Barware Tools: A Guide to 20 Essentials

Beer and Wine, Cocktails, Cooking Tools, Drinks, Entertaining, Featured Article, Relish Style
on February 26, 2014
Barware Guide
Jenny Park & Teri Lyn Fisher

Do you know your highball from your half-pint? Jenny Park and Teri Lyn Fisher, authors of Cocktails For the Four Seasons, certainly do—and then some. In their perfectly pocket-sized companion to mixology, the duo share fantastic cocktail and punch recipes along with tips for mastering bar basics. Below is just a taste—a detailed guide on 20 essential barware tools excerpted from the book.

Barware Guide

1. Muddler: The essential mojito-maker tool! This device “muddles” up ingredients (like herbs, fruit, sugar, and spices) to release their flavors and allow them to seep into your tasty beverages.

2. Coupe: Traditionally used as a champagne glass, the coupe is now more often seen holding a variety of cocktails (we like to use them for drinks served without ice). Its broad bowl, which sits upon a short stem, allows more bubbles to escape, so we don’t recommend using it for carbonated drinks. (8 to 12 oz.)

3. Highball: While similar in height to Collins glasses, these glasses are slightly shorter and wider. They’re usually used for drinks that have a higher ratio of “mixer” to liquor (i.e. our Raspberry Mojito, which has a higher ratio of club soda to rum). That’s right—all those years you were drinking Rum & Cokes out of red plastic cups, you should have been drinking them from highballs! (8 to 12 oz.)

4. Cocktail Strainer: Used in tandem with a cocktail shaker, this tool is used to strain ice from a drink after it’s been shaken. It’s essential for serving a “straight up” drink—which is a drink shaken with ice to slightly chill it, but served in a glass without any ice.

5. Snifter: It’s not a hard reach to see where this glass gets its name—the wide bowl lets some of the liquor release while the narrow top traps the aroma and allows the user to “sniff” the contents. Traditionally this short-stemmed glass is used for warm spirits, such as brandy, but we’ve shaken it up a bit and use this fun glass for some of our cool cocktails like the Roasted Strawberry and Jalapeño Freezer! (6 to 8 oz.)

6. Julep Cup: This handsome cup isn’t just pretty to look at—its silver or pewter material serves an important purpose. When a cold drink is added, a frost will form on the outside of the cup and will help keep the contents nice and chilly. (8 to 12 oz.)

7. Mug: There’s a wide range of mugs out there in the world, but the most defining feature is that they’re designed to hold hot beverages (they usually have handles, or are specially insulated—like the mug tumblers we used in our Vanilla Bean Irish Coffee recipe). They’re larger than teacups and more casual. (12 oz.)

8. Half-Pint: Same cone-shape as the original pint glass, but—you guessed it—its capacity is half that of a full pint glass. (8 to 10 oz.)

9. Punch Bowl Mug: We’re suckers for punch bowl sets—they come in so many different colors, shapes, and sizes. Although the punch bowl mug that we have pictured here has a handle, some accompanying glasses may be more like tumblers. Punch bowls are typically large enough to hold at least 32 ounces, while the individual glasses range from about 6 to 8 ounces.

10. Collins: Because of their small-surface narrow tops and lean long cylindrical figures, these glasses are great for carbonated drinks like our Sweet Citrus Fizz—they keep the fizz in! (10 to 14 oz.)

11. Cocktail Strainer: Used in tandem with a cocktail shaker, this tool is used to strain ice from a drink after it’s been shaken. It’s essential for serving a “straight up” drink—which is a drink shaken with ice to slightly chill it, but served in a glass without any ice.

12. Champagne Flute: Perfect for bubbly drinks, this long, narrow bowled glass helps to keep the bubbles contained and usually has a more narrow top than bottom. It comes with or without a stem. (6 to 8 oz.)

13. Bar Spoon: These long-handled spoons are used for mixing drinks in tall glasses, as well as creating layered drinks by various techniques (often involving pouring a liquid over the back of the spoon so that it enters the glass slowly and doesn’t mix in with the other drink components.)

14. Cocktail/Martini Glass: This iconic cocktail glass is home to classics like martinis and cosmopolitans. The glass has a cone-shaped bowl, which allows the aroma to drift up to the drinker as they sip. They usually are stemmed, but are available without stems as well. (4.5 oz.)

15. Pint Glass: Probably one of the most-commonly used bar glasses, the pint glass is primarily used to serve beer. Usually they’re an inverted cone-shape (with the pointy tops cut off of course!). True to its name, the U.S. pint glass holds 16 ounces, although if you’re in Britain, the pint glass usually holds 20 ounces.

16. Double Old Fashioned: Generally the same shape as the original but taller—for when you just need double the strength! (12 to 16 oz.)

17. Stemless Wine/Wine Tumbler: Wine glasses come in a variety of shapes with different “bowl” sizes to allow for different flavor concentrations and aromas to arise from each wine. These stemless versions are becoming quite the trend and can be used for drinks other than wine.

18. Jigger: A handy measuring tool to keep at the bar, a jigger usually has two different cone-sized compartments—one most often holds 1.5 oz., while the other holds a fraction or multiple of that.

19. Old Fashioned: Primarily used for serving small (and strong) cocktails over ice, these wide-brimmed short tumblers are a staple in every bar. (6 to 10 oz.)

20. Milk Punch Cup: Perfect for slushy chilled drinks, this silver or pewter cup helps retain the milk’s natural chill.