What you already have – Stirrers
Perfect for stirring, cheap, and who doesn’t have at least one hiding in a drawer somewhere?!
Not as easy as the chopstick, but it will do. Seriously though… how can you not find a chopstick?!
Ideally long and cylindrical, but the shaft of any spoon, serving spoon or Sundae (long) spoon will do the trick. But still… how do you not have a chopstick, you monster?!
If you can find a narrow silicone one you can make this work in a pinch. Probably needs to be a decent sized mixing jug though. Also, have we mentioned that a chopstick works really well? Literally ANY chopstick will do!
Pro Equipment Guide – Bar Spoons
It’s arguably the most important piece of equipment in your tool kit and yet do you even need one? It’s a controversial question on the surface of it, however, when you really think about it…you do have choices.
The reality is, any professional bartender is going to have a bar spoon to hand at any moment, and that’s because they do so many different little jobs. Let’s break down those different jobs and see what the options are.
A very useful bit of kit for small measurements of ingredients. Old school spoons were pretty good at measuring 5 ml / ⅙ th oz. if filled carefully and held level. The spoons on trend these days are prettier and more elegant, but certainly don’t measure that much.
The reality here is that you can have a spoon to hand that is calibrated and designed specifically to give you an accurate measurement. However, when you’re adding such small amounts of ingredients, what really matters is knowing your spoon. As long as you know what measurement you get from it, you can still be very accurate.
So, either use a measured teaspoon, or buy a bar spoon you like the look &feel of and learn what measurement it gives you.
A key tool for stirring cocktails like Martinis and Manhattans, or simply mixing ingredients together that need a little agitation to get them to combine. The reality here is that you do need something long enough to get down into a glass, and be able to spin ice and booze around in a glass when stirring.
With all this in mind, your kitchen teaspoon is just not going to work.
Nonetheless , you do have the option of using a chopstick. It’s brilliant for stirring cocktails and combining ingredients together, although it can be a little too thin to effectively combine thicker ingredients.
Is a chopstick going to do everything you need and also satisfy your equipment desires? No. However, we highly recommend having a chopstick in your tool kit. It’s great for stirring as mentioned, but also really good for shaping twists when you want to curl and twist them into appealing shapes.
Looking to buy some PRO shakers?
Tear drop bar spoon
Muddling / Layering
Some bar spoons have a flat round end that can be used to crush ingredients.
It’s good for soft fruits like raspberries, or fresh herbs. However, it’s utterly useless up against anything more robust than a medium strawberry. So, handy as it can be, you need to have a proper tool for muddling in your toolkit making the bar spoon with a muddler end a little unnecessary.
There is a different trick that this end of the spoon does better than muddling, and that’s layering. Not exactly a common technique, but when you want to layer something on top, the round muddler end of a bar spoon is even better than the back of a spoon. The spiralled shaft of the spoon gives liquids something to grab on to as you trickle them down the length of the spoon. The liquid then hits the flat end of the spoon and dissipates outwards in all directions off the spoon – perfect conditions for getting one ingredient to sit on top of another.
Like a chef always has a teaspoon on hand to taste everything before leaving the kitchen, the same attitude should be applied to mixed drinks. You need to ensure everything you are making tastes amazing and is well balanced before serving it.
You can do this by using a teaspoon, or by using a straw as a pipette.
Either way, you want to make sure it’s clean and hygienic. As you can probably tell yet again, this doesn’t mean that there is anything special about a bar spoon for this process.
Therefore, it’s obviously not essential to use a bar spoon for tasting, but it is yet another important role that can be completed by this most versatile of tools.
WHAT WE SAY
Get a bar spoon, you’ll use it all the time, and you’ll use it in conjunction with all the other bits of equipment we just talked about.
There’s no shortcut for time and practice to see what suits you best and what feels most comfortable in your hand. The different shapes and sizes all have pros and cons so it really comes down to you.