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Top 10 Essential Bartending Tools for Beginners

Are you missing any of these essential tools?

An assortment of essential bartending tools for beginners.
An assortment of essential bartending tools for beginners.

We know why you’re here. You and your friend got drunk last night at the bar and came up with yet another brilliant idea, “Let’s open up a bar!” Why didn’t you think about it before? It’s genius. You continued to mock the bartender all night, saying, “I can do that.” 

You woke up this morning, hungover in the bathtub, with an email saying your bartending kit is on its way. You’re still feeling pretty confident until the package arrives and you open it up to find a long spoon, a cup, some sort of double-sided metallic thingy (you know the one), and a tiny net to catch butterflies. 

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You don’t know what you’re doing, do you? You’re an embarrassment. Stop crying. In this post, we will cover the top ten essential bartending tools for beginners and what each item is used for. We will also offer some suggestions so you can get to mixing as soon as possible. 

Jigger

Starting off our list of bartending tools for beginners the jigger. A measured shot container, usually double-sided, perfectly measured to specific proportions to be filled up with your desired spirit and then used to dump that spirit completely into your shaker. Most often, you see a Jigger with one side measuring up to 2.5 oz and the other side measuring up to 1oz. 

Bartender using a jigger; one of the essential bartending tools for beginners.
Bartender using a 1oz jigger.

There’s actually a pretty large variety of jiggers out there.

assortment of cocktail jiggers
Assortment of jiggers.

Fun fact; There are many explanations for the origin of the word “Jigger,” but none have been confirmed.

Shaker

The cauldron where all of the magic happens; and it’s probably the most iconic item in our ist of bartending tools for beginners. You’ll spend most of your time throwing a mixture of spirits, fruits, herbs, ice, and other accouterments will go in, get shaken like hell, and come out as a delicious cocktail. There are three types of shakers: the Parisian cocktail shaker, the Boston cocktail shaker, and the Cobler cocktail shaker. 

giphy
Dog shaking up cocktail. Source: Giphy.

The Parisian cocktail shaker

The Parisian cocktail shaker (also referred to as the french shaker) is a two-piece cocktail shaker. It doesn’t have a built-in strainer, so it’s essential that you have both by your side. Of the three types of shakers, you’ll get the tightest seal with this one, which is good because you won’t have to worry about spillage, but you might have a tough time trying to separate the top from the bottom after a nice shake. 

The Boston cocktail

The Boston cocktail shaker Also consists of two parts, the bottom being a metal tin and the tope either being an almost symmetrical tin or a glass cup. The Shaker tin holds roughly 28oz and accommodates the top tin to allow a tight grip, though not as tight as the Parisian cocktail shaker. The extra space allows for making more cocktails at a time. It saves room by stacking the tins into each other, and it’s probably the easiest to clean. However, you’ll still need a separate strainer for this one. 

The Cobbler cocktail shaker

The Cobbler cocktail shaker is a 3 part cocktail shaker. Like the Parisian Cocktail shaker, it has a tight top lid, but the top lid has a built-in strainer with small holes at the top and a lid to cover it when you’re done crafting your Cocktail. Unfortunately, its a bit smaller, and the fewer volume means less amount of cocktail-making capacity per shake. Also, if you’re incorporating an egg white in the mix, it’s just not an ideal shaker to use.

Strainer

When you are making a cocktail, a goal you should be striving for is to filter out all of the ice shards and other ingredients that you throw into your cocktail shaker without leaving any mouthwatering cocktail behind. 

Hawthorn Strainer

The Hawthorne strainer (the thing with the metal slinky attached to it) is perfectly designed to both filter and stabilize the pour as much as possible. The metal spring rolls into the edges of the shaker to seal a perfect fit. It helps prevent any shards of ice or other unwanted mixing ingredients from entering the Cocktail. 

The rim of the strainer does not need to touch the rim of the shaker. The two tiny metal prongs just assist with stabilization. And those holes on the strainer, well, you can guess what they do; They strain. 

Julep strainer

The Julep strainer is the OG, an artifact of the dawn of cocktails. Simple design, a bowl with a handle. You’ll probably recognize it as the spoon with holes in it. Although some Julep strainer are too big, most are meant to fit cozy inside of your shaker, thus separating all of the unwanted stuff while the liquid passes through. Of course, if you want it to fit inside of your shaker, it’ll be at an angle, but it’s pretty self-explanatory.

