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Cocktail Clinic: Essential Bar Tools

Here are a few essential tools to have on hand for making almost any cocktail, and recipes that utilize this indispensable equipment.

Bar Spoon

A long-handled metal spoon used to mix and chill cocktails. Stirring doesn’t create cloudy air bubbles, so it’s preferable for spirits-only drinks, like martinis, which look best crystal clear. It’s also useful for measuring small amounts of liquid.

Recipes: Bellagio MistDon’t Give Up the Ship

Boston Shaker

The bartender’s choice, consisting of a pint glass with a metal canister that covers the top to create a seal. Measure ingredients into the glass and shake with the metal half pointing away from you. Strain the drink from the canister

More: Recipe: La SucetteMixologist’s 3 Best Tools

Cobbler Shaker

The most commonly used shaker, with a metal or glass vessel for mixing drinks with ice, a built-in strainer and a fitted top. Individual shakers accommodate less ice, so they don't chill drinks as well as larger shakers do.

Recipes: Watermelon MojitoPepper Delicious

Channel Knife

A small spoon-shaped knife with a metal tooth used for peeling long, thin fancy spiral twists from citrus fruit for garnish. A sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler works best for the wider citrus twists that are flamed.

Recipes: Kirs NormandIced Teaquila

Citrus Juicer

A shallow dish with a reaming cone, a spout and often a strainer that’s used to separate juice from pulp. Juices are best the day they’re squeezed, but orange and grapefruit juices can hold for up to two days in the refrigerator.

Recipes: Michelle’s DrinkBlood Orange Margaritas

Hawthorne Strainer

The best all-purpose strainer. This round metal device has a semicircular spring that ensures a snug, spill-proof fit on top of a shaker. Look for a tightly coiled spring, which will keep muddled fruit and herbs out of your drink.

Recipes: Seasonal Vodka GimletCheval

Ice Pick

A sharp metal tool with a sturdy handle used to break off chunks of ice from a larger block of ice.


A two-sided stainless steel measuring instrument. It’s indispensable for quick, precise mixing. Look for one with 1/2- and 1-ounce cups. A shot glass with measurements works well, too.



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