Essential Bartender Tools & Equipment Every Bar Should Have in 2021 (The Essential Bar Tools Guide)

The bar industry is a booming business. With the cocktail renaissance in full swing, more people are looking for quality drinks and bars that can provide them. This has led to an influx of new bars opening up across the country, as well as many bartenders looking for work. While this is great news for bartenders who want to find a job, it also means that there are now more bars than ever before vying for customers who have limited time and money. If you're running one of these establishments or are just thinking about starting your own bar, then we recommend reading on!

Bartender Tools You’ll Need for Success

To help make your life easier though, we recommend reading on: We have plenty of tips about how you can get ahead while running one of these establishments or thinking about starting your own bar so be sure to read all our

Cocktail Strainers

A cocktail strainer is a utensil used to remove solids from cocktails and other liquids. This tool is typically employed after shaken drinks, catching any fruit bits or ice in the liquid before it goes out. There are three basic types of strainers:


Julep Strainer

The Julep Strainer is a scoop-shaped cup with a handle and was originally used to serve Mint Juleps before the drinking straw became popular. The bartender would place the strainer in front of someone without ice and mint spilling on them. A Hawthorne strainer is best used for straining drinks in cups, while this solid steel mesh sieve will fit into a pint glass much more easily and generally produces better results.


Hawthorne Strainer

Here is a bar tool composed of a disc, a handle and two stabilizing prongs. That’s the one that you use to remove ice or other large ingredients such as muddled fruit from your cocktail before pouring. When in use, the metal spring will fit inside the mixing tin so that it can filter out ice and other solid ingredients.


Fine-Mesh Strainer

This bar tool is composed of a disk, handle, two (or more) stabilizing prongs, and a metal spring. The metal bar accessory is used to remove ice from cocktails as you pour them into glasses. When in use, the metal spring will fit inside a mixing tin that helps to filter out ice so the rim of your strainer.


Bar Spoons

A stirring spoon, also known as a cocktail stirrer, is the perfect tool for bartenders to measure, layer and stir cocktails. Its stainless steel construction is sturdy and can be washed clean with soap and water. Not only does it give your customers their drinks their preferred taste but it won’t affect the flavor of your customer’s. There are three types of bar spoons:


The Japanese

One of the essentials. This bar spoon is that it is slimmer and a little longer. The end of its handle has a variety of designs, such as one with a fork for grabbing garnishes like olives or shaped like a teardrop.


The European

This spoon is built out of a thicker, sturdier metal than others on the market. It has been polished to a high shine and has an attached hammer that you use for muddling ingredients.

The American

This specific style of bar spoon has a simple, twisted handle with the lid on one end and a red plastic cap placed on the other. The spoons are usually easy to find and functional and inexpensive.

Cocktail Shakers

A cocktail shaker is also on the list of valuable bar accessories that you should never go without. The item is useful when mixing cocktails such as cosmopolitans and martinis. It eases the idea of having to come up with a perfect blend that has balanced flavors. It is the best choice if you are looking for something much cheaper than a cocktail mixer as well. Most bartenders and mixologists use it when making a single cocktail. What makes it even more remarkable is that you can use it to make both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. You should, however, make sure you rinse the shaker well enough when switching between those two categories.

The item enables you to diversify drinks and makes it easy to explore new recipes. There are also various types of cocktail shakers for you to pick from, including Parisian, Cobbler, and Boston cocktail shakers. The easiest shaker to use is the Cobbler or the 3-piece cocktail shaker. That is because it comes with a lid and a strainer making the mixing fun. When picking a type of shaker, you should ask yourself what your level of expertise is and how you like your cocktails. If you are an expert, consider the Boston shaker. There are three basic cocktail shakers:


Boston Shaker

This cocktail shaker is a two-piece tool. It's composed of one larger mixing glass and one smaller one. Usually the larger mixing glass is tin, and the smaller mixing glass is your standard pint or midsized mug. When using this tool to shake a drink, it’s essential to make sure that its seal (the top). Be careful when separating the two parts, as the pint glass is fragile. This mix shaker is quick to use and easy to clean, but requires more skill than the Cobbler Shaker, which does not have an integrated strainer.


Cobbler Shaker

The patent-pending three-piece shaker, including a tin, and lid as well as a cap to cover the strainer. This strainer can be operated by hand but it is sometimes slower than other bar tools out there.