Fine Strainer

A fine mesh strainer, This might not be one that you’d expect in a list of bartending tools for beginners. but trust me, you’ll want to have one. The fine strainer is a kind of metal net if you will. It catches stuff. Bad stuff, yucky stuff. And then allows the juices to pass through. That simple right? Perhaps. I would argue that it allows just a little bit of pulp through whilst in use. Is that a bad thing? Maybe not. Maybe you want a little pulp action. 

bartender using a fine strainer
Bartender using a fine strainer.

Personally, I don’t enjoy cleaning fine strainers. They are effective at catching things like mint leaves, but you might have to go back and finally tweeze it out when you’re cleaning. But hey, to each their own.

If you want to learn a little more about these three strainers, check out this video from
Liquor.com as they demonstrate just how to use these essential bartending tools for beginners’ tools. Liquor.com is a great place to find other bartending tools for beginners so you should definitely check them out.

A professional bartender demonstrates how to strain a cocktail.

Cocktail Muddler

Ah, the muddler. Another essential tool in your bartending tools for beginners. The muddler is an essential tool in your Think of it as essential as a hammer, except for your cocktails. Some might even call it a cocktail hammer. Yeah, I went there. 

Okay, so let’s get into it. What you do is put the stuff in the shaker, i.e., mint leaves, sugar cube, lemons, etc. Then you grab the muddler and go to work. Start smashing, turning, and muddling until all the ingredients are mixed together. Muddlers can be made from wood, stainless steel, or plastic. 

giphy

Mixing spoon

Yes, we all know what a mixing spoon is used for, but stay with me here. Have you ever noticed that all of the cocktail mixing spoons are twisted? Now, why is that? I’ll tell you why. Think about it; you need to spin the spoon around the edges of your glass, most likely around your one cylindrical ice cube. If the spoon had any hard edges, it’d be pretty darn difficult to spin with your fingers. Furthermore, if it was just smooth on all edges, you’d probably drop it. 

 Mixing spoons are also used to “layer” drinks, meaning to pour the liquor through the nozzle against the twists, and the liquid will travel down the shaft and reach the bottom of the glass without spilling. The spoon itself holds about 5ml of liquid, but can vary from spoon to spoon. 

There are a few different spoon designs, The European bar spoon, the Japanese bar spoon, and the American bar spoon.

Ice tongs 

The Ice tongs pick up ice.

Pourers

It should go without saying that this is an essential bartending tool for beginners, yet here we are. Did you know there are a few different kinds? You have your speed pourer, your wine and kitchen pourer, The plastic pourers, the screened pourers, and a variety of different pourers. 

The speed pourer

The speed pourer is found most often in nightclubs, restaurants, snd bars. 

The plastic pourer, why does it exist? Well, if you’re working at a fast-paced bar, you might see more plastic pourers because bartenders both have a tendency to throw out pourers in the heat of the moment or are too busy to clean out all the pourers at the end of the night. Thus the plastic pourer is the cheaper and more disposable option. 

The Wine and Kitchen Pourer

The wine and kitchen pourer, the advantage, you can pour the liquid out of it, but also, you can cork the pourer to keep oxygen, dust, or anything else from getting in or out of it. Pretty much all other pourers do it just a little bit differently.  

Holder

We close up our shortlist of essential bartending tools for beginners with the thing that’s going to bring it all together. You’re creating a home bar, you’ll need something to hold all of your components together. Most cocktail holders are made of wood (some made of stainless steel), with either just a bottom section, whilst some have the bottom section with the third section serving as the roof. And they range from around $40 to $50. 

If style is a factor, you’ll be glad to know there’s no shortage of holders on the market, meaning you have a ton to choose from. So you shouldn’t have trouble finding one that suits your kit and home interior. Below are three great holders we chose specifically for beginners.

Remember, you can order your bartending kit in regular stainless steel or other color variations. Personally, I have my kit in rose gold because it adds a little more personality to the room. 

Conclusion: Bartending Tools for Beginners

Now all you need to know is what kind of alcohol you bar should always be stocked with.

So, are you missing any of these essential bartending tools for beginners? Let us know in the comments below. Click here to check out all of our blog posts. Thanks for reading and stay hammered.

Top 10 Essential Bartending Tools for Beginners.
Top 10 Essential Bartending Tools for Beginners.

Written by Julian Solorzano

Hailing from Queens, New York, Julian Solorzano served four years in the United States Air Force, traveling throughout Europe and experiencing the best of the local cultures, including their passion for good food and wine. He has since grown an appreciation for all things wine and mixology. Julian fuses that passion with his skills in writing, photography, and video production to share his passion with the world.

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