Bar Tools: The Ultimate Bartender’s Checklist

As a bartender, having the right bar tools at your disposal is essential to creating exquisite cocktails and providing outstanding service to your patrons. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore a variety of must-have tools, ensuring you’re well-equipped to conquer the world of mixology. From the versatile Boston shaker to the indispensable julep strainer, we’ve got you covered.


Shakers are fundamental in the world of bartending, as they effectively mix ingredients and chill your cocktails simultaneously.

Boston Shaker

A popular choice among professional bartenders, the Boston shaker comprises two parts: a metal tin and a glass mixing glass. To use, simply add ingredients to the mixing glass, place the tin on top, and give it a firm tap to create a seal. Shake vigorously, and voilà – your cocktail is ready. The Boston shaker boasts a larger capacity compared to other shakers and is relatively easy to clean. However, it does require some practice to perfect the sealing and unsealing process.

Cobbler Shaker

The Cobbler shaker, also known as a three-piece cocktail shaker, features a built-in strainer, a metal tin, and a cap. This all-in-one design makes it user-friendly and perfect for beginners. While its compact size is ideal for home use, it can be challenging to clean and may not withstand the rigors of a high-volume bar.

French Shaker

Similar to the Boston shaker, the French shaker consists of two metal tins that fit together (more details). This elegant and stylish shaker offers a tight seal and is easy to use, according to However, it can be more expensive than other shakers and typically has a smaller capacity.


Strainers are essential bar tools that separate ice and other solid ingredients from your cocktail, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable drinking experience.

Hawthorne Strainer

Featuring a flat, perforated disc and a coiled spring, the Hawthorne strainer fits snugly on top of a shaker tin or mixing glass. This versatile strainer is easy to use and works well with a wide range of glassware. However, its coil may require regular cleaning to prevent residue buildup.

Julep Strainer

Resembling a large, perforated spoon, the julep strainer is designed for use with a cocktail mixing glass. Its flat, bowl-shaped design allows for easy pouring, while its handle ensures a comfortable grip. Although less versatile than the Hawthorne strainer, the julep strainer is an excellent option for stirred cocktails.

Mixing Glasses and Spoons

Mixing Glass

A mixing glass is a vital tool for stirred cocktails, as it allows for gentle blending of ingredients without over-dilution. Often made of thick, weighted glass, a quality mixing glass is not only functional but also visually appealing. A downside to mixing glasses is their fragility, as they are more prone to breakage compared to metal shakers.

Bar Spoon

A long, slender bar spoon is essential for gently stirring and blending ingredients in a mixing glass. Its twisted handle allows for a smooth and controlled stirring motion, while its flat end can be used to muddle ingredients or crush sugar cubes. The bar spoon’s simplicity and versatility make it indispensable in any bartender’s toolkit.

Jiggers and Measuring Tools

Accurate measurements are crucial for crafting consistently delicious cocktails.


A jigger is a small, hourglass-shaped measuring tool that comes in various sizes and capacities. With its dual-ended design, a jigger allows for precise measurements of both large and small volumes of liquid. While it can take some practice to pour accurately, a jigger is an essential tool for maintaining consistency in your cocktails.

Measuring Cup

Measuring cups offer another option for gauging liquid volumes. With clear markings and easy-to-read measurements, these cups ensure accuracy in your cocktail preparation. They may not be as compact as a jigger, but they do provide a reliable alternative for measuring ingredients.

Graduated Cylinder

For those seeking ultimate precision, a graduated cylinder is a laboratory-grade measuring tool that ensures exact measurements. While not as common in bars, a graduated cylinder can be an excellent addition to a mixologist’s arsenal, particularly when crafting experimental or intricate cocktails.

Muddlers and Citrus Juicers

Muddlers and citrus juicers are essential for extracting maximum flavor from fresh fruits and herbs.


A muddler is a wooden or metal tool used to crush or mash ingredients, such as fruits or herbs, releasing their flavors and essential oils. Available in various lengths and designs, a good muddler should be comfortable to hold and easy to clean. Be cautious when muddling delicate ingredients, as over-muddling can result in a bitter taste.

Handheld Citrus Juicer

A handheld citrus juicer is a simple yet effective tool for extracting juice from lemons, limes, and other small citrus fruits. With its easy-to-use design, a handheld juicer ensures that you can quickly add fresh citrus to your cocktails. However, it may not be the most efficient option for juicing large quantities of fruit.

Tabletop Citrus Press

A tabletop citrus press is a more robust option for juicing larger fruits or higher volumes of citrus. With its lever-action mechanism, a tabletop press allows for efficient and effortless extraction of juice. While it may take up more space than a handheld juicer, its speed and ease of use make it a valuable addition to any busy bar.

Garnishing Tools

Garnishing tools are essential for adding the finishing touches to your cocktails, enhancing both their appearance and flavor.

Channel Knife

A channel knife is a small, specialized tool designed to create thin strips of citrus peel for garnishing cocktails. With its sharp, V-shaped blade, a channel knife allows for precise and intricate cuts, adding a professional touch to your drinks.


A zester is a handy tool for creating fine shavings of citrus zest, which can add a burst of flavor and aroma to your cocktails. Its small, sharp holes make it easy to create delicate garnishes, while its ergonomic handle ensures a comfortable grip.


A peeler is a versatile tool that can be used for creating both fruit and vegetable garnishes. With its sharp, swiveling blade, a peeler allows for quick and easy removal of thin strips of peel, which can be used to add color and flair to your drinks.

Miscellaneous Bar Tools

In addition to the bar tools discussed above, several other items can enhance your bartending experience.

Bar Blade/Bottle Opener

A bar blade or bottle opener is a simple, flat tool used to remove bottle caps with ease. With its slim design and sturdy construction, a bar blade can be easily stored and is essential for any bartender working with bottled beverages.

Wine Key/Corkscrew

A wine key, also known as a corkscrew, is an indispensable tool for opening bottles of wine. Available in various styles and designs, a quality wine key should provide a secure grip and leverage, ensuring smooth and effortless cork removal.

Ice Tools

  • Ice Scoop – An ice scoop is a must-have tool for safely and efficiently transferring ice from an ice bin to your shaker or glass. Made from metal or plastic, ice scoops come in different sizes to accommodate various ice types and quantities.
  • Ice Tongs – Ice tongs are perfect for handling individual ice cubes or larger ice chunks. They allow for precise placement of ice in your glassware, ensuring that your cocktails are chilled to perfection.
  • Ice Crusher – An ice crusher is a valuable tool for creating crushed ice, which is ideal for certain cocktails and mixed drinks. Available in manual or electric models, an ice crusher can quickly and easily transform ice cubes into a more desirable form.

Bar Towel

A bar towel is essential for maintaining a clean and organized workspace. It can be used to wipe down surfaces, clean up spills, and dry glassware. Investing in high-quality, absorbent bar towels will help keep your bar area looking professional and inviting.

Having the right bar tools, from A Bar Above, at your disposal is crucial to your success as a bartender. From the versatile Boston shaker to the indispensable julep strainer, each tool plays a vital role in creating exceptional cocktails and providing outstanding service. By investing in quality tools and honing your skills, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a master mixologist. Cheers to your future success!

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