To become a skilled bartender and learn the art of preparing excellent cocktails, it is necessary to have the right equipment. Here is a list of the essential cocktail accessories and utensils you cannot afford to be without:
Shaker. A bottle-like recipient with an opening at the top. Its function is that of mixing all the ingredients. To do its job correctly, it has to be shaken energetically with a rotating movement, from 5 to 20 seconds, firmly gripped in both hands.
Boston Shaker (American). It differs from an ordinary shaker in as much as it has a section in metal and another in glass or plastic where the ingredients are placed. Generally, it holds more and is used to make 3/4 cocktails.
Cobbler Shaker. Unlike the Boston Shaker and the more commonplace shaker, this is a three-piece utensil consisting of a tin, a built-in strainer and a cap, also useful for measuring ingredients. It makes the use of a traditional strainer superfluous. Take care to close the shaker properly before use, to avoid any liquid leakage.
Mixing Glass. A glass with a spout for measuring and mixing all those drinks that are stirred so that the liquid remains clear and limpid (shakers in fact make the liquid ‘cloudy’). The correct way to proceed is to fill it up to three quarters with ice in order to cool the glass and then pour off any excess water. Then the ingredients are added and stirred with a spoon (Bar Spoon) before being poured through a Strainer to retain the ice.
Strainer. Fitted with a handle, this strainer must be of the same diameter as the mixing glass or shaker. There are various types available but the most famous of all is certainly the Hawthorn, flat and spoon-shaped with a steel spring. Another version is the more simply shaped Julep, which resembles traditional kitchen strainers. It serves to trap the ice and any residual fruit or vegetables when pouring the content into glasses.
Bar Spoon or Stirring spoon. A long spoon for stirring cocktails that are not shaken. The stirring spoon has a twisted handle to facilitate the task of mixing the ingredients. Pestle. Used in the preparation of crushed cocktails such as Mojito or Caipiroska. Pestles come in various shapes and sizes and some have a ridged base. It is also possible to find versions in coloured plastic or stainless steel.
Jigger. A measuring beaker used mainly in the USA, indicating the standard doses of various ingredients. Normally, a jigger will hold about 40 ml.