The Secret Superstitions Behind Bartending Tools: Shakers, Strainers, and More

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: January 20, 2024
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Have you ever noticed that bartenders seem to have a certain reverence for their tools? From shakers to strainers, these items are not just instruments of their craft but also objects of superstition and belief. Behind these practices lies a rich history of tradition and symbolism passed down through generations of bartenders. In this article, we will delve into the world of bartending tools superstitions, uncovering the fascinating beliefs and practices that have shaped the industry for centuries.

Superstitions Around Shakers

Superstitions and beliefs about bartending tools have been around for centuries. Among the most iconic of these tools is the shaker. Bartenders across the world have unique beliefs about this essential piece of equipment. Some believe that shaking a cocktail too vigorously will result in a bad hangover for the customer. Others believe that the shake’s direction can affect the drink’s taste.

The Lucky Cocktail Shaker

There are various lucky cocktail shaker superstitions that bartenders believe in. Some common ones include:

  • Always shake a cocktail to your left: This superstition suggests that shaking a cocktail to your left brings good luck.
  • Counting the number of shakes: Bartenders may believe that shaking a cocktail a specific number of times brings good luck. For example, some may think that shaking a cocktail 7 or 13 times brings good luck.
  • Avoid putting the shaker down: It is believed that putting a shaker down during the shaking process can bring bad luck, so bartenders may try to keep the shaker in their hands until the shaking is complete.
  • Keeping the shaker clean: Some bartenders believe that keeping the shaker clean and polished can bring good luck and positive energy to the drinks.
  • Only using one shaker per cocktail: Bartenders may believe that using more than one shaker per cocktail can bring bad luck, so they stick to using only one shaker for each drink.

Superstitions About Strainers

Superstitions and beliefs surrounding bartending tools are not limited to shakers alone; even strainers have their fair share of lore. For instance, some bartenders believe that the shape of the strainer can affect the taste of the cocktail. A “Hawthorne” strainer, named after its inventor, is considered the best type of strainer to use as it has a specific number of coils that supposedly filters out impurities and ensures a smoother drink. Additionally, some bartenders believe that the strainer should always be placed face-down on the bar, symbolizing the bartender’s desire to serve a perfect cocktail to the patron.

Some superstitions about bar strainers include:

  • Using a dirty strainer will bring bad luck and negatively impact the taste of the cocktail.
  • Flipping a strainer over the shoulder after use will bring good luck and ensure the next drink is perfectly mixed.
  • Allowing a strainer to touch the bottom of a shaker or mixing glass is believed to cause bad luck and result in a poorly mixed cocktail.
  • If a strainer gets tangled or caught during use, it is considered bad luck and a sign of an upcoming shift filled with mistakes.
  • Placing a strainer upside down on the bar is believed to bring bad luck and cause the bar to become chaotic and disorganized.

Superstitions About Jiggers

Superstitions and beliefs surrounding jiggers, the measuring tool for cocktails, are also prevalent in the bartending world. One common belief is that the size and shape of the jigger can affect the drink’s taste. Some bartenders prefer to use a certain type of jigger, such as a Japanese-style jigger because they believe it improves the precision and balance of the cocktail. Others believe that the weight of the jigger is important, with heavier jiggers believed to produce better results. Additionally, some bartenders believe that using a particular hand to hold and pour the jigger can impact the drink’s success.

There are several superstitions related to jiggers, including:

  • Never use a jigger that’s been dropped: Dropping a jigger is considered bad luck, and using a jigger that’s been dropped is said to bring bad fortune to the drink and the person drinking it.
  • Always fill the jigger to the brim: It’s believed that if the jigger isn’t filled to the brim, it can bring bad luck to the drinker.
  • Use the right size jigger for the drink: Bartenders believe that using the wrong size jigger for a drink can affect its taste and quality.
  • Clean the jigger properly: Not cleaning a jigger properly is said to bring bad luck to the drink and the person drinking it.

Muddlers Superstitions

Muddlers used to crush fruits, herbs, and spices are believed to bring luck and ward off evil spirits in the bar industry. Some bartenders even have specific muddlers for certain drinks to enhance the flavour and bring good fortune. Others believe that using a muddler made of a certain material, such as wood or metal, can affect the taste of the cocktail and bring different energies to the drink. Despite being a simple tool, the muddler has its own superstitions and beliefs in the bartending world.

Here are some common superstitions related to muddlers used in bartending:

  • Never lend your muddler to anyone else, as it will bring bad luck.
  • Muddlers made of wood are considered luckier than those made of metal or plastic.
  • Tapping the muddler on the counter three times before use will bring good luck.
  • Muddlers that are used to make mojitos are considered to have special luck.
  • A muddler left in a drink overnight is believed to bring bad luck if used.
  • It is bad luck to let anyone touch your muddler, as it may interfere with its energy.
  • Using a muddler in a counter-clockwise direction will bring bad luck, while others think that the clockwise direction is unlucky.
  • Dropping a muddler is believed to bring bad luck, and some bartenders will even retire a muddler that has been dropped.

Bar Spoons Superstitions

Bar spoons are an essential tool for any bartender. But did you know that they are also steeped in superstition? Many bartenders believe that the bar spoon’s length and shape can impact the cocktail’s flavour and quality. Some even believe that certain spoons can bring good luck or ward off evil spirits. For example, some bartenders prefer the twisted handle of a European-style bar spoon, which is said to help mix the drink more thoroughly and evenly. Others swear by Japanese-style bar spoons, which have a longer handle and are believed to bring good fortune to the person drinking the cocktail. Whatever the belief, it is clear that bar spoons have a special place in the world of bartending superstitions.

Here are some bar spoon superstitions:

  • Stirring a cocktail with a silver bar spoon brings good luck.
  • Dropping a bar spoon on the floor is a bad omen and means that you will have a slow night.
  • Twirling a bar spoon in your fingers before using it can bring good luck and help you create a delicious cocktail.
  • Using a bent bar spoon is considered bad luck and can result in a poorly made cocktail.
  • Placing a bar spoon in a specific spot on the bar, such as with the bowl facing up, is believed to bring good luck and ensure a successful shift.
  • Stirring a cocktail counterclockwise will bring bad luck.
  • A bar spoon with a twisted handle is said to promote good luck and fortune.
  • It is considered bad luck to rest a bar spoon on the rim of a glass or shaker.
  • If a bar spoon falls on the floor, it is believed to indicate that a stranger will order the next drink.


In conclusion, the world of bartending is full of fascinating beliefs and bartender superstitions surrounding the tools of the trade. From the shaker to the bar spoon, each item has its own unique history and lore. While some of these beliefs may seem silly or outdated, they are still widely held in the industry today. Bartenders continue to use these tools with respect and care, hoping to bring good luck and success to their craft. So the next time you order a drink, take a moment to appreciate the history and superstitions behind the tools that helped make it.