Essential Bar Tools and Equipment: A Comprehensive Guide for Bartenders

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: January 20, 2024
  • Time to read: 10 min.
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Aspiring bartenders and mixology enthusiasts understand the importance of having the right tools and equipment to create masterful cocktails. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the essential bar tools every bartender needs, where to buy them, how to use them effectively, and their specific purposes in the art of mixology.

Table of Contents

Where to Buy Bartending Tools?

When it comes to purchasing bartending tools, there are several options available. You can visit physical stores specializing in barware or explore online platforms that offer a wide range of tools. Online stores such as ABarAbove, Cocktail Kingdom,, and Amazon provide convenience and access to a diverse selection of high-quality bar tools. It’s important to consider your specific needs, budget, and the supplier’s reliability when purchasing.

On-the-Job Essential Bar Tools

Bottle Opener

True TrueTap Double Hinged Waiter’s Corkscrew, Matte Black Wine Bottle Opener with Foil Cutter, Wine Key

A bottle opener is an indispensable tool for any bartender. Whether opening a beer bottle or removing a stubborn bottle cap, having the right bottle opener can make all the difference.

Choose from traditional handheld bottle openers, bar blades (also called speed openers), or wall-mounted openers based on your preferences and the volume of beer bottles you handle.

Along with an opener, a wine key can help open wine bottles with less effort than a corkscrew.

Cocktail Shaker

24oz Cocktail Shaker Bar Set - Professional Margarita Mixer Drink Shaker and Measuring Jigger & Mixing Spoon Set - Professional Stainless Steel Bar Tools Built-in Bartender Strainer for Martini Kit

A cocktail shaker is a quintessential tool for mixing drinks and achieving the perfect balance of flavours. Explore different cocktail shakers, including the classic Boston shaker, the versatile cobbler shaker, and the elegant French shaker. Mastering shaking techniques, such as the hard shake and the gentle roll, will elevate your cocktail-making skills.

We have a full guide to cocktail shakers here.

Fruit Squeezer

Lemon Squeezer Stainless Steel Press - Ergonomic, Manual Non-Slip Grip Design - Effortless Pro-Grade Lemon, Lime, Orange, and Citrus Fruit Hand Held Lemon Juicer Squeezer - Fewer Seeds, More Juice

Freshly squeezed fruit juice adds vibrancy and flavour to cocktails. Invest in a quality citrus fruit squeezer, whether it’s a manual citrus press, a handheld juicer, or an electric juicer. Extracting juice from lemons, limes, and oranges becomes effortless with the right tool, ensuring your cocktails burst with natural goodness.

Mixing Glasses

HIWARE Professional 24 Oz Cocktail Mixing Glass, Thick Bottom Seamless Crystal Mixing Glass

A mixing glass allows bartenders to stir ingredients smoothly and gently, creating a perfectly blended cocktail. Choose from various options like pint glasses or the elegant Yarai glass. Stirring techniques, such as the Japanese hard stir or the gentle layering of ingredients, enhance the overall experience and taste of the cocktail.

Bar Spoon

Muddler for Cocktails Bar Spoon - Vaincre 2PCS 9" Muddler and 10” Bar Spoon Cocktail Mixing Spoon, Stainless Steel Cocktail Muddler Long Drink Stirrer Bartender Spoon Cocktail Gifts for Mojitos Drinks

The bar spoon is indispensable for stirring cocktails, layering ingredients, and garnishing drinks. It is characterized by its long handle and twisted shaft that aids in efficient stirring and layering. The spoon end is often flat, making it easier to muddle ingredients and layer delicate liqueurs on top of cocktails. Additionally, the handle of a bar spoon can be used for measuring small amounts of ingredients with precision.

Cocktail Making Equipment

Ice Bucket and Scoop

Oggi Insulated Ice Bucket, 4 Quart / 3.8 L, Stainless Steel, Black

Ice is an essential component of many cocktails. An ice bucket and ice scoop combination ensures you have a constant supply of ice readily available. Proper handling and storage of ice help maintain its quality, keeping your drinks chilled and refreshing.

Ice Crushers

For cocktails that require crushed ice, ice crushers come to the rescue. Whether you opt for a manual crusher or an electric one, crushing ice becomes efficient and hassle-free. Crushed ice adds texture and dilution to alcoholic beverages, enhancing the overall experience of certain cocktails.

Ice Cube Making Machine

Countertop Ice Maker, FREE VILLAGE Ice Maker Machine for Countertop 9 Ice Ready in 6 Mins, 26Lbs/24H, Self-Cleaning Function, Portable Ice Maker with Ice Scoop & Basket for Home/Party/Camping (Black)

Efficiency in producing ice cubes is crucial for busy bars. Commercial ice makers or countertop ice machine offers a consistent supply of ice cubes. Consider factors such as production capacity, storage capacity, and ease of maintenance when selecting a reliable ice maker or cube-making machine.

