Essential Cocktail Tools

You needn't be a professional bartender to be able to mix cocktails, providing you use the appropriate tools for the job. You will certainly find some of the tools listed below already in your home, and you can always improvise with everyday kitchen equipment, the important feature is to remember that the utensils should be easy to clean, which is why stainless-steel items and glass are particularly suitable.
Bar Spoon - A good bar spoon is a very necessary tool for any good bartender. Besides being handy for extracting an olive from a gar, or aid you in layering a pousse cafe, it also shows that you understand that not all drinks are to be shaken. The twist of the metal along the shaft of the spoon is intended to aid you in twirling the spoon by simply holding the shaft between your thumb and fingers and "rolling" it.
Blender - An electric blender can be used for pulping, juicing and ice-crushing, but is a noisy addtion to a bar and cheats the traditional preparations using electricity.
Boston Shaker. - The Boston is made of two tumblers, one glass and one metal (stainless steel). The glass tumbler usually holds up to 500ml, whilst the metal tumbler holds up to 900ml and when the metal is placed over the glass, they form a seal and make a container for the shaking of the cocktail.
Measure out the ingredients into the glass tumbler, spirits and liqueurs first, followed by juicers & mixers, before addinmg the ice. Then, carefully positioning the inverted metal tumbler over top; give it a swift and firm tap with the heel of your hand to seal the two together. Test the seal by picking the two-part container up by the metal part and, gripping firmly with two hands, shake it well until the chill felt throught the metal tumbler begins to become too cold to hold.
Now, holding just the metal tumbler firmly, tap the metal tumbler just below the rim, right about the point where the glass comes in contact with it.
Never bang the shaker against the edge of the bar or other solid object in order to open it as this will often result in just cracking the glass.
Cobbler Shaker - This is the most classic of cocktail shakers that is made of three pieces. Normally in stainless steel and comprising of a metal tumbler, a snug fitting lid, and a small cap that fits over the lid that covers the strainer built into the lid. It is far easier to use than the Boston Shaker and by removing the top two sections of the shaker, add the ingredients and the ice. Then, replacing the top sections, shake the contents well. You then remove just the cap that is on the very top of the shaker, revealing the built-in strainer, and then simply strain the contents into the glass. When shaking cocktails with eggs, shake for longer, to allow them to emulsify.
Cocktail Picks - From the olive(s) in a Martini, to a special collage of garnishes that you might have settled on as your signature. The size and form that such a pick can take depends on how you plan to use it. A supply of extremely simple plastic picks should alwasys be on hand, but swords, mermaids, parasoles, and even a few long bamboo skewers are useful to have in your collection as well.
Corkscrew - There are almost hundreds to choose from but one that's easy to use is the easiest rule to go by. Favourites include the somelier's friend which has a corkscrew, a knife for foil cutting and a botlle opener and the winged corkscrew that you unscrew the cork and pull the handles down to release the cork.
Cutting Board - Traditionally, cutting boards were always of wood but nowadays, the more bacteria-beating plastic cutting boards are more favoured.
Hawthorn Strainer - This is by far the most common type of cocktail strainer which has a very unique look to it, with the wire "spring" that encircles the rim. The rolled spring around the edge of the strainer does a fine job of keeping the ice in the shaker but still allowing some of the fruit pulp, and even some small shards of ice into the glass. Traditionally you will find Hawthorn Strainers with either two or four prongs which stabilize it on the top of the shaker.
Ice Bucket & Tongs - An ice bucket with tongs and a lid will keep the ice for longer and offer an hygenic serving method.
Ice Crusher Jigger - A traditional jigger is a double sided device. With a large measure on one end, and a smaller one on the other. The larger measure is 50ml, and is called a "jigger". The smaller side is usually 25ml, and is referred to as a "pony".
Juicer - These can be a hand-held tool for smaller fruits such as lemons and limes, or for larger and juicier fruits, use a surface mounted juice presser which come with their own container for collecting the juices. Cold fruit from the fridge will only produce about half that of warm fruit! If cold, run under warm tap for twenty minutes before juicing.
Muddler - A wooden pestle used to crush an ingredient in order to release its oils, juices and flavours. When you make a Caipirinha (Cachaca & Limes), you will crush the lime quarters together with the granulated sugar, this will not only juice the limes, but it will also grind the sugar against the lime skin to better extract it's flavours and add it to the drink.
Julep Strainer - Essentially a single piece of metal, with a round, bowled surface that is studded with holes like a colander. Both of these styles of strainers have a specific purpose. When you are using Boston Shaker style of Cocktail Shaker, you will find that the Hawthorn Strainer fits very well in the metal half of the shaker, but it is usually a tight fit on the glass part. The Julep strainer on the other hand is too small for the metal part of the shaker, but fits nicely inside the glass part. Unlike the Hawthorn Strainer, the Julep Strainer doesn't fit across the top of the container, but instead fits gently within the glass at an angle, it takes a little bit of practice, but works quite well.
Knifes - Useful knifes include tHe paring knife of around 10cm long and an ordinary, sharp kitchen knife of about twice the length with a spear-like tip.
Soda Syphon - Many cocktails require soda. A soda syphon uses containerised water coupled with a carbon-dixide gas-cannister to create fresh, sparkling water.
Swizzle Sticks - The Swizzle Stick originated in the West Indies and was made from the dried stem of a tropical plant with a few small branches left on one end to stir the contents of the famouse Rum Swizzle until it fizzed over.