Bar Tool Recommendations

Bar Tool Recommendations
Over the years, I’ve become pretty picky about the tools that I recommend for use behind the bar. Too many tools are poorly designed, break too often or are just plain uncomfortable to use. On this page I wanted to tell you about the bar tools that I recommend, and why.

 

By the Way:

You should know that some of the tools we recommend below are actually our very own products for sale. That’s because we became frustrated with the poor selection on Amazon and started our own brand to fill in the gaps. Some of the other products below have “Affiliate links”.

Either way, if you buy something after clicking a link on this page, it might just help us support this website. Thank you for your support!

 

Professional Craft Bar Set

If you’re starting from scratch, it might seem intimidating to look at a long list of bar tools and wonder where to start. Skip the list and consider this set instead. We designed this set to be a complete, high-quality set of the tools anyone would need to make pretty much any craft cocktail:

  • Boston Shaker Set
  • Bar Spoon
  • Muddler
  • All three strainers (Hawthorne, Julep and Fine)
  • Japanese style Jigger
  • … and six cocktail picks for good measure.

Oh, and we’ve also included instructions and recipes inside the lid, so it makes a great gift! Aunt Betty will be mixing up great cocktails in no time. (But she’ll probably ask you for tips – sorry, we can’t help with that!)

 

 

Individual Tool Recommendations:

It’s taken years for me to stock my bar with the best bar equipment. I put this list together so you can take my experience and stock your bar right.

 

 

Strainers

No bar would be complete without a full set of the three most common strainers.  I use all three of these all the time.  For a quick review of how and when to use each, check out our video on Bartending Tools – Strainers

Update International Julep Strainer

Update International Julep Strainer

Price:$4.63

Julep strainers are usually pretty inexpensive and it’s hard to go wrong. Here’s a pretty standard, inexpensive option.

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Hawthorne Strainer by Top Shelf Bar Supply

Hawthorne Strainer by Top Shelf Bar Supply

Price:$10.95

This Hawthorne strainer was custom designed (from scratch) by Chris, to solve all his frustrations with other strainers on the market. It has a compact, ergonomic design, a high density spring, and is made with high quality SS304 so it will last!

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We designed this product and sell it on Amazon under our other company name, "Top Shelf Bar Supply." That said, we really do believe it's the best one out there - I think you'll agree!

Stainless Steel 3 Inch Conical Strainer

Stainless Steel 3 Inch Conical Strainer

Price:$8.99

This fine strainer is big enough that it doesn’t create a bottleneck when fine-straining. You’ll want to ensure your whole cocktail can fit in the strainer at once, as this makes the process go much quicker.

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Jiggers & Measurement

Another quintessential bar tool, jiggers are important for quickly and accurately measuring your ingredients.

Stainless Steel Japanese Style Jigger

Stainless Steel Japanese Style Jigger

Price:$9.88

Japanese style jiggers look great and usually have multiple etchings on the inside, allowing them to measure multiple quantities. However, they are generally a bit more expensive than traditional jigger sets.

Buy Now on Amazon

 

 

 

Cocktail Shakers

Shakers are one of the first things people think of when stocking their bar.  While there are a few different types of shakers, I generally recommend the Boston Shaker. For a quick review of how and when to use each type, check out our video on Bartending Tools – Shakers.

As for which Boston Shaker to buy, here’s ours. It’s a great choice because the two tins fit together beautifully with a nice, tight seal – but still come apart when you want them to.

Stainless Steel Boston Shaker Set

Stainless Steel Boston Shaker Set

Price:$19.99

This is my ideal Boston shaker combination. The larger tin is weighted to add rigidity but the smaller is unweighted to give the best seal.

Buy Now on Amazon

Note: not only is this our top choice, it's actually our product! Buying this shaker on Amazon helps support A Bar Above - thanks!

 

 

 

The Mixing Glass

A good, durable and nice looking Mixing Glass is a staple for any bar looking to make craft cocktails.

Seamless 750 ML Yarai Mixing Glass

Seamless 750 ML Yarai Mixing Glass

Price:$29.95

Yarai-style mixing glasses are much higher quality than they were five years ago. This one is also seamless, which increases its durability.

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Bar Spoons

If you listen to our podcast, you know that I have a bit of a “bar spoon problem” (I can quit whenever I want!) But you don’t need a dozen bar spoons. Here are three recommendations for beginners, pro’s and bar spoon addicts like me.

Endurance Stainless Steel Long Handle Drink Spoon

Endurance Stainless Steel Long Handle Drink Spoon

Price:$5.50

This is a perfect bar spoon for beginners. The smaller “bowl” allows it to travel through the ice easily, and the shaft is smooth which allows for easier stirring if you’re a beginner.

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11-Inch Stainless Steel Bar Spoon

11-Inch Stainless Steel Bar Spoon

Price:$4.99

A very common, everyday bar spoon. It has a larger bowl and a “spiral” handle that’s for stirring once you get the hang of it. It’s also very inexpensive. (I usually take the red cap off of mine.)

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Alessi Cocktail Stirrer

Alessi Cocktail Stirrer

Price:$37.00

While this spoon lacks any kind of bowl, I love the look and feel of it. The heavier weight allows you to use less effort to stir, and the flat face of the spoon allows you to stir freely without getting hung up on the ice. But yes – it is a $30+ bar spoon, and beautiful, but completely unnecessary!

Buy Now on Amazon

 

 

 

Muddler

A good muddler is a necessity, and the right one will outlast your career (and possibly your kids’ careers too.) Here’s one that I recommend.

Drink Muddler - 11 inch Bamboo

Drink Muddler - 11 inch Bamboo

Price:$24.97

Thou Shalt Not Buy Short Muddlers. The standard 8" muddler will result in bruised and bloody knuckles from hitting them against the side of the glass. This one is 11" (my minimum) and hardwood. It'll last you forever.

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Cocktail Picks

Cocktail picks open up a world of possibilities for awesome garnishes. We are partial to reusable, stainless picks because they are better for the environment, won’t splinter, and they are also stronger and sharper than wood or plastic versions.

Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks: 4

Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks: 4"

Price:$8.82

For drinks served in smaller glasses like coupes, martini glasses or rocks glasses, this shorter pick is the perfect choice. It's simple, elegant, and sharp!

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Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks: 8

Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks: 8"

Price:$12.88

When making cocktails in a Collins glass, like a Bloody Mary or Pimm's Cup - you're going to need a longer pick. Here's an 8" version that will work beautifully in your highball creations.

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Bar Mats

An important part of any bar, and a huge improvement for any home bar – a bar mat gives you a place to set your glassware and bar tools while you’re preparing your drink, as well as a safe place for spills.

In our opinion, there’s one bar mat that’s the best choice by far – because we made it! But also because it’s extra thick, durable, and actually safe to set food on (unlike those rubber ones you typically see.)

Heavy Duty Silicone Bar Mat

Heavy Duty Silicone Bar Mat

Price:$21.99

A bit of research revealed two things about common rubber bar mats: they curl and warp with age, and they aren't actually safe for food contact. So we created these heavy duty silicone bar mats to solve both problems. Beefy, durable and safe. And they look great too!

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