Bar Basics: Facts & Tips About Bar Spoons



When a cocktail doesn’t call for shaking, a bar spoon is a very important tool to mix your cocktail. Usually, cocktails using distilled spirits such as whiskey, rum, brandy, or gin since shaking tends to ruin the delicate flavors of the spirits. Some of the most popular stirred cocktails are Manhattan, martini, Negroni, Imperial cocktail, Cuba Libre, and White Russian. To get a great stirred drink, give it 20-30 seconds of good stirring, enough to allow some water from the ice to melt and dilute the drink while making it cold. Also start with a chilled glass to hasten the chilling of the drink without overly diluting it. 

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What is a Bar Spoon

A bar spoon is an indispensable tool behind the bar. It is usually a long (about 12-15 inches), corkscrew handle and a slim, sometimes paddle-shaped bowl. It goes in the category of the cocktail shaker, jigger, and strainer. You can scrimp on the other tools and still get your cocktail right. 

Use of Bar Spoon

Stirring

This is the most basic and obvious use of the bar spoon. Of course, you can still use a long-handled spoon or a pair of chopsticks in case you don’t have a bar spoon. However, the slim bowl of the bar spoon allows you to stir cocktails even if it is mixed in a sling glass or any narrow-bottomed glasses filled with ice. Tip: stir gently. We’re not aiming for bubbles or explosions here. 

Measuring Ingredients

Another use of the bar spoon is to measure out ingredients as little as 5ml of syrup (or if you want to be more specific of a dash of your Sriracha hot sauce) but be warned that it is not still an accurate measure. 

Layering

Aside from stirring your cocktails and measuring ingredients, the bar spoon can be used to layer drinks. For floating an ingredient like Bailey’s, the back of the bar spoon is placed over the first layer of liquor, allowing the added liquid to spread slowly without mixing with the rest of the drink. Be sure to know the specific gravity of your ingredients. Tip: higher sugar content makes a liquid heavier and higher alcohol content makes the liquor lighter. Here are some layered drinks you can try.  


Curling Garnishes

Curling the citrus peel for some very nice garnish can be achieved with the corkscrew stem of the bar spoon. The thin, slightly flat bowl of the spoon can easily separate the rind from the pith of a whole orange or lemon so you can cut the rind into a long strip without cutting through the sections. This strip is then wound around the stem of the bar spoon to curl it. 

Double Stirring

You can stir with a conventional spoon but you can not stir two glasses at the same time using one hand. That’s double stirring for you. It cuts half the time needed to stir both drinks. This can be done perfectly because of the design of the bar spoon, giving you enough grip to work on while moving the ice cubes smoothly along the corkscrew stem. Be sure your spoons are of the same length. 

Types of Bar Spoon

There are three basic types of a bar spoon and the main difference is the tip of the handle. 

European Bar Spoon

The European bar spoon is easily identified by the disk at the tip of the spoon and the twisted handle running from the base to the tip. This spoon is sometimes called a muddler because that is the purpose of the flat disk - muddle soft ingredients like herbs. The flat disk can also help in the layering technique. By pouring the liquid along the twisted handle, letting it land and settle on the disk and allowing it to layer beautifully. This is a trick that you cannot pick up easily, though. 

American Bar Spoon

Instead of a disk, the tip of the American Bar Spoon is covered with a red rubber cap to cover the unfinished tip of the spoon. The stem is only twisted in the middle part but it cannot be helpful in layering a cocktail. These are the cheapest kinds of bar spoons in the lot. 

Japanese Bar Spoon

The Japanese bar spoon is probably the most gorgeous of the three without the cumbersome disk or the annoying pop of color at the end. Instead, it has a rounded teardrop design, making it ergonomic and elegant while keeping the layering function of the stem. It also has added weight for easy stirring. If the bowl side of the bar spoon gets stuck often with the ice, you can use the teardrop tip to stir instead. 

How do you hold a bar spoon?

Properly holding the bar spoon makes it do its job more efficiently. Hold it between the forefinger, middle finger, and the thumb, much like how you would hold a pen. Start by stirring slowly then straighten the wrist and continue stirring. This allows you to just use the fingers and a little bit of wrist muscle without adding the arm. 

Why does a bar spoon have a twist?

The twisted stem of the bar spoon makes it easier to stir the cocktail without getting stuck in between ice cubes. The corkscrew design lessens the friction between the spoon and the ice cubes as compared to the flattened stem of the ordinary spoon.


Conclusion

Finding the right tools is the best way to make your cocktails properly. All bar spoons have its own merit but choose one you are most comfortable working with. When buying a second spoon, you may want to choose one you can use in tandem with your current one for the double stirring trick or you may choose one of a different design to get a firsthand feel of how the other works any differently than your first one. 

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