November 12, 2013

Essential Bar Tools, Make Your Own Mixers, and What To Mix Them In

gren-simpleHey pals and gals and galpals, I recently did a fun series of posts for the swanky Seattle magazine, all designed to help out the home bartender. First, was a post detailing essential bar tools, then one where I detailed some mixers you should make, not buy, and finally one with a few choice recipes using said mixers. It was pretty tasty fun, and I figured you (yes, you) might dig it.

•     Five Essential Home Bar Tools

•     Cocktail Mixers You Should Make, Not Buy (and How to Make Them)

•     3 Drinks Perfect for Homemade Mixers

— See all A.J. Seattle magazine articles

June 13, 2011

Cocktail Talk: Mr. Pinkerton Goes to Scotland Yard

Ah, Mr. Pinkerton. Not a member of the celebrated detective agency at all, but a portly British chap (and yes, this is one of those occasion where “chap” is necessary) who falls into a humdinger of a mystery out of a combination of chance and boredom. That is, though on the outside it looks harmless, a deadly combination. I, myself, have gotten into mischief through it (though never coming close to a Scotland Yard-worthy entanglement). And you know what much of this mystery hinges on (well, really, how could you, unless you’ve read the book, and as it’s fairly obscure I’m guessing you haven’t)? A cocktail party where they bring out one of those “new-fangled American contraptions for mixing spirits.” I’m guessing they mean a cocktail shaker, but they aren’t that new-fangled, are they? Maybe it was an invention I don’t even know about? For shame, if so.


Mr. Paget had brought along with him one of the new-fangled American contraptions for mixing spirits, and he, Linda Darrell, and Hugh Ripley had brought some mint from the garden, sent Gaskins to the fish monger’s for six pennyworth of ice, and mixed it up with lemon juice. They made what they call a cocktail out of it.


–David Frome, Mr. Pinkerton Goes to Scotland Yard

October 10, 2010

Six Bar Tools I Took to Italy

This is somewhat of a (or almost exactly a) duplicate of a post on my Italy blog, which is called Six Months In Italy. But I figure the Spiked Punch readers may not have found that blog yet, and may be interested in the bar tools I lugged in my luggage recently. Oh, as a backdrop—I’ve moved to Italy, to be closer to local Amaros, Strega, Fernet Branca, and the other Italian boozes I love. Which is why this blog has been even lighter than normal lately. I just got here (here now being middle Italy. For gosh sake, go read the Italy blog if you want to know more or I’ll go on all day), and these are the tools I brought with me.


Oh, by the way, it’s not that I think I couldn’t make slurpable drinks during the next seven months without the following seven drink-making devices (at least I think I could), but I’d just feel so naked behind the bar (or at the counter). And not in the good “making-drinks-naked way.” So, here’s a look at some of what was in my suitcase.


1 and 2: Cocktail Shaker and Jigger

This is my most-utilized cocktail shaker, the WMF Manhattan stainless steel cobble-style shaker. I love both how it fits me, and how it has a little elegance in its lines. It also packs up nice, and since I’ve used it almost every day for the last 10 years, isn’t something I’d leave behind. The jigger alongside it keeps me honest on measuring, and also keeps the shake company.


3: Fine Strainer

A good fine strainer for drinks that contain fresh juice (which should be the only juice you use naturally). I wanted to bring a juicer to go with, but decided at the last minute that squeezing would work as long as I took the fine strainer to ensure no chunky-ness gets into the drink (or my teeth).


4: A Hawthorne Strainer

This is the Oxo strainer, very portable, and a necessary extra just in case the built-in strainer on my shaker gets overwhelmed by the amount of drinks being made, or the fruit in them, or anything else. Can also work if I decide to use another shaker when out and about. A generally handy item to have, and small enough to not worry about packing.


5 and 6: Pug Muddler and Stir Spoon

This and all Pug muddlers was made by hand with care by a gentleman named Chris Gallagher. It’s made from Mexican Rosewood (or Bocote), and is a substantial and beautiful thing, which between us, I paid probably more than I should have for—but look at it! Pug muddlers aren’t available in stores, but you can email Chris directly if you want one (and you should), at jcgallagher08 @ hotmail . com (removing the spaces). The stir spoon is one of many I have, but needed for stirring drinks.


7: Ice Cube Trays

I can admit it: I am addicted to these decently-sized perfectly square ice cubes. I can’t be completely happy without them (okay, okay, that’s going overboard. But I am awfully fond of them, and how them both melt slowly and crack perfectly when smacked with the Pug Muddler, making them the ideal ice for the home bartender). Mine are made in the the Tovolo Perfect Cube silicone ice cube tray.

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