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    On The Menu

    Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

    My Favorite Shaker

    The all-metal shaker that keeps your drinks colder and has a better seal.

    One evening a year or so ago, while at Death & Company in New York, I noticed that our bartender, Alex Day, was using an all-metal Boston-style shaker. In place of the mixing glass was a smaller metal tin, and when I asked him about it he swore by the design of it. Shortly thereafter I picked one up and have come to agree that this is my favorite shaker.

    Firstly the all-metal system is a much better conductor so the cold of the ice infuses the shaker far more quickly whereas glass holds its heat a little longer and melts the ice while in the shaker. The fact that the metal holds less heat also means that the air in the shaker gets colder much faster creating a vacuum more quickly inside of the shaker. Secondly, the shape of the smaller tin of the shaker is very important. It has a beveled edge, which has a far greater surface area than the small amount of glass that makes contact in a normal shaker, creating a much better seal.

    This seal is super important when you are making cocktails with egg white, which for some reason has a tendency to find its way out of standard mixing glass shakers while shaking vigorously. The walls and lamps around my bar can attest to this leakiness.

    Perhaps the best news of all, my recession addled readers, is that this shaker is seriously cheap. It comes from the cheesy-as-can-be flair bartending supply store called barsupplies.com. If you can wade through the shooters, beer towers, and “bartending” DVDs, there are actually some great products here.

    The shaker is sold in two parts, the 28 ounce “Regular Shaker” which costs $3.95 and the 18 ounce “Weighted Shaker” which costs $3.45.

    Do yourself a favor and splurge on this thing.

    World’s Best Hawthorne Strainer

    A simple and bulletproof cocktail strainer for the price of a beer.

    Oxo Steel Strainer

    I have spent a lot of time and money over the last couple of years searching for the most fundamental tools like shakers and strainers, but I finally ended my strainer search with the Oxo Steel Cocktail Strainer. It’s not actually all that specialized, but the little things really make it excel, like the finger grip on the back that allows you to keep the strainer firmly inserted in the shaker. The lack of handle also makes it very compact and easy to store, clean and quickly manipulate on the bar. It’s raised lip allows much faster pouring speed and it is extremely well engineered to last quite a long time. Perhaps best of all, like many great bar tools, it is incredibly cheap at around $6. So do yourself a favor and pick one up today.

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