Mixology is the study and skill of inventing, preparing, and serving cocktails and other drinks. An expert in this field, called a mixologist, has a passion for making cocktail drinks. They learn classic cocktail recipes and examine the chemistry of mixed drinks.
The in-depth knowledge necessary for inventing new cocktail recipes is the main difference between a mixologist and a bartender. Mixologists understand the interaction between ingredients that produce optimal drink flavoring.
Mixology includes knowledge of basic ingredients, adding specific garnishes, and the tools for creating cocktails. Think of it as chemistry for creating drinks, and the mixologist is the person who practices it. It’s also possible to learn mixology from online courses and earn a certification.
Who Invented Mixology?
An American bartender named Jerry Thomas published the first guide to making cocktails in 1862. He’s widely recognized as the father of American mixology.
Thomas owned and managed numerous saloons across the New York City area in the 1800s. He traveled across America and introduced his methods to bartenders from New York to California. It's possible to purchase his guide The Bartenders Guide: How to Mix Drinks in reprinted editions today.
Thomas’ nickname was "The Professor" due to his analytical approach to creating and experimenting with cocktails. These innovative methods helped popularize the practice of inventing cocktails in America.
He experimented with different flavors by trial and error with the help of some taste testers. His early research and practice established some of the rules and conventions that mixologists still use today.
The Blue Blazer
Jerry Thomas' signature cocktail was the Blue Blazer. He first mixed it in San Francisco's El Dorado saloon and gambling hall.
He used sugar, scotch, and boiling water, which he lit on fire before transferring the concoction back and forth between two glasses. This created a spectacular incandescent rainbow of flame to entertain his patrons.
What Was the First Cocktail?
Most experts agree that it’s the Sazerac, though there are some differing accounts. It originated in New Orleans in the 1800s with a blend of whiskey, absinthe, bitters, and sugar.
The Sazerac is the signature cocktail of New Orleans and one of the most popular Mardi Gras cocktails. Stop by any bar or restaurant next time you’re in the French Quarter to taste this classic.
What Is Molecular Mixology?
Molecular mixology is the creation of cocktails using the equipment and techniques of molecular gastronomy. This type of gastronomy is a scientific approach to nutrition from the perspective of chemistry.
It focuses on the properties and structure of the ingredients. Molecular mixology refers to gastronomy in creating improved varieties and intensities of flavor in cocktails.
A mixologist uses other tools to perfect their craft, as well. A combination of the right ingredients and a complete set of mixology tools helps a mixologist prepare flavorful cocktails for their patrons. Here's a list of some of the most common mixology tools:
- A bar spoon is a long-handled spoon a mixologist or bartender uses to stir drinks. It usually has a spiral handle to allow extra grip.
- A citrus squeezer is a mixology tool for squeezing fruit and releasing juices.
- A drip tray sits beneath tap dispensers on a bar. It catches and releases spilled liquids.
- A garnish tray stores and dispenses garnishes and condiments for cocktails.
- A jigger is a measuring device shaped like an hourglass. It ensures that each cocktail has the proper amount of alcohol.
- A muddler is a tool for mashing fruit, herbs, and sugar to release flavors.
- A shaker combines and mixes ingredients through shaking. A mixologist uses three types of cocktail shakers: a Boston shaker, a Cobbler shaker, and a French shaker.
- A speed liquor pourer helps a mixologist or bartender pour quickly and accurately. It's a metal nozzle inserted into the end of various liquor bottle sizes.
- A strainer prevents unwanted ingredients or particles from being poured into a drink. It also ensures that the cocktail is smooth.
- A tong is useful for picking up and carrying ingredients. This includes garnishes, ice, and other objects or edible ingredients added to a cocktail.
Once a person has mastered basic mixology, they might want to improve their skills to reach the next level of advanced mixology. For beginners in mixology, the focus tends to be on learning cocktail recipes and perfecting techniques. When a mixologist is comfortable preparing and serving basic bartending drinks, they can advance to skills that help them become a master mixologist.
Advanced mixologists don't simply rely on recipes for creating the best cocktails. They begin experimenting with their ideas and study how each ingredient contributes to the cocktail's appearance and taste.
Advanced mixologists with confidence in their craft can participate in mixology and cocktail-making competitions. They can display skills against some of the best in the industry—both nationally and internationally.
Competitions take place in various cities around the world. The best mixologists from each corner of the globe compete to show off their mixology skills.
A mixologist is a person who has studied the history and techniques of making cocktails. They know the importance of each ingredient in a cocktail and understand why certain combinations produce the best cocktails. A good mixologist can boost bar profitability by making drinks that keep customers coming back.
Mixologist Job Description
Mixologists prepare and serve cocktails and other mixed drinks to bar and restaurant guests. They follow classic recipes and create signature cocktail drinks. A mixologist should also ensure their bar runs efficiently and strive to build a loyal customer base.
When hiring a mixologist, employers like to see plenty of experience bartending, knowledge of the industry, and experience with bar and restaurant tech. A mixologist might start as a barback to learn basic bar skills before becoming a bartender. Then, they enroll in mixology classes to further understand the chemistry and theories of mixology.
A mixologist oversees bar supplies, including mixology tools, glassware, garnishes, and drink mixes. They also ensure they have plenty of ice to prepare cocktails.
A barback might assist a mixologist in keeping track of inventory. They might use a bar inventory system like BinWise Pro to save time and stay organized.
In some establishments, the mixologist contacts vendors, and places orders for supplies. They play a vital role in inventory management for alcohol and supplies.
History of Mixologists
Jerry Thomas published The Bartenders Guide: How to Mix Drinks, his guide to making cocktails, and shared his recipes with a wide audience. It was the first cocktail book ever published in the United States and helped the popularity of cocktails spread across America.