French Shaker

For a less expensive alternative, bar tools expert Rebecca Katz recommends the Parisian Shaker. It’s very similar to the Cobbler Shaker but it is only two pieces and avoided having a built in strainer. The shakers are also more stylish than other options and can be quite difficult to find.


All the other tools you might need


Funnel

The most widely used tool in your bar, a funnel is shaped with a wide mouth and narrow stem to be used for decanting flavored syrups and spirits into bottles. A leak at this stage of the game can cause an accidental sticky mess all over the bar area, so make sure you have one available when pouring wine, vodka or even raspberry


Speed Opener

The speed opener can quickly remove bottle caps from beer bottles and is double cut for ease of use. It can also be stored in a pocket, so it’s great for bartenders who want to show off their skills or who are looking for an entertaining tool during a down time. It's also known as a bar blade, church key, flat, popper, or mamba.


Muddler

A muddler is a vital bartending tool that is not only inexpensive but also useful. Most bartenders use muddlers to make cocktails  like mojitos. That is, however, not the only cocktail a muddler can help you to craft. Other cocktails that require muddling include caipirinhas, mint Julep, caipiroska, and whiskey smash. The tool helps you crush or smash fruits, herbs, and sugar. Doing so allows you to bring out the distinct taste of the cocktail and also achieve an excellent blend. In addition, you have to know how to use a muddler to avoid making a mess when creating a drink.

Muddlers come in different styles and designs. Some have metallic or plastic finishes. Others have wood finishes to bring out the authentic taste of the cocktails. They are so far the most recommended muddlers. In case you have a wooden type, make sure you wash and dry them manually. That way, they are bound to last longer, providing you with excellent service all through. When it comes to the style of the muddler, you need to go for one that is slim. Such a tool will give you more control when crafting your desirable cocktail.


Pour Spout

Pour spouts are used to easily and quickly pour drinks without wasting product, reducing messes and spillage. Spoons can sometimes be awkward to manipulate when pouring into a glass or a shaker tin, so pour spouts ensure an easier flow of liquid while minimizing waste.


Paring Knife

Usually when people think of cocktails, they think of liquids like mint leaves and lemon wedges. The tool you need to make your garnishes juuuuust right comes in a form that’s almost just as versatile. Not only can this tool help you prep for crafting drinks, it also makes tasks like cutting peels easy.


Jigger

A jigger is the type of instrument that bartenders use to ensure the last cocktail is similar to the current cocktail in terms of both flavor and quantity. It also ensures that you are not over pouring your cocktails. These items come in different sizes, weights, and materials. The smallest jigger has a capacity of 0.25oz. You can, however, opt for bigger ones that can accumulate a total of 2oz. But to be on the safe side, go for a variety of jiggers.


Wine Key

A traditional champagne bottle opener is what many restaurants and bars require their servers to use. Sommeliers also prefer this type of wine opener. The wine key is essentially three tools in one—a knife, a corkscrew, and a bottle opener. The knife is used to cut through the seal on the top of a wine bottle, and the corkscrew is used to twist out all types of wine. A bottle opener is helpful for opening beer bottles.


Champagne Stopper

If you serve wine or champagne by the glass, a champagne stopper is absolutely essential in any bartenders barware inventory. Expensive bottles of fine wine and bubbly flute glasses will last longer when they aren’t handled with your hands near the cork! Once it’s open, use this tool to tightly reseal a champagne bottle.


Channel Zester

A garnish is a crucial part of almost any cocktail. A twist citrus zester is an awesome tool for creating classic twisted zest and for infusing the drink with the oils from fruits.


Ice buckets

Ice buckets will forever be one of the most essential bar tools. These work as portable coolers to keep drinks cold for a more extended period. Ice buckets come in handy whenever the customer wants to have his or her drinks slowly without their temperature rising due to various reasons. You can use ice buckets to hold bottles of wine, champagne, water, and even several cans of Tecate beer.

You can also use ice buckets to hold ice straight from the crusher or refrigerator. That is why most ice buckets come with matching tongs to enable you to pick up ice and drop it into your customer’s drink.

When selecting the right ice bucket, you need to consider various factors, including the color and material of the it. Most buckets come in stainless steel material with a shiny surface that makes them look more attractive. Others, however, come in plastic materials. These buckets are very rare since they can easily break, and they are not as practical as stainless steel ice buckets. You also need to look at the shape of the bucket. Do you want it cylindrical, rectangular or conical? That depends on your personal or individual taste.

