Essential bar tools | Drink | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Essential bar tools

The second round of recommendations for your personal bar cart

As a bartender, I frequently get asked about the tools I use. Most often, people want to know what specific items they need at home in order to make decent drinks for themselves and friends. In an earlier column, I discussed three essential bar tools, but there's a few more we can add to the list.

What is it? Basically, a little metal measuring cup for your drink ingredients. They come in various shapes and sizes, and some have markings for different amounts (which is a really nice feature!)

Do I need it? If you're making drinks where proportions actually matter, yes.

Basic or Fancy? Basic. If you want to drop a bunch of cash on something that looks like a baby Holy Grail, go for it. But all you really need is something you can easily pour booze in and out of.

Bar Spoon
What is it? Pretty much the same thing as a regular spoon, just longer and skinnier. Used for stirring drinks, they can be anywhere from just under a foot long to something big enough for fencing practice.

Do I Need It? Yes. You could get away with using that orphaned chopstick in the back of your silverware drawer, but level up and get a real bar spoon.

Basic or Fancy? It's a personal choice. Check out places that sell kitchen and restaurant supplies to see which ones are a comfortable length/weight/shape. Some people like simple designs and others love the artsy-fartsy ones.


What is it? If you've ever peeled a potato, you've used one. It's basically a little gadget designed to shave a shallow strip of skin from fruits and veggies. 

Do I need it? Probably. A lot of classic cocktails are garnished with citrus twists, and a peeler is the best tool for quickly, easily, and consistently removing nice bits of rind from your fresh fruit.

Basic or Fancy? Depends. Some people treat them as disposable, buying cheap ones and throwing them out when they get dull or break. Some invest in better-quality models that will last longer and take more of a beating. It's really just a matter of how often you'll use it and how much you want to spend.

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