Funnel and Strainer

When it comes to precision and cleanliness, funnels and strainers play a vital role in a bartender’s toolkit. Funnels aid in transferring liquids without spillage, while strainers ensure that no unwanted particles make their way into the cocktail. Whether filtering freshly squeezed juice or straining a shaken cocktail, these tools contribute to a refined drink.

Non-Essential Luxury Items

Lemon Zester Machine (Grater)

Garnishing cocktails with lemon zest adds a burst of aroma and flavour. Lemon zester machines, such as handheld graters or electric zesters, offer convenience and precision. These tools make achieving professional-looking zest effortless, enhancing your cocktails’ visual and olfactory appeal.

Glass Rimmer

Greenco 3 Tier Bar Glass Rimmer Dish Set for Margarita Drink and Cocktail, Margarita Salt Rimmer, Black | Great For Cocktails Glasses | Bar Accessories | Bartending Supplies

A glass rimmer is a versatile tool that adds flair to cocktail presentations. By rimming glasses with salt, sugar, or other ingredients, you can elevate the taste and appearance of certain cocktails. Follow these simple steps: dampen the rim, dip it into the rimming ingredient, and rotate gently to create a well-coated rim that complements the drink.

Champagne Stopper

Preserving the carbonation of opened champagne bottles is essential, and a champagne stopper is the perfect solution. Reusable stoppers and pressure pump stoppers create a tight seal, allowing you to enjoy the effervescence of the bubbly for an extended period. Say goodbye to wasted champagne and hello to preserved celebration.

Bar Equipment and Their Uses

Bar Mat

Noverlife 2PCS Rubber Bar Mats, Non-Slip Bar Service Spill Mat Bar Table Mat Restaurant Kitchen Counter Bar Pad, Anti-Skid Heat Resistant Barber Station Mat for Hair Salon

Bar mats serve multiple purposes behind the bar. Made from thick and heavy rubber, they provide a cushioned surface to prevent breaking glassware, absorb spills, and keep the workspace clean. With regular cleaning and maintenance, bar mats ensure a safe and efficient bartending environment.

Lemon Squeezer

A lemon squeezer is a handy tool for easily extracting juice from lemons. Whether you opt for a handheld squeezer or a manual citrus press, these tools maximize juice yield while minimizing effort. Squeeze lemons like a pro to add a burst of tanginess to your cocktails.

Glass Washing Machine

Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene is paramount in the bar industry. Bar glass washing machines streamline the process of washing glassware, ensuring they are spotless and ready for use. These bar glass washers save time and effort, allowing bartenders to focus on crafting exceptional drinks.

Wine Decanter

A wine decanter is a vessel (usually glass) used to hold wine after it has been transferred from its original bottle. It serves three main purposes: separating sediment from the liquid, allowing the wine to breathe by exposing it to oxygen (a process known as aeration) and enhancing the wine’s presentation. It’s important to clean the decanter after usage is important after each use to avoid passing tastes.


Elevating the Art of Mixology with the Right Tools and Equipment Having the essential bar tools and equipment is a fundamental aspect of bartending. Each bar tool used serves a specific purpose, contributing to the creation of well-crafted cocktails.

Whether you are just learning how to become a bartender or have worked in the industry for several years, by investing in high-quality tools, bartenders can enhance efficiency and the overall drinking experience for your patrons.

Bar Equipment FAQs:

Where can I find speciality bartending tools?

Speciality bartending tools can be found in dedicated barware stores or online platforms such as ABarAbove, Cocktail Kingdom,, and Amazon. These platforms offer various bar service tools to suit different needs and preferences.

Can I use regular kitchen tools as substitutes for bar tools?

While it’s possible to use certain kitchen tools as substitutes in a pinch, investing in proper bar tools is recommended. Bar tools are specifically designed for the unique demands of mixology, ensuring accuracy, efficiency, and a professional presentation.

Are luxury items necessary for a home bar?

Luxury items such as lemon zester machines or glass rimmers are not essential equipment but can add an extra touch of elegance and creativity to your home bar setup. They are worth considering if you enjoy experimenting with advanced techniques and sophisticated presentations.

How do I maintain and clean bar tools and equipment?

Most bar tools can be easily cleaned with warm water, mild soap, and a soft brush. It’s important to thoroughly dry them after cleaning to prevent rust or damage. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific maintenance guidelines for each essential bar tool.

Can I use pre-crushed ice instead of crushing ice myself?

Pre-crushed ice is convenient but may not offer the same texture and dilution as freshly crushed ice. Crushing ice yourself allows for greater control and customization based on the specific cocktail you’re preparing.

What is typical equipment in a bar?

Typical equipment in a bar includes essential tools like shakers, jiggers, strainers, bar spoons, muddlers, and bottle openers. Additionally, glassware such as cocktail glasses, highball glasses, and wine glasses are commonly found in bars.