Ice crusher

There are many instances where the only way to come up with delicious cocktails or refreshing drinks is with the help of an ice crusher. It comes in handy whenever you want to break or crush ice to a specific size as per the requirement of your signature cocktail. Crushed ice is also useful whenever you want to reduce the temperature of the drink to suit an individual’s needs. Depending on your bar size, you can opt for manual, electric, or bar blender ice crushers. Each type has its unique advantage, so it’s up to you to choose which one best suits your needs.

It is also advisable that you look for an ice crusher that is portable so you are not constrained to one location whenever you are operating the item. Some people tend to opt for commercially made ice, but the main disadvantage is that it increases your operation cost. With an ice crusher, you don’t have to worry about spending more money purchasing the right size of crushed ice. All you have to do is make the ice yourself in the comfort of your own bar. It is among the essential bar tools should have if you want to improve your working environment.


Ice Tongs/Ice Scoop

How else would you pick up ice? And don’t say with your hands or with a glass! Ice is essential for practically every beverage you create. So make sure you follow health and safety practices, and keep one of these tools next to your ice bin.


Mixing Glass

The cocktail glasses we typically use at home to mix up cocktails can be difficult for bartenders to work with. A crystal-shaped glass like this that has straight sides and a spout on the bottom is sturdier than your typical pint glass, but still pretty enough to hold onto even when it comes time to serve drinks.


Y Peeler

This tool is characterized by its shape - curved to be easy-to-store and provide a sharp blade. It can also be used for creating beautiful beverage garnishes.


Lewis Ice Bag

If your drink recipe calls for crushed ice and you don’t have any, an ice bag is a great way to make the ice. Once commonplace in 19th-century bars, it is simple to operate with its heavy grade canvas bag and absorbs most of the water from the ice so your customers drinks are less watered down.


Juicer

When you’re making fresh cocktails at home, it can be helpful to include some freshly squeezed juice in your recipes. As a bartender, juicer, also known as a lemon squeezer, citrus squeezer or Mexican juicer uses a lever-operated design with a hinged bowl and handles for effortlessly extracting fruit juice.


Absinthe Spoon

This slotted spoon helps dissolve sugar into the glass for absinthe-making. In a ritual called la Louche, Absinthe is poured elegantly over an ice-filled saucer to form the “dose” of Absinthe or lightly dripped onto sugar cubes so it can slowly dissolve into your drink


Spice Grater

Whether you’re looking to grate chocolate, cinnamon, or orange skins, a spice grater is a great addition to your behind-the-bar arsenal. This tool allows you to quickly and efficiently extract flavor for craft cocktails.


Toothpick

Even though toothpicks may seem insignificant, they are still useful bar tools. For example, a classic martini garnishes with olives would require toothpick-sized skewers for the fruit skewer to slide through the cocktail's spiraling stems and hold them in place.


Foil Cutter

Having a foil cutter at your bar can help make wine openers easier, and when you are opening up bottles of wine for the night, it’s an invaluable tool.


Butler’s Friend Corkscrew

Sometimes older wine corks can be difficult to remove, as they might have dried out or become brittle. However, the new Ah So cork screws from Butler’s Friend are designed to create a sturdy grip on the hard surface of a bottle neck without damaging it and making removal easier.


Matches

You might consider placing matches on bar services to serve flaming cocktails. Although laying a cigarette lighter works as well, candlesticks look more upscale when lighting drinks or garnishes in front of guests. Not only do flaming drinks look awesome but the act of igniting them also heightens their flavor.


Conclusion

With these bartender tools, you are sure of consistency for as long as you work behind the counter. In addition, you can use them to ensure you are using the right amount of ingredients before pouring them into a shaker or cocktail mixer. Any professional bartender will tell you that a jigger is a bartending tool that you should never underestimate.


Overall, the above are some of the most crucial bar tools that you should always have around if you want to serve cold drinks, flavorful cocktails, and the right amount of wines. Other bartending pieces of equipment you can also put in your list include a juicer, peeler, a zester, and a glass washer to ensure that you always have a clean glass. All of the bartender tools mentioned in this article play a unique role and should always be on hand.