Monday, October 5, 2009

Bringing the Bar Home, Part 1: Tools

So you just stumbled out of your new favorite bar. Great atmosphere, great tunes, and some of the best cocktails you have ever had. You are truly inspired by your recent boozy bliss, so much so that you must recreate this experience as much as possible. Unfortunately, as you might discover on your crumpled up credit card receipt the next morning, quality drinks come at a price. So now what? Therein lies the magic of the Home Bar.


Like every task in life, it helps to have the right tools. So here is a quick rundown of tools to help make better drinks.

Boston Tin and Mixing Glass: Avoid the three-piece and learn to shake like a pro.

Hawthorne Strainer: Nothing feels better than slapping a strainer onto a freshly shaken tin and pouring out the perfect drink. Don't believe me? Get one and try it out. And if you are in to stirred drinks, the Julep Strainer is the tool of choice.

Bar Spoon: Save yourself the trouble of trying to stir with a tablespoon. Spend the four bucks on a bar spoon and see how much easier it is to stir that Old Fashioned.

Muddler: You'd be surprised how many uses a muddler has besides Mojitos. Anytime you need to extract a flavor, this is your go to.

Jigger: There is a reason that some of the best bartenders in the world still use these handy tools after all their years of experience. Like a piece of art, the best cocktails are well-balanced.

Peeler: All these years I have been tearing the skin off of citrus fruits, not knowing what greatness lay right below the surface: essential oils. Squeezing the peel over the drink brings that added olfactory touch to an already delicious drink.

Ice: A tool? Yep. The most important at that. Ice will inevitably melt into a drink, whether it is during preparation or consumption. Do yourself a favor and make sure your ice tastes good. And if the ice your fridge is spitting out doesn't work well, get yourself a few trays and start making them by hand with filtered or distilled water.

Glassware: Just like the food adage, you drink with your eyes first. Make sure your drink looks appealing by getting the right glassware. Three classics are the old fashioned glass, or bucket, the highball glass, and, of course, the cocktail glass (FYI: there is no such thing as a martini glass, sorry).

Drinking at home can pose problems though. To quote Steve Allen:

"Do not allow children to mix drinks. It is unseemly and they use too much vermouth."


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