Five pieces of essential cocktail kit for your first BBQ of 2017
London is supposedly hotter than the med this week, which means it might be time to start thinking about dusting off the barbecue from its winter hibernation and getting some friends around for an evening of food and, of course, cocktails.
Cocktails don’t need to be stressful or time consuming and although a bad workman (or woman) blames their tools, having the right gear on hand can make the whole process a lot easier. Here are our top five bits of kit for you to make drinks like the pros.
1. A hand juicer, better known as a ‘Mexican Elbow’ tops this list for its ease of use and its never-ending novelty. Fresh citrus is a vital part of so many great drinks and it’s never better than when it’s juiced right then and there. They come in a range of sizes, from little ones for limes and huge ones for oranges – we recommend one designed for lemons as a happy medium, it’ll work for limes but you can also squish half an orange in there too.
2. A shaker, the most iconic piece of cocktail equipment there is comes in at number two. This is your showpiece and once you have one you can spend as long as you like practicing that perfect shake. Shakers are largely personal preference, although our advice is to stay clear of three-piece shakers – as once they get cold they can be embarrassingly hard or impossible to open. Instead, opt for a Boston tin with a smaller tin as its other half. Often you will see a tin-glass combo being used but glass is prone to breakage so tin-on-tin is much safer and will last longer.
3. Thirdly, a good strainer is going to be a big part of your cocktail kit and like shakers, these come in a range of styles and functions. Our go-to piece of kit is called a hawthorn strainer, so called because of the prongs found on the outside of classic models. Getting an extra spring for your strainer will also help remove any chips of ice from your drinks, making them extra smooth and crisp. Other styles include fine-strainers and julep strainers, all of which are useful in their own right, but hawthorn is the guy if you’re only going to have one.
4. If you don’t know how much of something is going into your drink, it’s impossible to know the end result, so a jigger (fancy name for a cocktail measurer) makes it onto our list. These, as appears to be trend, come in a range of styles but our preferred is the Japanese jigger which has a conical 25ml as its top half and a conical 50ml measure as the bottom half. The tapered sides of these can take a bit of getting used to, but with a bit of practice you’ll be pouring like a pro.
5. The last place on our list goes to the humble glass bottle. Over the next couple of months, this blog will teach you how to make some great cocktails in your own home and sometimes, a great drink will require a little preparation beforehand. That prep will feel quite at home in a clean glass bottle. Size is again, preference, we tend to have a few clean beer bottles as well as larger wine ones knocking about for when we make syrups.
An honorary mention has to go to a hard-fruit juicer. These things are amazing for making fresh juice – cucumber juice is a favourite of ours when making summery drinks and if you’ve got an Argos nearby one could set you back as little as £30.
Check back for our next instalment where we will give you some ideas to get started with your new kit and a few easy recipes with which to wow your mates. If you really want to pull out all of the stops however, get in contact with us and we’ll come down to your party and do it for you.
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