Food & Drink

5 Ways to Use Common Kitchen Tools as Bartending Tools

Mark Yocca / Supercall

We’ll admit it: Bartending tools are expensive. Just the basics—a jigger, a strainer, and a shaker tin—come to around $50. And that cost that doesn’t even begin to include mixing glasses, bar spoons or ice tools.

If you’re unwilling to spend the money—or just haven’t gotten around to stocking up on everything you need yet—there are a few everyday kitchen tools that you can use instead. And even if you did splurge on bartending tools, there may come a time when you find yourself in a situation when you need to improvise with kitchen basics. Here are five ways to use your kitchen tools as bartending tools.

Mark Yocca / Supercall

Use a Measuring Cup as a Jigger

A measuring cup not only works well for larger, batched cocktails, but single serving drinks as well. The standard pour for the base liquor in classic cocktails is generally two ounces, which equals exactly one quarter-cup. For smaller pours, grab your handy tablespoon, which equals one half-ounce.

Mark Yocca / Supercall

Use a Mason Jar as a Shaker Tin

A lidded Mason jar is the perfect replacement for a cocktail shaker. To use, simply measure out your drink into the jar, add ice, seal and shake. Bonus: You can drink your cocktail right out of the Mason jar when you’re done shaking. Just add a straw.

Mark Yocca / Supercall

Use Chopsticks as a Bar Spoon

Chopsticks are light and nimble enough to get a good spin going in the cocktail without putting strain on your wrist. Hold the chopstick up high and stir against the mixing glass (a pint glass will also work).

Mark Yocca / Supercall

Use a Slotted Spoon as a Julep Strainer

The slotted spoon is the perfect way to strain a just-stirred Manhattan or Martini if you’re missing a julep or Hawthorne strainer. Simply turn the spoon upside down, resting the handle on the lip of the mixing glass (or Mason jar). Hold the glass in your dominant hand with your pointer finger over the handle of the spoon to keep it in place and pour the drink into a glass. One thing to keep in mind: The spoon will only work for larger ice cubes and not crushed ice. To keep bits of fruit or herbs out of your cocktail, use the slotted spoon in conjunction with a tea strainer (or mesh strainer) for a double-strained cocktail.

Mark Yocca / Supercall

Use the Butt of Wooden Spoon as a Muddler

Find the fattest, heftiest wooden spoon that you can find in your kitchen. Your improvised muddler should have a wide enough base to flatten out those delicious herbs and fruits that you want to pound into your drink. For the best leverage when muddling, hold the spoon at the crux of the handle where it meets the spoon.