Although cocktails can be created with a minimum of good-quality ingredients, certain pieces of equipment are absolutely essential for even the most basic cocktails. You don’t need to spend a lot of money and you may find that you already own some of the equipment you will need for a outstanding cocktail party. The key is to have everything ready in advance, just in case you need to do any last-minute shopping.
The main piece of equipment is the shaker, there are two types: the Boston Shaker and the European Shaker. The Boston Shaker is literally two containers that are slightly conical in shape and one of which is made from glass and the other is a tin made from stainless steel. The ingredients are added to one with lots of ice, then they are both pushed together forming a perfect seal and then safely shaken combining the ingredients. Once ready, the drink is poured from the stainless steel container using the hawthorn strainer or using a little more technique, you loosen the shaker and pour holding each part with each hand horizontal without letting the ice go through. It’s best not to mix more than 2 servings of a cocktail at a time.
When it comes to making cocktails, a little more precision is required, so a set of this small measuring cup is another essential item.Often double-ended and sometimes shaped like an hourglass with the standard metric being 25ml, 35ml and 50ml. Many cocktails have exact measurements of alcohol and any deviation will alter the final flavour, so it’s important to fallow the recipe exactly. You can also use the small lid of your European Shaker, or a shot glass, or even a small egg cup.
Bottle Pourer Spouts:
Free-pouring is the method called to pour accurate measures by eye, a skill all good cocktail maker needs. These pourers are normally cork and chrome that fit in the bottle’s neck and provide a thin, constant stream of the liquid, They also help with the theatrical aspect of cocktail making – if that is something that appeals
A bar strainer or Hawthorn strainer is the perfect tool to prevent ice and other unwanted ingredients from being poured from the shaker or mixing glass into the serving glass. You could use a small sieve to achieve the same results, but the Hawthorn fits neatly over a the Boston Shaker.
Also a fine strainer or tea strainer is very useful, especially for drinks with lots of pulp or pips.
Bar spoons are really just long-handled teaspoons, used for stirring tall glasses or occasionally for light muddling duties: bruising mint leaves or basil leaves, for instance it can also be used for layering shooters, or for floats. The handle of the spoon is often twisted, which means it can be used to add small amounts of ingredients to drinks that need to sit on top or are delicate. The liquid is poured from the bottle onto the top of the spoon and then gradually and evenly makes its way down and around the handle until it reaches the surface of the drink itself.
Muddler: This is simply a miniature masher or rolling pin used for extracting the juice from fruits, crushing ingredients, such as herbs, spices and sugar in the base of a glass to release their flavour. You can also use a mortar and pestle or even the back of a spoon. They come in a few variety such as wooden, stainless steel and plastic.
Others: There is an endless list of little gizmos and accessories available to the cocktail aficionado, but you can make the most without having to invest hundreds of pounds in state-of-the-art tools, but if you plan on doing something extra, here’s a quick list: A good, sharp knife and a small chopping board are vital, a mexican elbow (citrus juicer) or reamer, a canelle knife, a citrus zester, a blender for creamy cocktails and slushes. You will also require an ice bucket and a bar scoop – a wine cooler or a large plastic container and a serving spoon should do the trick. Having said that, cocktail equipment always makes interesting birthday present ideas or stocking fillers and there are some really quirky little gadgets around that any drinks aficionado would be more than happy to receive.