Liquor Pourer: Understanding How It Works + Maintenance Tips
Bartenders work like they have multiple hands to serve customers on time. Skill contributes to their efficiency as well as tools like liquor pourers. It would be a mess in the bar without them as the business will most likely lose profit and time. The spout looks simple, but its very design and mechanism make it highly functional in a busy environment.
To better understand how liquor pourers work, let’s get to know the parts first, shall we? There are two kinds of spout pourers based on their method of measuring: manual and automatic.
The most commonly used liquor pourer in any bar is the standard metal spout because it dispenses the liquor consistently. Suitable for practice and accuracy of the measurement, it is used in the free pour technique.
The measured liquor pourer was invented to help bartenders keep accurate track of their measurements and reserve their focus to do other things. Unlike the free pour, wherein the bartender has to do the counting, this type of spout does the job for you.
You’ll be surprised to know that during the few seconds that a liquor pourer is used, there is an interesting process involved. Here’s how they work:
There are two tubes in a liquor pourer, the primary spout and the air hole or air intake. The spout is the passage for the liquid to exit the bottle, while the air intake is the passage for the air to get inside the bottle.
For the liquid-air exchange to occur, the bottle must be positioned upside down, letting the liquor flow through the spout and out into the glass. As this happens, air goes through the air intake, forming bubbles or the glugging effect. In essence, the contents of the bottle are being replaced with air.
The air intake is beneficial in creating a consistent and smooth flow. If a bartender covers this hole, the stream of the liquor will be at a slower rate since air can’t enter the intake, so the exchange does not take place.
Is it possible for the liquid and air to go through the opposite holes, such that liquid passes through the intake and air passes through the main spout? No, because the liquid’s surface tension denies it from passing through the air intake due to its smaller diameter. It will always go through the main spout which has a larger opening, leaving the air to pass through the narrower tube. Try covering the main spout instead of the air hole; you’ll notice that the liquid will not come out of the air intake.
Usually, there are two ball bearings located in a plastic tube of a measured liquor pourer. These steel balls act as valves that control the flow and the cut of the liquor.
Upon inserting the pourer in the bottle, the spout is covered with a piece of cloth; then, it is titled once. This is called priming, which sets the top ball to slide well and to prevent it from sticking. This also lets a bit of the liquor stay at the spout that acts as a blockage from fruit flies and dust to get in.
When the bottle is turned upside down, the liquid-air exchange still takes place as liquor passes through the spout. The balls stay in place until the pre-calibrated pour gets cut off, with the top ball rolling out to the nozzle to block more liquor from flowing out. To reset the pour, the bottle must be positioned upright to get the top ball in its resting place again, and the process is repeated.
Liquor bottles come in various sizes. Some fit the liquor spout perfectly; thus, removing it is easy as well. Just give it a grip, then work it back and forth until it loosens up.
Some bottles have a smaller mouth. While the rubber seal of the spout allows it to fit when inserted, the seal would be very tight making it difficult to remove. You have the option to leave the liquor pourers on temporarily, but every once in a while, they must be removed for cleaning.
When the spout is buried deep within, the metal part may detach from the rubber seal; this is normal. Once the metal spout is removed, just squeeze the rubber seal out and put it back together. You can also use a towel if your hands get slippery or sticky from the liquor.
If removing the spouts by hand risks breaking them, you can use a V-rod bottle opener. Slide the rubber seal of the spout by the opening of the opener and make sure it’s tight. Wiggle it up and down until the spout loosens, then yank it.
Liquor pourers usually come with a long brush that is used to clean the inside of the spout. But, this can be time-consuming, especially when there are many spouts used in a bar. Here is a more efficient way to clean them.
To make your liquor pourers last longer, follow these useful cleaning tips:
Bar accessories like liquor pourers are becoming more and more technologically advanced. That’s why it’s important to know how this bar tool works, no matter how simple the process is, so you’ll be able to use and clean it properly. If you found this article helpful, share it or let us know what you think in the comment section.
I can’t seem to find the answer to this question. If I use a liquor pourer with a cap, won’t I still have exposure of air to the bottle through the small uncovered air intake hole? I met a bartender that told me that air will not enter through the air intake without liquor going out. I get that. But will alcohol escape through that small hole even with the main pourer hole covered with a cap?