Early mixologists and bartenders began following Thomas’ recipes and creating their own cocktails. In the late 19th century, people began ordering cocktails at their favorite bar, pub, or saloon.
The popularity of cocktails was booming in the early 20th century when the 18th Amendment passed in 1920. This prohibited the manufacture, transport, import, export, and sale of all types of alcohol in the United States. The 1920s became the golden age of cocktails in the United States as they became a forbidden fruit that people wanted more than ever.
Many of today's popular cocktail recipes appeared during the Prohibition era, which lasted from 1920 until 1933 in America. Legal distilleries closed, and common ingredients weren't widely available, so mixologists had to get creative.
It was necessary to come up with recipes that made alcohol more palatable. Bartenders added honey to gin and lemon juice to invent the Bee's Knees cocktail. Citrus fuelled the creation of mixed drinks like the Gin Rickey and Sidecar. Sugar cubes and simple syrup became common ingredients in cocktails served during Prohibition.
Americans' passion for cocktails reached its pinnacle in the 1920s, but it continued to remain steady in the years after Prohibition. The 21st Amendment wiped out the restrictions on alcohol in 1933.
After WWII, cocktails were the drink of choice for celebrations of all kinds. A booming economy and the emergence of the middle class meant that cocktail hours and entertaining guests at home became common.
The Modern Age
One of the main characteristics of today's cocktail scene is the attention paid to detail. That's why earning the title of mixologist has increased in popularity since the dawn of the new millennium.
Craft cocktails have seen a growing fan base, with cocktail lovers showing more interest in artisan and handcrafted ingredients. Many modern mixologists incorporate bitters and shrubs into their cocktails to add balance and depth to the flavoring. Another practice is the creation of small-batch brands that utilize regional flavors in their mixed drink.
A mixologist often works in a cocktail bar, nightclub, or resort. Indeed.com states the average annual salary for a mixologist in the United States is $32,440 per year (April 14, 2022).
ZipRecruiter has seen some average salaries as high as $82,500 and Glassdoor says Master Mixologists earn an average of $98,039.
The Modern Mixologist
Mixologists have always created cocktails to satisfy people's thirsts and keep them interested in what they'll create next. Cocktails have been part of American history from the days of Jerry Thomas' experiments, through the days of Prohibition, and into the new millennium.
The modern mixologist faces the challenge of continuing the history of innovation that has defined cocktails over the years. It's difficult to predict what mixologists will come up with next. However, we know that future cocktails will come from the best minds in mixology.
Are you interested in learning how to become a mixologist but aren't sure where to start? Maybe you occasionally make cocktails at home but want to expand your knowledge and skills.
Either way, there are many options available for you. It's not even necessary to leave your home to learn mixology from an expert.
We've made it easier for you with our list of the best online mixology courses. But before getting into our list, we'll cover the five methods of mixology.
Before you learn how to become a mixologist, it’s important to become familiar with mixology methods. The following five methods of mixology offer professionals unlimited potential for creative output:
1.The Stirring Method
Stirring refers to mixing cocktail ingredients with ice in a mixing glass. You use a stirrer to mix them before straining them into another glass. Any drink with clear liquids, such as spirits, wines, or liqueurs, needs this method to minimize dilution.
2. The Shaking Method
This method involves using a cocktail shaker to mix ingredients thoroughly with ice. It's ideal for mixed drinks with cream, egg, or fruit juices. Many classic and contemporary cocktails require this method for optimal taste. That's why it's good to include a cocktail shaker with your home bar essentials.
3. The Blending Method
If you combine fruit or other solid food with your drinks, then the blending method for making cocktails is a good choice. If you puree fruit for the cocktails, then add the ice after the fruit. The blending method is efficient for whipping up a large number of drinks.
4. The Layering Method
Use this method to make drinks when your ingredients are of different colors and flavors. Pour each one slowly over the back of a spoon into a small, straight-sided glass. This is the perfect method for liqueurs, spirits, and syrups.
5. The Building Method
Pour the ingredients one at a time into a glass, then stir the mixture. If the recipe calls for ice, add it to the serving glass before the other ingredients. Then you “build” the cocktail one ingredient at a time.
Best Online Mixology Courses
You can learn mixology and earn a certificate from one of the best online mixology courses available. Even if you've already earned your bartending license, you can gain a lot of new knowledge by studying mixology.
Some courses cover basic bar drinks and methods for beginners, while others teach advanced mixology. Here's a list of our recommendations for the best online mixology courses:
1. Bar Smarts
Bar Smarts offers a “Spirits and Wine Knowledge for Beginners” course that covers all the basics of mixology. It includes bartending fundamentals and demonstrates basic methods for mixing drinks. You'll learn about the history of mixology, including the alcohol that makes up many of the classic cocktail recipes.
2. Masterclass with Lynnette Marrero and Ryan Chetiyawardana
Two of the top mixologists in the industry share their knowledge in a breakdown of 17 short segments. Marrero is a bartender based in New York City, and Chetiyawardana is a former holder of the International Bartender of the Year title from Tales of the Cocktail. They offer a unique course with practical tips for making cocktails, industry insights, and stories from their experiences.
3. How to Be a Successful Bartender
Christopher Makrides teaches you habits and techniques for becoming a mixologist at the highest level. He draws from his experience at Tribeca in New York City to teach you how to manage a bar, serve the most popular cocktails, and provide excellent customer service.
4. Bartending 101: Seven Simple and Delicious Drinks
Michael Rego shows you how to create seven classic cocktails with style and proper technique.The course covers the seven drinks every beginning bartender should know how to make. He shows you how to prepare mixed drinks for optimal visual appeal and taste.