What equipment goes behind a bar?

Behind a bar, you’ll typically find a variety of equipment. This includes refrigeration units for storing ingredients, ice bins for easy access to ice, liquor bottles arranged on shelves, speed rails for quick access to commonly used spirits, and sinks for washing glassware and utensils. Other equipment may include blenders, coffee machines, and garnish trays.

What is the most important piece of equipment in the bar?

While the importance of various bar tools and equipment can vary depending on the bartender’s preferences and the type of establishment, one of the most crucial pieces of equipment in a bar is the cocktail shaker. It allows bartenders to mix and combine ingredients effectively, creating well-balanced and flavorful cocktails.

What are bar accessories?

Bar accessories refer to the additional tools, quality equipment, and items that enhance the bartending experience and presentation of drinks. This can include items like glass rimmers, garnish picks, cocktail straws, cocktail napkins, drink stirrers, and decorative elements such as umbrellas or fruit skewers.

What equipment goes under the bar?

Under the bar, you will often find refrigeration units for keep drinks cold storing perishable ingredients, ice machines or ice bins for easy access to ice, shelves for organizing bottles and glassware, sinks for washing glassware and utensils, and storage compartments for various supplies and equipment.

What are the four measuring devices commonly used by bartenders?

Bartenders commonly use four measuring devices for precise ingredient proportions: jiggers, bar spoons, pourers, and shot glasses.

Cocktail Jiggers are double-sided measuring tools with different capacities, bar spoons are used for small measurements or stirring, pourers provide controlled pouring for spirits, and shot glasses are used for measuring specific amounts of liquid.

Are there any eco-friendly alternatives to plastic straws?

Yes, there are eco-friendly alternatives to plastic straws. Reusable metal straws or biodegradable options from materials like paper, bamboo, or wheat are becoming popular for environmentally-conscious bartenders and patrons.

How often should I clean and sanitize my bartender equipment?

It is best to clean and sanitize your bartender equipment after each use to maintain hygiene and prevent cross-contamination. Thoroughly wash the tools with hot, soapy water, rinse well, and allow them to air dry before storing them.

Can I use regular kitchen knives for garnishing cocktails?

While regular kitchen knives can be used for garnishing cocktails, investing in specialized garnishing knives with thin, sharp blades and ergonomic handles can make the task easier and more precise.

What is the purpose of a muddler in cocktail making?

A muddler gently crushes fruits, herbs, or sugar cubes in cocktails. By muddling ingredients, the essential oils and flavours are released, enhancing the taste and aroma of the drink. It is particularly useful when working with fresh mint leaves, berries, or citrus fruits, as it helps extract their juices and essence.

Can you recommend a versatile glassware option for a well-rounded bar setup?

The Collins glass is one versatile glassware option that works well for a wide range of cocktails. It is a tall, cylindrical glass that can accommodate a variety of mixed drinks, from classic highballs to refreshing spritzers. The Collins glass allows for a generous serving of the cocktail while showcasing its colours and layers.

What are some creative uses for a smoke gun in mixology?

A smoke gun can add a captivating smoky flavour and aroma to your mix drinks and cocktails, creating a unique sensory experience. It can infuse smoke into a glass before pouring a cocktail, adding a smoky twist to classics like an Old Fashioned or a Negroni. Additionally, it can be used to smoke ingredients like herbs, fruits, or even ice cubes, lending an intriguing flavour profile to experimental cocktails.

How can I prevent glassware from breaking behind the bar?

To prevent glassware breakage, ensure that shelves or racks for glass storage are stable and secure. Use non-slip liners or mats to provide a cushioned surface for glassware, reducing the risk of slipping and falling. When handling glassware, hold it by the base or stem to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the delicate rim.

Are there any alternative uses for bar spoons besides stirring cocktails?

Yes, bar spoons have versatile uses beyond stirring cocktails. They can layer ingredients in layered shots or cocktails, creating visually appealing effects. Spoons with twisted handles can also be used for floating ingredients on top of drinks, such as a float of cream on a cocktail or a layer of liqueur.

How often should I replace my bartender equipment?

The frequency of replacing bartender equipment depends on its quality, usage, and maintenance. Regularly inspect your bar equipment list and tools for signs of wear, such as rust, loose handles, or dull blades. If any equipment becomes damaged, compromised, or no longer functions properly, it’s best to replace it to ensure efficient and safe bartending practices.

What is the name of the tool used in cocktails?

The tool commonly used in cocktails is a cocktail shaker. It mixes and combines ingredients, allowing the flavours to meld together and chill the drink. Cocktail shakers come in various styles, such as the Boston shaker, cobbler shaker, and French shaker.

Remember, the right bar tools and equipment are not just accessories but essential components that enhance your skills and elevate the art of mixology.