Making cocktails is an art, and just like any other art form, you need the right tools to achieve the perfect outcome. From the cocktail shaker to the cocktail mixing glass to the bar spoon, every tool plays a crucial role in creating a delicious cocktail.
Today, we’ll explore some of the best bar tools including the best cocktail shakers, cocktail strainers, mixing glasses, jiggers, bar spoons, and muddlers. By the end of this article, you’ll have a good understanding of different types of the best barware and the importance of using the right tools to make a perfect cocktail.
Boston cocktail shaker

Cocktail Shakers

Cocktail shakers are used for blending ingredients and chilling drinks quickly. They come in two main varieties: The Boston shaker and cobbler shaker.

Boston Shaker

This is a two-piece shaker consisting of two metal tins or a larger tin and a pint glass that fits into the tin. The tin is typically made of stainless steel, and an all-steel shaker is much more durable than that make with glass. The Boston shaker is versatile and easy to clean, making it a popular choice among professional bartenders.
To use this, fill the smaller tin with ice and the ingredients for your cocktail, and then fit the two tins (or the glass and larger tin) together, creating a tight seal. Hold the shaker with both hands, and shake vigorously until the shaker becomes frosty. Then, remove the smaller tin (or pint glass) and strain the contents into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cobbler Shaker

On the other hand, the cobbler shaker is a three-piece shaker consisting of a metal tumbler, a built-in strainer, and a cap that can double as a small measuring tool. The tumbler and cap are typically made of stainless steel, while the strainer is made of perforated metal.
When using a cobbler shaker, first pour ice and the necessary ingredients into the tumbler. After that, attach the strainer and cap to the tumbler. Hold the shaker with one hand on the cap and the other on the tumbler, and give it a good shake until the shaker becomes frosty. Finally, take off the cap and use the built-in strainer to strain the mixture into a chilled glass.
Various stainless steel tools strainers with cocktail

Cocktail Strainer

Used to separate solid particles from the liquid part of a mixed cocktail, a strainer ensures that the drink is smooth and free from any unwanted debris. There are two main types of cocktail strainers: the Hawthorne strainer and the Julep strainer. The third type of strainer is a fine mesh strainer, which you would use in conjunction with either of the other two to double-strain a cocktail with muddled ingredients or egg whites.
Stainless steel Hawthorne strainer with holiday cocktail


  • Hawthorne Strainer – A metal strainer with a spring attached to it, this fits snugly onto the top of a shaker or mixing glass. The spring acts as a barrier to prevent ice, fruit, or other solids from entering the cocktail glass. The Hawthorne strainer is typically designed to match a Boston shaker but can usually also be used with an industry-standard mixing glass.
  • Julep Strainer – A perforated metal strainer that fits over the mixing glass or shaker, similar to the Hawthorne strainer, the Julep strainer has a more traditional, elegant design, with a handle that makes it easy to use and remove from the mixing vessel. The holes are also a bit larger, and there is no spring for catching little particles. It’s traditionally used with a mixing glass for stirred cocktails.
  • Fine Mesh Strainer – The fine strainer is conically shaped and made of tightly-woven mesh to catch very small particles, such as fruit pulp and egg white residue. You would still use another strainer but then put the fine strainer between the shaker/glass and the cocktail glass. 
Julep strainer with stirred cocktail

 To use a Hawthorne or julep strainer, place it over the opening of a shaker or mixing glass, and simply pour the contents through it. The strainer will catch any ice or large particles and ensure that only the liquid is poured into the glass.

Stirring the Manhattan cocktail in a mixing glass before adding 2 dashes bitters


Mixing Glasses

This is used to mix spirit-forward drinks with ice. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be made of glass or crystal. Generally speaking, a mixing glass is typically used for stirring drinks that have ingredients with the same density, such as all alcohol. Examples of stirred cocktails to make in a mixing glass include the Manhattan, Martini, Old Fashioned, and Negroni.
slim jigger Japanese-style with a green cocktail



A jigger is a bar tool used to measure and pour precise amounts of liquid ingredients for cocktails. Jiggers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they typically consist of two metal cups, one larger than the other, which are joined together at the base.
The larger cup is known as the “jigger,” and it usually holds a standard 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of liquid. The smaller cup is often referred to as the “pony,” and it usually holds a standard 3/4 to 1 full ounce of liquid. Some jiggers have additional measurements marked on the cups, such as 1/2 ounce, 1 ounce, or 2 ounces, allowing for even more precision in measuring.
The A Bar Above jigger has markings every 1/4 ounce, from a bar spoon to 2 full ounces for maximum accuracy and versatility!
Smooth Gold Spoons


Bar Spoons

Bar spoons are long, thin spoons used for stirring cocktails in a mixing glass. They come in various styles, including twisted, teardrop, and paddle. Bar spoons are also an essential tool for creating layered cocktails, as they allow you to layer different densities of liquids.
Properly stirring a cocktail is important, as it not only aerates the drink but also helps to blend the flavors. When stirring with a bar spoon, you should hold the mixing glass in one hand and move the spoon in around the inside perimeter of the glass with your other hand. Be sure to stir thoroughly at a medium pace, making sure to get all of the ingredients mixed together.
4-Piece Bar Set, copyright A Bar Above 2021 Image
Having the right tools is essential for making the perfect cocktail. Whether you’re a professional bartender or a home mixologist, investing in high-quality bar tools is a must. By using these tools, you can create a delicious cocktail that looks and tastes great. So, the next time you’re mixing up a drink, make sure you have the right tools at your disposal!
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