5. Mix World-Class Cocktails: Secrets of a Champion Mixologist
In this course, mixologist Paul Martin shows you how to create 16 classic and contemporary drinks for any cocktail bar. He'll demonstrate how to shake, stir, and layer your cocktails like a world-class mixologist. Martin also shares his techniques for creating garnishes that give your mixed drinks an eye-catching appearance.
Start Learning Mixology
Start learning mixology by choosing the right path for your interests and goals, then sign up for a mixology course. Once you learn skills as a mixologist, you can decide on the exact career path that fits your passion.
Maybe you're already working in the hospitality industry but are interested in changing your career path. Whether you enjoy making cocktails or want to brush up on basic bartending knowledge, one of these mixology courses could provide the perfect fit for you.
Whether you're learning mixology or working as an experienced professional, you want to have a mixology set that suits your needs. It should include the appropriate tools for mixology, such as a bar spoon, strainer, jigger, and other tools. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of recommendations for the best mixology sets to guide your search.
What's In a Mixology Set?
Most mixology sets include a jigger, a bar spoon, a cocktail shaker, and a muddler. A jigger measures cocktail ingredients, a bar spoon stirs your mixture, and a cocktail shaker gives extra power for creating flavorful cocktails.
Some sets also include a citrus juicer and peeler, corkscrew, bottle opener, and a Hawthorne strainer. A mixology set or bartender kit includes tools ranging from a basic three- or four-piece set to advanced collections with 30 to 40 pieces.
Best Mixology Sets
We've included recommendations for mixologists of all skill levels, from beginners to certified mixologists and world-class professionals. Our list is organized into those categories to make it easier to see which sets are relevant to your experience level. Here's our list of the best mixology sets.
Best Mixology Sets for Beginners
1. Modern Mixology Bar Kit with Stand
This is our top recommendation for mixology beginners. A novice should start with a cocktail shaker, bar spoon, jigger, and muddler to learn basic mixology. The former three are included with this package, while you can substitute for the cocktail muddler with something from your home.
It's a quality set from Modern Mixology with the basics, including a bottle opener, tongs, a wooden stand, and a booklet with cocktail recipes. It’s ideal for people interested in learning how to make drinks or enrolling in a mixology course.
2. Cresimo Cocktail Shaker Bar Set
Cresimo's mixology set is another good choice for people in the early stages of learning how to make mixed drinks. It doesn't include a mixing glass, but it has a cocktail shaker, bar spoon, jigger, and a craft cocktail recipe guide. The shaker has a built-in strainer, and comes from stainless steel, making it easy to clean.
Experienced Bartenders and Mixologists
3. Tito's Mixology Kit
This mixology set from Tito’s is a beautiful copper traveling bartending kit that includes a Boston cocktail shaker, muddler, jigger, bar spoon, and a strainer. You also receive a tan leather satchel with a canvas flap for transportation purposes.
All items in this set come from copper-plated stainless steel, which makes the set visually appealing in your bar collection. Purchase this set and try out your Moscow Mule recipe this weekend.
4. Bokhot 14-Piece Cocktail Shaker Set
This cocktail shaker set comes from premium stainless steel and has a rotating turntable stand designed to protect your barware. It includes a bar spoon, muddler, 25 oz. cocktail shaker, and two jiggers (50/30 ml. and 30/15 ml.).
Bokhot also gives you two liquor pourers, two stoppers, tongs, a corkscrew, a strainer, and a cocktail booklet. It's durable, leak-proof, rust-proof, and resistant to scratches. You can also clean this set by hand with soap and warm water by gently scrubbing them.
5. Winter Castle Silver Pro Cocktail Set
Winter Castle's mixology set is perfect for professional bartenders and mixologists. This 18-piece bartender kit includes a jigger, bar spoon, muddler, and a Boston cocktail shaker. There are also three strainers, four liquor and wine pour spouts, tongs, and a bamboo stand for display.
This mixology set also includes 50 Great Cocktail Classics, an online book with recipes for making your favorite cocktails. The design ensures it will stand up to the test of time and it offers handle cuts on the side to make it easy for picking up.
Choose the Right Mixology Set
If you’re new at making cocktails, a good mixology set lets you make summer cocktails for the beach and hot winter cocktails for the holidays. If you have experience preparing drinks, you can get creative with some of your usual drinks and try some new ingredients and methods.
For advanced mixologists, there are always new drink recipes waiting to be created. Use an advanced mixology set to experiment with some new techniques that could boost the flavor of your mixed drinks.
Are you interested in learning about the history of mixology and trying some new cocktail recipes? Do you know a bartender or mixologist who has a birthday approaching? Or are you thinking about how to become a mixologist and considering an online mixology course?
Whatever your reason for being interested in mixology, we've compiled a list of the best mixology books. Bartenders, mixologists, bar managers, and other industry experts wrote these and shared their knowledge of mixology.
Best Mixology Books
Here's our list of the best mixology books for learning classic and contemporary recipes. You'll also discover the history of cocktails, common mixology terms, and why certain ingredients interact well.
1. The Bartenders' Guide: How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant's Companion
Many cocktail experts regard this book as the best classic cocktail recipe book. Jerry Thomas wrote this book and published it in 1862. It became the first book ever published about cocktail recipes.
Many of the cocktails in his book are classics and make use of the same ingredients today. This book is an excellent choice whether you're a beginner or have been bartending for many years.
2. The Savoy Cocktail Book
Bartender Harry Braddock published this classic with over 750 cocktail recipes in 1930. Rather than work in a speakeasy, he left his native America during Prohibition in the 1920s. He arrived in England and served drinks at The American Bar at London's Savoy Hotel.
