Quick Recipes and Easy

Bar Tool Time

No matter what task is before an individual, you must have the proper tools to accomplish the job. If you are a chef, you will need fine quality knives and an extensive range of various pots and pans. If you are a gardener, you will need several sizes of pruning shears and clippers, as well as digging tools to keep your yard trim and gorgeous. And if you want to tend bar, whether in the home or professionally, to make quality drinks which everyone will delight in, you will need your box of bar tools, which will allow you to turn out tasty concoctions.

Having the right tools will ease the job of making excellent drinks. Let’s take a look at the most essential tools:

A BOTTLE OPENER is a must, both for speed and for the health of your hands. Using your bare hands to open bottles of beer can quickly turn your palms and fingers to bundles of cuts and scratches, not to mention chafing them raw. There are many varieties of bottle openers available to suit individual tastes.

The “waiter’s wine opener” is probably the most versatile type of WINE OPENER/CORKSCREW. Very efficient, it will not break the cork (well-known last words!). This tool is multi-purposed: It includes a bottle opener; a sharp blade for cutting the seal of the wine; and the all-vital corkscrew or worm. Corkscrews can be found in all sorts of novelty shapes. Also, if possible, get an opener with a two-level lever for maximum efficiency. A winged corkscrew is screwed into the cork which is popped by pulling down the handles.

A necessity for all bartenders is the COCKTAIL SHAKER, a stainless steel container used to vigorously shake the ingredients for a martini. A excellent rule of bartending is to remember that the colder a drink gets, the better it will taste. Hence, the shaker. Pouring pre-chilled ingredients into the shaker with ice, shaking it vigorously, and serving the drink in a chilled glass will give your guests a tongue-titillating libation.

The two basic types of shakers are the STANDARD SHAKER and the BOSTON SHAKER. The STANDARD or COBBLER shaker is a three-piece stainless steel shaker with a strainer built into it. It consists of the shaker tumbler, a lid with strainer, and the cap. The BOSTON shaker is a bit simpler in its design than is the Standard. It is merely a shaker tumbler and a slightly smaller mixing glass. All that needs to be done with a Boston shaker is to seal the two parts together. You must be careful to not seal it so tightly that it cannot be opened again.

There are many different varieties of STRAINERS, the most well loved of which being the HAWTHORNE, a flat, spoon-shaped tool. A spring coil fits around its head, enabling it to fit all types and shapes of bar glasses, by means of prongs, in order to strain cocktails. On the other hand, the stainless steel JULEP strainer fits gently within the glass at an angle.

Several other tools will help you tend bar with professional ease.

A BAR SPOON is used mainly for stirring, the measurement of ingredients, and the crushing of flavoring (fruit, etc.) ingredients. Made of stainless steel, most bar spoons are 10 inches long and hold 1/6 ounce (one teaspoon) of liquid.

On most upper-end bar spoons, the top of the handle is a disc known as a MUDDLER which is used to crush (muddle) chunks of fruit, sugar cubes, or herbs, such as mint leaves, in the bottom of the glass.

A excellent BLENDER is essential for making frozen drinks, such as Daiquiris or Margaritas. There are many sorts of blenders with various speeds. Be sure to place your liquid in the blender before adding ice; doing this will increase the life of your blade. Try to get a blender with ice crushing capabilities. If you cannot get such a blender, you should invest in a freestanding ice crusher, independent of the blender.

TONGS and an ICE BUCKET are necessary for the sanitary storage and transfer of ice cubes. Not only will things be more hygienic but the ice bucket will help prevent the melting (and subsequent mess) of your ice cubes.

The BAR MEASURE or JIGGER is indispensable in making accurate measurements. One side of a stainless steel JIGGER holds 1-1/2 oz (50 ml) of liquid; the other side, called a PONY, holds 3/4 oz (25 ml). There is generally only one size to a glass jigger, one ounce (2 tablespoons).

A KNIFE and CUTTING BOARD are vital tools to have at hand for cutting ingredients and garnishes. Recommended are a sharp 4-inch long paring knife and a sharp kitchen knife of about 8 inches, such as a bread knife or tomato knife, with a spearlike tip. The sharper the knife, the simpler to make a clean cut. Watch for your fingers!

A POUR SPOUT or POURER gives you greater control when pouring from a bottle. Generally, it is a small bar tool made of plastic or rubber/metal which fits onto the neck of your liquor bottle. It gives you better control than pouring directly from the bottle. The most precise of the pour spouts are fashioned of a rubber cork fitted into the bottle and a metal spout which fits into the cork. Different styles of pour spouts include those of plastic, metal, neon, glow in the dark, slow pour (3 seconds per ounce), quick pour, screened, flapped, and measured.

Finally, to add a special something to your bar, use a GARNISH TRAY to hold all the accoutrements that give class to your presentation. Be sure to remember to place out skewers, plastic swords, paper parasols, flags, etc. along with your cocktail napkins, straws, and stirrers. Suggested garnishes might include lemon and orange slices/wedges, maraschino cherries, celery stalks, olives, and cocktail onions – whatever your imagination conjures up to tantalize your taste buds.

Cheers!

Terry Kaufman is Chief Editorial Writer for niftyhomebar.com/” target=”_blank” >Niftyhomebar.com and niftykitchen.com/” target=”_blank” >Niftykitchen.com. For much more on bar tools, see niftyhomebar.com/site/372135/page/53897″ target=”_blank” >Niftyhomebar.com Bar and Wine Tools.

©2007 Terry Kaufman.



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