Six Barware Substitutes When You’re Short on Supplies
Purists will tell you that the barware you use to create a cocktail is as important as the quality of the ingredients. And while we can appreciate aspiring to excellence at all times, the fact is sometimes you find yourself tasked with mixing drinks only to discover you don't have all the tools necessary to do the job. What then? Do you just inform your thirsty guests that there'll be no cocktails tonight because you can't find a proper strainer? Or do you soldier on using your innate ingenuity? In this guide, the team who bring you world-class copper mugs let you in on six hacks that will keep the party going.
Learn These Barware Hacks and Be a Holiday Hero
When family, friends, and neighbors are gathered together to celebrate the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, or a birthday it's important the festivities are not undermined by something like a lack of proper bar equipment. Any mixologist worthy of the title understands the need to keep the cocktails coming and has any number of bar hacks up their sleeve ready to deploy. Here are six that will come in handy for you sooner or later.
ONE: The makeshift jigger
It's important to measure cocktail ingredients. After all, you don't want Uncle Gene tumbling into the Christmas tree because you put too much vodka in the Moscow Mule mugs. But what do you do if there's no jigger handy?
Look around the kitchen, that's what. Any halfway decent kitchen will have other measuring devices available that will work, even if they don't necessarily look the part. And if push comes to shove you can always fall back on the basics such as one-and-a-half tablespoons or five teaspoons = one ounce.
TWO: The spaghetti strainer
A large percentage of cocktails require straining at some point during their preparation. But what do you do if your guests are clamoring for their refreshments and you can't find a Hawthorne or Julep strainer behind the bar?
In that case another trip to the kitchen is in order. This time you're looking for any type of strainer, yes, even a spaghetti strainer. No, not a big bulky colander, but one of those wire mesh strainers people use for pasta. If you can't find a pasta strainer then any jar with a lid that you can offset slightly to hold back the ice will do in a pinch.
THREE: The mason jar shaker
Shaking is an important part of the preparation for countless cocktails, not just because it makes the bartender look good, but because it's the most effective way of blending ingredients that have different viscosities. That's something you run into constantly when creating mixed drinks. But what if you look under the home bar right before the big party and discover someone's made off with the shaker?
Do you call your guests and cancel the party? Do you tell those lined up at the bar "Sorry, no drinks that require shaking?" Do you place an order with Paykoc Imports for some custom barware and then reschedule the party for after the items arrive? The answer is "none of the above".
Instead of being a wet blanket you seek out and implement an effective hack. In this case, that means just about any container that's clean, that won't interfere with the flavor of the drink, and that has a lid. Ideally, that would mean something like a Mason jar, but even the container you use to mix your protein shakes will do in a pinch.
FOUR: Spur of the moment cocktail spoon
Stirring is a big part of cocktail preparation too and the typical way to stir a drink involves using one of those long, fancy, beautifully balanced cocktail spoons. But what if the bar you're working at doesn't have one of those lovely, lithe pieces of barware available?
This, in fact, is the easiest of all bar hacks because all you have to do is find any other kitchen object that is long and narrow and that will enable you to stir the cocktail without aerating it too much. Lots of people will use a chopstick. And if that's all that's available, we say go for it. But a long thin knife will do just as well.
FIVE: The think-on-your-feet double strainer
Okay, you've been asked to make one of those complex cocktails that contain everything but the kitchen sink. There are several kinds of liquor as well as fruit and even an egg white thrown in for good measure. You're definitely going to have to put it through a double strainer, but - gasp! - you don't have one available!
Earlier we talked about using a Mason jar w/lid as a strainer, and you can employ that in this case as the first-line strainer. But what about the second strainer? Bars have special conical-shaped strainers that slip neatly over and into the cocktail glass but you don't have one. So is all hope lost? Not at all. Simply head back to the kitchen and see if you can conjure up a tea strainer. Most people have one around somewhere. It will make an ideal second-line strainer and your guests will be none the wiser.
SIX: The last minute muddler
Finally, let's say you're called upon to make a cocktail that requires you to muddle the ingredients but - surprise! - no muddler is available. A simple solution is to seek out a large wooden spoon. One with a thick, heavy handle, and use that handle to muddle your ingredients.
For All Your Home Bar Needs, Trust Paykoc
Whether you need any of the above-mentioned items or you're anxious to obtain some laser-engraved copper cups or mugs for your bar, Paykoc is the place to get them. We have one of the widest selections of beautiful solid copper drinking vessels you'll find anywhere. Our engraving service utilizes state-of-the-art techniques to produce stunning results you'll treasure forever. Check out our online store's barware selection or make your way to our brick-and-mortar store in Denver.
Read our previously published content for an additional seven essential bartending tips.