The updated edition retains the spirit of the times and includes illustrations with some new recipes. Peter Dorelli, the former Savoy head bartender, added his Millennium Cocktail to the collection. This book covers almost everything you need to know about drinking, including the art of cocktail creation, presentation, and enjoyment.
3. The Artistry of Mixing Drinks
Frank Meier, bartender at the Ritz Bar in Paris from 1921 until 1947, wrote and published the first edition of this guide in 1934. It's a classic book for cocktail lovers, bartenders, and mixologists alike, including some of his secret recipes and unique ingredients.
Meier honed his craft working for Harry Braddock in New York. In 1920, when Prohibition began and selling alcoholic beverages became illegal, he moved to Paris.
During his tenure at the Ritz, he served drinks to Franklin Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway, and Cole Porter, among other notable patrons. He put his experiences and knowledge into this book, which contains over 300 cocktail recipes.
Cocktail historian and writer David Wondrich covers the history of classic American cocktail drinks, including a homage to Jerry Thomas. It's an ultimate mixologist's guide that shares over 100 classic bar drinks and other mixed drinks, including historical and mixological details.
It covers the origins of the first American cocktail, the Mint Julep. Wondrich dates this back to one of the oldest bars in the country and before the American Revolution. In this updated edition, you'll find a new list of delicious and influential cocktails not included in the original publication in 2007.
5. Cocktail Codex
In Cocktail Codex, mixology experts Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan reveal their unique "root cocktails" approach to delicious drinks. They reveal their six basic cocktails: the Old-Fashioned, Martini, Daiquiri, Flip, Sidecar, and Whiskey Highball.
Once you understand the ingredients and methods for each, the authors promise mastery of classic cocktails and the latest drinks. You'll know why some cocktails work while others don't and when to shake and when to stir. If you're missing ingredients for your cocktail, you'll know what to substitute and leave out.
Pick Up a Mixology Book and Start Making Cocktails
Our list of the best mixology books provides a good place to start your research. There are many options available in your local bookstore and online, so choose the right mixology book for you and get started making cocktails.
A cocktail shaker is an essential item for every mixologist. Whether you're learning to make cocktails at home or working professionally, you need a cocktail shaker to prepare your mixed drinks. Cocktail shakers help prepare drinks by combining the ingredients while regulating their temperatures.
What Is a Cocktail Shaker?
A cocktail shaker is a bartending tool designed to prepare cocktails and mixed drinks. It's a closed vessel that lets you mix ingredients while keeping them chilled at the same time. Shaking your drink lowers its temperature quicker than stirring. It repeatedly exposes ingredients to the surface area of the ice at a rapid rate.
Cocktail Shaker Types
There are three types of cocktail shakers: Boston shakers, Cobbler shakers, and French (or Parisian) shakers. Here’s a quick description of each cocktail shaker type.
Boston Cocktail Shaker
The Boston shaker is the popular choice for professional bartenders and mixologists. It has a large shaker tin combined with either a small shaker tin or a pint glass that fits inside.
The mixologist jams the large and small tins together to create a natural seal. It’s necessary to purchase the strainer and measuring jigger separately.
Cobbler Cocktail Shaker
The Cobbler shaker is ideal for beginners because it's easy to use and includes everything you need. This shaker type has a tin, a lid with a built-in strainer, and a cap to prevent spills when you shake.
Cobbler sets are also known as three-piece sets for this reason. They are ideal for serving small groups of people with one or two cocktails at a time.
French Cocktail Shaker
The French shaker is a hybrid of the Boston and Cobbler cocktail shakers. The pieces of a French shaker fit together well, so you're less likely to have problems with leaks like the Boston shakers. It has a shaker tin and lid like the Cobbler shaker but without the built-in strainer.
How to Shake a Cocktail
Here are five steps for how to shake a cocktail:
1. Fill the shaker with your ingredients and ice
Start by adding your ice and ingredients into the shaker tin. Use the smaller cup or pint glass if using a Boston shaker. Use a cocktail jigger to measure your pour, including other liquid ingredients.
2. Seal the shaker properly
With a Boston shaker, place the large shaker tin on your small tin or pint glass. Tap it firmly with the palm of your hand to make sure it's properly sealed. For a Cobbler shaker, place the cap on top and give it a gentle tap to shut it.
3. Shake your drink
Get a good grip on your shaker to avoid spilling the drink on yourself and everyone around you. Shake vigorously over your shoulder to properly mix your drink. You'll want to shake it horizontally for about 10-15 seconds or until you feel condensation forming on the outside of the shaker.
4. Open the shaker
If you're using a Boston or French shaker, you might need to give it a smack on the side to relieve pressure. Then you'll be able to separate the two pieces and open your shaker. With a Cobbler shaker, remove the cap on your shaker.
5. Strain the drink into a glass
Use a Hawthorne strainer with a Boston or French shaker before pouring the finished product into the appropriate bar glasses. If you have a Cobbler shaker, the built-in strainer will filter your drink so you can transfer it directly into a glass.
Best Cocktail Shakers
We've broken down our list of best cocktail shakers into categories for Boston, Cobbler, and French shakers. There are recommendations for each type of shaker with a product description. Decide on the best fit for your bar and you’ll be making cocktails in no time.
Here's our list of the best cocktail shakers and shaker sets:
Boston Cocktail Shaker Sets
1. Cocktail Kingdom Leopold Weighted Shaking Tin Set
Cocktail Kingdom's Leopold tins come from 18/8 stainless steel and offer a lightweight feel for making cocktails. The set has a design that makes separation easier after shaking.
Professional mixologists and beginner bartenders have given this set good reviews, and we couldn't agree more. It would make a good addition to any commercial or home bar setup.
2. A Bar Above Two-Piece Craft Boston Shaker Set
This shaker is durable enough for busy bars and perfect for entertaining guests at home. Professional bartenders and mixologists have tested this Boston shaker and given it their stamp of approval.
