At a certain point, the training wheels must come off and you have to get yourself a big kid bike. The same goes for learning how make expert cocktails—you need expert tools to expand your horizons. You can only go so far with a basic set of jiggers, shakers and muddlers. If you’ve outgrown your current setup and need new gear to expand your bartending abilities, grab one of these advanced bartending tools to help you make cocktails like the pros.
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When a classy cocktail bartender mentions “spritzing” an ingredient over the finished drink, they’re using an atomizer to do that. Similar to rinsing the glass with a spirit, atomizing adds a delicate spray of an ingredient on top of a finished drink. Both methods inject a light touch of flavor to a cocktail, but the atomizer gives you more perfumed aromatics, which will be the first thing to hit a drinker’s nose—totally changing their perception of the drink.
If you can’t figure out why your cocktails never taste quite as good the ones you get from professional bartenders, take a look in freezer. That “plain” ice isn’t so plain. Whether you’re using dirty tap water or buying bags of ice that immediately turn into one giant ice block, you’re infusing a lot of muddy flavors into every drink you make. Get yourself a quality ice mold that can produce clear, clean ice cubes (or spheres!).
There has never been any real need for an iSi gun behind the bar, but the tool allows bartenders to change any liquid ingredient into a rich foam by charging it with pressurized gas. If you’ve mastered all the standard liquid techniques and weep for there are no more lands to conquer, consider taking on the foamy world of whips. From whipped creams to rapid infusions to molecular cocktailing methods a la Grant Achatz or Dave Arnold, the iSi whipper will certainly open up new possibilities.
Japanese bar tools are all the rage right now because they simply look stunning. But dropping your whole paycheck on imported tools only pays off if you know how to use them. A Japanese bitters dasher is the perfect place to start your lessons. The dasher constricts the output to about a third of a dash, allowing you to be more precise with your measurements so you can use stronger ingredients in even smaller increments.
You don’t have to use scotch to inject smoke into your cocktails. A smoking box connected to a smoking gun allows you to incorporate literal smoke into shaken and stirred drinks, layering on all sorts of complexly dry, bitter and ashen flavors. If you don’t want to spring for a smoking gun, you can replicate some of these effects with a crème brûlée torch by singeing an herb or fruit garnish.