it’s cylindrical on the inside, it will work a treat. They can be quite large of course, so a vase is often perfect when you want to stir down 3 or more Martinis while ‘entertaining’. Straining can be a challenge with a large vase, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are making a few for friends. Also, make sure you take the flowers out first and give it a VERY good clean!
Perfect for 1 or 2 small stirred cocktails. Easy to use, and easy to strain the cocktail out of as well.
Pro Equipment Guide – Mixing Vessels
The mixing jug is a different proposition to the cocktail shaker. With the shaker, there’s a real difference between what you can make work when you’re at home without a specialist shaker to hand (we’ve listed a number of them here). However, you wouldn’t pick a swing top jar to work an 8 hour shift behind a busy bar.
When it comes to choosing a mixing jug though, the line is very much blurred between what you can repurpose at home and what you might buy from a professional equipment supplier.
So, here’s our take on what you’ll want to equip yourself with:
Although stainless steel can seem more utilitarian, and you can’t see into a mixing tin to watch the ingredients and ice spin together as you stir, the tin is still a strong option, and if you have a shaker, you already have this option.
WHAT WE SAY:
There are a number of options here. The most obvious is to use the tin from your cocktail shaker. It works perfectly well, but a wider container is more stable and easier to use.
There are small stainless steel jugs out there to buy from a number of brands.
They’re generally wider and more stable than a shaker tin and also have a lip to make pouring easier and more accurate.
One you might not have thought of is a stainless steel double walled flask. A little unusual, but it’s what they use in one of our favourite London bars, Happiness Forgets. Of course, if you decide to try this out, it’s vital that the flask is nice and wide and cylindrical on the inside to allow the ingredients and ice to rotate smoothly.
Looking to buy some PRO Mixing Tins?
Mixtin™ Stirring Tin
The great thing about a tin, compared to glass, is that they don’t break! You can simply throw it in your freezer and forget about it until you’re ready to mix.
They’re also useful if you’re heading around to a friend’s house and want to chuck a couple of tools in a bag to mix up some drinks when you get there.
This is probably what you were thinking of buying when you started your research into professional bar equipment. If you like stirring cocktails, then
Yes, why not treat yourself to a nice glass mixing jug. Barring any accidents it should last you a lifetime!
WHAT WE SAY:
You can go for your ‘standard’ and elegant Japanese crystal mixing jug like you’ll see in most high end cocktail bars. Nothing wrong with that at all. But if you’d like to have something different, think outside the box and look for a local glass blower. All you need is something that’s cylindrical on the inside and ideally has a spout to make pouring easier…although that’s not essential.
Looking to buy some PRO mixing glasses?
Yarai® Mixing glass, seamless, large
When it comes to size, think whether you’re looking for a mixing jug for personal use only or you like to entertain and make a few drinks at a time. (Don’t forget that batching is also your best bet for entertaining!) To be able to make 2-3 at a time you’ll want something that can hold around 20oz/600ml or bigger.
Be careful when cleaning your glass after making a cocktail. The process of making the cocktail will of course make the glass very cold. If you run very hot water into the glass immediately afterwards, then your beautiful heavy glass jug may crack, so, take care and just rinse with warm water.
French Press / Cafetiere / Coffee Plunger
Wherever you are from and whatever you call it, this piece of classic kitchenware is the best crossover piece of kit on the planet!
You may well already have one, gathering dust at the back of a cupboard since you bought a fancy coffee machine. Well maybe it’s time to give it a new purpose in life.
In reality, if you want a piece of professional kit, this probably won’t satisfy your urge, but it can make a great addition to your suite of tools. It’s great to have a couple of different sized mixing jugs, a small one for a quiet little drink and a larger one for when you’re entertaining and want to stir more drinks at a time.
WHAT WE SAY:
Ok, so it’s not professional equipment that you’d regularly find behind a cocktail bar. BUT, they work so well, and the fine mesh strainer ensures you’ll never have an unsightly ice chip, or any other piece of debris for that matter, spoiling your beautifully crystal clear drink!
Controversial as it might sound, it’s worth considering even as your key mixing jug.
They have a good shape, accompanying fine mesh strainer and even a handle, it’s a perfect tool for stirring cocktails! Especially for those with smaller hands who may struggle to hold a large heavy glass with one hand.
The glass tends to be on the thinner side so just be careful not to chip the rim, especially when emptying and rinsing.