Its two weighted shakers come from professional-grade stainless steel 304 and are safe for dishwasher cleaning. This set won't freeze or spill when you pour out your drink, making it perfect for experienced bartenders.
3. Barfly Shaker Cocktail Set
The experts from Barfly have designed their cocktail shaker set from heavy-duty 18/8 stainless steel to maintain its shape and provide durability. It makes the perfect addition to your commercial bar tools or your home mixology set.
This set provides 18 and 24 oz. tins but avoid washing them in your dishwasher. The bottom offers insulation to keep your cocktails cold and hands warm while shaking.
Cobbler Cocktail Shaker Sets
People new to making mixed drinks at home usually own a Cobbler shaker. It's a three-piece set ideal for making a few cocktails, not a large amount required for commercial bar and restaurant operations. However, some bartenders use a Cobbler for the hard shake, a style created by Japanese bartender Kazuo Uyeda and popularized in the United States by Eben Freeman.
4. Elevated Craft Hybrid Cocktail Shaker
Elevated Craft's shaker has an insulated double-wall design to keep your drinks cold. It has a high-capacity jigger top with a twist and lock feature.
This shaker prevents spills and helps you get your standard pour correct for your mixed drinks. The shaker comes from Pro-Grade 18/8 stainless steel for durability and has concave curves to eliminate the need for a two-handed grip.
5. Cresimo 24 Oz. Cocktail Shaker Set
Here's a three-piece mixing set with everything you need to create flavorful cocktail drinks. Cresimo's cocktail shaker set includes a stainless-steel shaker with 24 oz. capacity and a built-in strainer.
You'll also receive a double size 1.0/0.5 jigger tool, a twisted bar spoon, and a cocktail recipe guide. You can wash it in the dishwasher without worrying about rust or warping.
French Cocktail Shaker Sets
6. The Elan Collective French Cocktail Shaker Set
Our pick for the best French shaker offers a stylish set that includes a 22 oz. stainless steel Parisian shaker. There's also a Hawthorne strainer and a Japanese-style jigger.
It functions similarly to a Boston shaker, with two tins that form an airtight seal for mixing drinks. You also receive a card with recipes and tips to get you started.
All pieces come from durable stainless steel and are dishwasher safe. Its sophisticated appearance makes it the perfect accessory for display.
7. Viski Parisian Cocktail Shaker Set
The 25 oz. French shaker from Viski is a good choice if you want an eye-catching piece to go with your bar supplies. It comes from gold-plated stainless steel and brings a taste of French royalty to your bar collection.
It's durable and easy to clean, and the cylindrical shape offers a good grip for vigorous shaking. You could also purchase it as a gift for a bartender or mixologist and pair it with a bottle of rum, tequila, or vodka.
Shake for Best Results
Whether you’re a professional bartender or just having a few friends over for cocktails this weekend, you want the best cocktail shaker in your collection. Shaking is a vital part of the process for creating delicious cocktails. Decide which shaker is best for your needs and you’ll be delivering high quality mixed drinks to your bar patrons or party guests in no time.
Best Cocktail Jiggers
A cocktail jigger is an important mixology tool for bartenders and mixologists. Many cocktail shaker sets provide jiggers with a shaker, bar spoon, and strainer. Cocktail makers use these tools to produce delicious drinks with the perfect balance of flavor and alcohol.
Cocktail jiggers are an important tool for making drinks that keep patrons coming back, and we know how important that is for any bar business. Read on to learn the definition of a cocktail jigger, cocktail jigger styles, and our recommendations for the best cocktail jiggers.
What Is a Cocktail Jigger?
A cocktail jigger is a shot or cocktail measuring tool for bartenders and mixologists. It has an hourglass shape, and the size ranges from 0.5 to 2.5 oz. A cocktail shaker helps a bartender or mixologist get their standard drink measure for mixed drinks correct.
Many have fill lines inside or outside with shot cocktail or shot glass measurements. The term "jigger" also appears in many cocktail recipes as a measurement unit.
Cocktail Jigger Styles
Cocktail jiggers come in various sizes and styles. Depending on the drink you’re making, a specific jigger might be better suited for the task. There are two basic types of cocktail jiggers with different capacities:
1. Single Jigger
A single jigger is a simple drink measure with a single bowl to hold the liquor. It can range from a basic shot glass to something with multiple graduations to allow refined measurements.
2. Double Jigger
A double jigger is the traditional style of cocktail jigger. It’s the one you usually see your bartender or mixologist using to make your drink. It has an hourglass and a bowl on either side. A double jigger is usually made of metal or stainless steel.
How to Use a Cocktail Jigger
The most efficient way to use a cocktail jigger is to hold it between your first and second fingers. Keep it steady while filling it with the liquid, then pour it into a shaker or a glass. A jigger is double-sided and helps bartenders and mixologists maintain a consistent pour.
The key to making delicious cocktails is using your jigger consistently. You can do this by following classic cocktail recipes and using the correct measurements every time.
For cocktail beginners, it can be tricky to use a jigger properly. Try to master the basic jigger skills and practice them until you get them right.
Best Cocktail Jiggers
The rise in mixology culture and classic cocktails means that the cocktail jigger has become a symbol of precision in the art of making mixed drinks. Fortunately, there's a wide range of options to buy.
Whether you're an experienced bartender or considering enrolling in a cocktail class, you'll want to purchase a jigger that feels comfortable.
Here's our list of the best cocktail jiggers to get you started:
1. Tezzorio Steel Double Jiggers
Tezzorio's double jiggers come from high-quality 18/8 stainless steel that's guaranteed not to leak or rust. You get three pieces of varying sizes–a great value for the price.
