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Looking to get just the right bar gear for your setup? Look no further, here's a list of BG Reynolds' favorites for your mixing, shaking and bartending needs. With these items, you'll be mixing like a pro in no time!
JIGGER: I've been through three million and one jigger variations, in just about every color and material. I keep going back to these. Great visibility on the amount you're pouring, 6 different measurements (though you have to eye ¼ oz), and fits great in the hand like a traditional jigger. Plus, as one piece, it won't snap into two pieces, as I've seen some metal jiggers do. One word of warning would be to keep a few on deck, as the plastic will start looking white and scratched/faded after some time, though that mostly comes from use in a commercial dishwasher. Would love a ¼ mark on it someday, but I'll love it as it is for now!
SHAKER: Give up those slippery, breakable, lop-sided glass and tin combos, also known as the Boston Shaker. Insulated tins don't give you the tactile feel of when the drink has hit the right temperature. These tins are my personal favorite, and I use them in my home bar. The slight weight at the bottom gives them a sense of heft, and the fit between the two tins is just perfect, no leaks. Plus, it's matchy matchy, and made to work together. You can even use the larger tin in place of a malt tin for your spindle mixer, though at times the lip may not catch.
SPINDLE MIXER: Forget the homeware crap. Those things are made to be replaced every 2-3 years. Get yourself one of these pro-grade beasties. It's an investment into some serious quality tropical drinks. Can't afford one new? Search eBay or your local vintage stores for used restaurant grade versions, I usually find one on a shelf every few weeks for anywhere from $60 to $150. It spins, it aerates, it mixes, and it doesn't crush the ice further! This is what will take your drinks from acceptable to legendary. Oh, and don't forget a Malt Tin, you can use shaker tins, but the thick lip on a malt tin catches more readily on the trigger.
SPEED POUR: If you're going to be making drinks for a party, or for more than 3-4 people, I can't recommend using speed pours enough. Set up your bottles with these and you'll be cutting a lot of time off your drink making. The wide spouts on the curved jet pour make them functional for bar syrups as well as liquor, though of course, the flow will be slower. The curve allows more control, so you don't end up sending a jet stream of liquor into your well. Do be sure to take them off or and recap or put something over them when the liquor bottles are not in use, unless you want a few little friends floating in your spirits.
STRAINER: I have used the OXO strainer for years for anything. The coil stays tight, and the feel in the hand is great. No overly long handle serving little purpose or occasionally jamming into a fingernail (it's happened). You also have more control over the flow with those three free-flow spaces above the strainer.
BAR SPOON: Okay, is this going to come into play in tiki drinks? Not typically. Is this the world's most functional or comfortable bar spoon? Not particularly. But it does have two things going for it, #1 purchasing this support "The Bum", who I always say wrote the words that make it sound like I know what I'm doing. #2, IT'S A FREAKING SKULL! SO COOL! Sometimes, you're allowed to switch total practicality out for a bit of flair, dangit.
With these, you should be on your path to a super awesome bartending kit. Pricey, yes, but worth it. Stay tuned for the next part, where I'll go over some garnish gear and extra equipment to have on deck for special situations. Cheers!