This set has clearly labeled measurements on all three double jiggers, making it easy to get it right for your cocktails. It has an elegant and stylish look and suits beginners and experienced bartenders.
2. Oxo Steel Double Jigger
Oxo's steel double jigger has a soft, non-slip grip for stability when pouring liquids. It has two sides which you can flip for different measurements. One side measures a jigger (0.33 oz., 0.75 oz., 1.5 oz.) while the other measures 0.25 oz., 0.5 oz., and 1 oz.
It has permanently etched laser measurements which won't fade, and it's safe to wash in the dishwasher. Many bartenders and mixologists use this jigger for their commercial bars.
3. Cocktail Kingdom Leopold Jigger
Cocktail Kingdom's Leopold Jigger takes inspiration for its design from the vintage looks of the 1930s. It comes from high-quality and durable 18/8 stainless steel and provides an accurate and consistent standard pour.
This jigger is an attractive and stylish addition to your home bar essentials and provides 0.25 oz., 0.50 oz., 0.75 oz., 1 oz., 1.5 oz., and 2 oz. measurements. This ensures your mixed drinks are accurate and easy to create.
4. Match Handmade Italian Pewter Jigger
Match's handcrafter double jigger is our choice as the perfect splurge for bartenders and mixologists. This company has a reputation for making high-quality pewter products with a tin content of at least 92%.
This double jigger has 95% tin and comes from Italy with an artistic and stylish design. It's an impressive item to add to your bar collection that also ensures consistent measurements for your cocktails.
5. Barfly Japanese-Style Jigger
Here's a cocktail jigger from Barfly that makes the perfect addition to any mixologist's collection of bar tools. It provides external markings and internal measurement lines to ensure precise measuring.
It has a durable 18/8 stainless steel construction with rolled top edges for added durability and strength. This jigger is also safe to clean in the dishwasher and has a satin interior finish to hide wear and tear.
A Matter of Measurements
A cocktail jigger plays an important role in the creation of cocktails and mixed drinks. Bartenders and mixologists know that getting the ingredients right in their drinks is vital.
If a recipe is slightly off, it can affect the taste of a cocktail. Too much of one ingredient or not enough of another can make the difference between a delicious cocktail and a drink that chases a customer away.
Anything that boosts your bar’s reputation for making satisfying cocktails is a good asset to have. So, ensure you have a jigger ready when you need it.
A bar spoon is one of the vital tools every bartender and mixologist needs to make delicious cocktails. In addition to cocktail shakers, jiggers, and strainers, bar spoons help create tasty cocktail drinks.
It's one of the bar tools you must master to give your cocktails maximum flavor. These long utensils spin ice with ease and make mixing and chilling your cocktail effortless.
Why are bar spoons twisted? This article reveals the reason for their design, origin, and recommendations for the best bar spoons. A good bartender or mixologist masters the tools to make great cocktails, which supports your bar profitability. Read on to learn more.
What Is a Bar Spoon?
A bar spoon is a long-handled tool for bartending that mixes and layers cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. It has a long length to ensure it reaches the bottom of cocktail shakers, tumblers, and jugs. The average bar spoon holds about 5 ml. of liquid.
A bar spoon has a decorative and elegant handle, and the shaft is usually thin and threaded to provide a better grip for rotating the spoon. It's possible to purchase a single bar spoon or sets of two to as many as eight. Many cocktail shaker sets include a bar spoon and a collection of additional mixology tools.
Why Are Bar Spoons Twisted?
A bar spoon's twisted handle assists the layering of alcohol in cocktail drinks. It also enables efficient stirring and provides comfort for the hand. A bar spoon is optimal for layering because it has a disc at the end that complements the twist.
The bartender or mixologist pours the liquor down the long handle, creating a slow and steady flow. The disc provides additional control of the alcohol, letting it float on top.
As the bartender or mixologist stirs, the bar spoon's twists follow the motion to make the contents of the drink smooth. This ensures that the concave part of the spoon touches the ice to prevent splashes. The twisted handle also dilutes the drink quicker because there aren't any interruptions during stirring.
Best Bar Spoons
1. Cocktail Kingdom Teardrop Spoon
Cocktail Kingdom's bar spoon has a smooth, weighted teardrop end on top and a curved spoon on the bottom. The weighted teardrop provides quick and smooth stirring action and allows you to taste the cocktail.
You can also add dashes of an ingredient or small quantities of alcohol to your mixture. We recommend this bar spoon because its long handle makes stirring effortless, and its classic Japanese style provides a timeless piece for your mixology tools.
2. Crafthouse by Fortessa Professional Metal Barware
We recommend this bar spoon for professional bartenders and advanced mixologists. Charles Joly, an award-winning bartender, designed it for the working bartender. Many mixology classes use his products to train students on how to create cocktails.
The handle provides a comfortable grip for stirring, and the spoon gives you a standard teaspoon measurement. Its spiral handle helps layer drinks while the disc offers control of the liquids or alcohol and helps disperse it across the top.
3. A Bar Above Spiral Handle Drink Mixing Spoons
This stainless-steel cocktail stirring set of two bar spoons promotes comfort and speed. An experienced bartender designed these 12-inch bar spoons for advanced mixologists, but they're easy enough for beginners to use. They make an excellent addition to your commercial or home bar accessories.
The spoons have reinforced welds for durability and strength and are guaranteed not to break, rust, or bend. The 12-inch handle on each spoon provides extra weight to mix and chill your ingredients.
4. Viski Stainless Steel Weighted Bar Spoon
Viski offers this weighted bar spoon made from 18/8 stainless steel with a classic teardrop tip and a perfectly rounded head. It's 15.75 inches long and has the proper weight for stirring and mixing your drinks and cocktails.
The spoon has a polished finish and refined look for adding style to your commercial or home bar essentials. This is one of many top-notch products that Viski offers for your bar collection.
5. Barfly Bar Spoon with Cast Barfly
Barfly crafted this spoon from 18/8 stainless steel, and there are a variety of lengths and colors to choose from. It ensures easy stirring, smooth transfer of liquids, and efficient layering of liquors. And, yes, it has a fly at the top for adding character to the spoon.
No matter how large your mixing tin or cocktail shaker is, they offer a length that makes it easy to stir and handle garnishes. Purchase several different sizes for your bar and you'll have a spoon that can reach the bottom of any mixing vessel.
"Shaken, Not Stirred"
You've heard James Bond make the request for a drink "shaken, not stirred." A bar spoon is essential for a martini recipe or any cocktail served "on the rocks."
It should offer comfort, the proper weight, and an efficient design to mix your ingredients quickly and effectively. When you’re making cocktails, you want to get the ingredients just right to ensure optimal flavoring.
Learn how to master the art of mixing with a bar spoon, and you’ll be crafting flavorful drinks. This keeps people coming back for more, which boosts bar profitability.
Best Cocktail Muddlers
A bartender or mixologist uses a muddler to crush fruit, herbs, and spices when making cocktails and mixed drinks. This process releases flavoring and mixes it with the other ingredients in a mixed drink. It sounds simple, but what is a muddler?
Maybe you’ve heard bartenders mention it but aren’t exactly sure what a muddler is. If you’re interested in improving the quality of your cocktails, it’s a good idea to know a bit more about muddlers.
This article describes how to use a muddler and includes our recommendations for the best muddlers on the market. You’ll want to consider adding one to your bar equipment checklist.
What Is a Muddler?
A muddler is a bartender's tool used like a pestle to crush–or muddle–fruit, herbs, and spices in the bottom of glassware to release their flavor. It's one of the best tools for infusing flavor into cocktails and other mixed drinks. Most professionals include a muddler with the rest of the equipment in their mixology supplies.
You'll want to use a muddler when preparing any cocktail recipe with fruit, herbs, and spices. A muddler will allow you to extract the right amount of flavor from these types of ingredients.
How to Muddle a Cocktail
When learning how to muddle a cocktail, you'll want to be careful in using the right amount of force. Lightly press the muddler to the ingredients and twist without increasing the amount of pressure.
Remember not to pound your ingredients when using a muddler. You don't want to completely crush them because you'll lose some of the flavorings. An important aspect of mixology is getting the ingredients right to serve cocktails that make people happy.
Best Cocktail Muddler
We've tested some cocktail muddlers available on the market and reached out to bartenders and mixologists to see what they're using. There are many good options for beginners, intermediates, and advanced cocktail makers. We've narrowed them down to our list of best cocktail muddlers.
1. Oxo Steel Muddler
Many people who work behind a bar love Oxo's bartending tools. After testing this muddler on several ingredients, it's easy to understand why. This muddler comes from stainless steel and has a soft, comfortable, non-slip grip with a sturdy body.
Oxo's steel cocktail muddler is nine inches long with a non-scratch nylon head for durability. The broad surfaces at both ends of the muddler provide stability.
2. A Bar Above Cocktail Muddler
We recommend this cocktail muddler for experienced bartenders and mixologists, but it's also suitable for beginners. It's 12 inches long and perfect for crushing fruit and pressing mint for your mojito, or following your margarita recipe.
A Bar Above designed this cocktail muddler to reduce hand stress and increase comfort and support while muddling for cocktails. Its large handle minimizes strain on your hands, and the flat end presses ingredients to extract the right amount of flavor.
3. Piña Barware Professional Cocktail Muddler
This cocktail muddler from Piña Barware is 12 inches long and comes from natural bamboo. It has a round handle to fit comfortably in your hand and a flat-surfaced end for muddling ingredients.
Many bartenders and mixologists prefer bamboo muddlers because they absorb less liquid, meaning your clothes and cutting boards are less likely to receive stains. Bamboo wood also has natural antibacterial properties and is a sustainable choice. This muddler makes a good addition to any set of bartending tools.
4. Barfly Muddler
Barfly offers this budget-friendly muddler that’s an ideal addition to your commercial or home mixology set. We like this muddler because you can customize it to match your bartending kit or mixology tools.
You can choose between wood and composite, with the latter offering a bit more durability in a busy bar or restaurant. Barfly also offers several lengths, including eight, nine, or 12 inches.
We recommend the eight or nine-inch option if you muddle in glasses, while the 12-inch version is better suited for a shaker and taller tin. Overall, it's easy to clean, won't absorb flavors, and has a flat base with plenty of surface area to extract flavor from your ingredients.
5. Cresimo Muddler Bar Tool Set
If you're in the market for a mixology set, we recommend this one from Cresimo. It includes a ten-inch muddler that's easy to clean and a stainless-steel bar spoon with a trident fork for picking up garnishes. Cresimo's muddler also provides a heavier weight that makes crushing ice easier.
The stainless-steel muddler features a nylon head that quickens the mashing process while extracting additional flavor from your ingredients. It's durable, resistant to rust and stains, and dishwasher safe. Cresimo also gives you a free digital recipe book with classic cocktail recipes to get you started with the set.
Keep a Muddler Handy
Whether you’re starting a bar or just want to make good cocktails for your friends, it’s good to keep a muddler handy. Many of the most popular cocktail recipes require ingredients that should be muddled.
Best Cocktail Strainers
A cocktail strainer plays a vital role in cocktail preparation. Most mixed drinks you make in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass need to be strained.
Many popular cocktail recipes call for ice and other solids, so it's necessary to have a cocktail strainer to prevent these from getting into the drink. But it's important to learn how to use a cocktail strainer before you prepare your drink.
How to Use a Cocktail Strainer
A cocktail strainer is a sieve that removes ice and other solid ingredients from a cocktail as the bartender or mixologist pours it into the serving glass. The drink maker places it over the mouth of the glass or shaker with the ingredients.
The drink strainer has holes that only allow liquid to pass through, trapping ice in the mixer. You’ll want to master the technique of using a cocktail strainer before you get your mixology certification.
It’s also important to learn about the types of cocktail strainers mixologists use. There are three common types of cocktail strainers: a Hawthorne strainer, a Julep strainer, and a fine mesh strainer.
The Hawthorne strainer is probably the most common and recognizable cocktail strainer. You'll find Hawthorne strainers included among most commercial and home mixology collections.
It takes the form of a disc with a handle and two or more stabilizing prongs. There's a metal spring fixed on the edge of the rim to roll inward and fit inside glassware.
The Julep strainer is the original cocktail strainer that first appeared in the mid-1800s. Bar patrons used them when they enjoyed a refreshing Mint Julep to control the ice flow. Successful use made it the precursor to the modern drink straw. That’s also where the strainer got its name.
A Julep has a bowl-shaped cup perforated with small holes and a long handle. The strainer fits tightly into a shaker or mixing glass, permitting the liquid through the holes or slits in the bowl.
Fine Mesh Strainer
A fine mesh strainer is typically held beneath a Hawthorne or Julep strainer to catch anything that passes the first one. Tiny shards of ice and bits of fruit can slip past the initial strainer.
This type of strainer provides an additional filter to catch them. Fine mesh strainers are usually inexpensive, available in various sizes, and can strain hot tea and a few other goods.
Best Cocktail Strainers
We've researched and compiled a list of the best cocktail strainers based on their durability and effectiveness, then organized it by the three types. We'll provide you with recommendations for the best Hawthorne strainer, then reveal the best Julep strainer and fine mesh strainer.
Best Hawthorne Strainer
1. OXO Steel Cocktail Strainer
This cocktail strainer from OXO has an ergonomic design that makes it a good tool for straining. It comes from durable stainless steel and effectively strains ice, fruit, and other solid matter to produce pure cocktails.
Make a refreshing mojito or learn how to make a whiskey sour. No matter what you have in mind, this strainer helps get the job done.
2. Cocktail Kingdom Koriko Two-Prong Hawthorne Strainer
This is a Hawthorne strainer from 18/8 stainless steel. It's durable and perfect for heavy-duty use. It has a tight coil that makes it easy to do a split pour.
Bartenders and mixologists trust this strainer for its strength and ability to filter ice and fruit pieces. Some cite it as the perfect example of an industry-standard drink strainer.
3. A Bar Above Hawthorne Cocktail Strainer
A career mixologist designed this cocktail strainer, so that's why we recommend it for professional bartenders and mixologists. This ergonomic and sleek strainer comes from polished food-grade 304 stainless steel, providing durability for high-volume cocktail bars. It has tightly coiled springs for catching ice chips, citrus pulps, and fruit seeds.
A Bar Above's Hawthorne strainer offers the ideal grip and weight, ensuring that your cocktail-making is a fun experience. It has a finger rest on the back rim for added comfort and stability.
Best Julep Strainer
4. Barfly Scalloped Julep Strainer
Barfly's Julep strainer comes from heavy-duty stainless steel to provide maximum durability. It resists pitting and corrosion and has an optimal design with a perforation pattern for fast draining. It's easy to clean and safe for your dishwasher.
Best Fine Mesh Strainer
5. Viski Stainless Steel Mesh Cone Strainer
Viski's stainless steel cocktail cone separates liquid from ice and food particles. It accommodates a full drink in a single pour and offers a size to fit mixing glasses of any capacity. The total length measures 9.25 inches.
Many professionals like its deep cone and wide-mouth construction, but it’s also suitable for beginners. Add this mesh strainer to your bar collection, then gather your ingredients and start mixing.
Serve Smooth Cocktails
Whether you’re getting your alcohol server certification or have been working behind a bar for years, include a cocktail strainer in your bar accessories. It will help you prepare and serve clean cocktails to guests.
If you’re learning how to make cocktails at home, a strainer provides versatility to help you prepare tea, coffee, and more. That’s why it’s a good idea to choose the best strainer to fit your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mixology
What Is Dry Mixology?
Dry mixology means the creation of cocktails that aren’t sweet. The term “dry” means “not sweet” in bartending and mixology. For example, you have varieties of wine that are known as sweet wine and dry wine.
How Do I Get a Job As a Mixologist?
The best way to become a mixologist is to take a mixology course and become a certified mixologist. Some mixologists begin their careers as barbacks, before earning a promotion to bartender. Then, some bartenders choose to take a mixology course to earn, and certification in mixology.
What Comes In a Mixology Set?
A mixology set usually includes a cocktail shaker, jigger, muddler, bar spoon, strainers, pourers, and a carry bag for transportation. Some sets also include a corkscrew, citrus squeezer and zester, bar key, ice tongs, and a Lewis bar bag. A complete mixology set gives you everything you need to start preparing cocktails.
The World of Mixology
There’s always something new to learn in the world of mixology. Ever since Jerry Thomas published his book The Bartenders Guide: How to Mix Drinks in 1862, mixologists have been busy inventing cocktail recipes, mixology tools, and new methods.
A new generation of mixologists has continued the tradition of experimenting with ingredients to create new recipes. If you’re interested in mixology, purchase a mixology set, sign up for an online course, and start learning. There are plenty of opportunities to launch a fun and lucrative career in the world of mixology.