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Create Expert Cocktails with Cocktail Stirrers, Strainers and Muddlers

Stir up a professional-quality mixed drink at home with bar essentials like cocktail stirrers, strainers and muddlers. They may seem like small, basic items, but these three bar tools are instrumental in preparing many of the world's most popular cocktails.

What Are Cocktail Stirrers, Strainers and Muddlers?

Stirrers, strainers and muddlers are some of the most commonly used items for creating alcoholic mixed drinks. Each tool serves a unique purpose:

  • Cocktail stirrers are thin sticks, usually made of glass or plastic, that are used to thoroughly combine cocktail ingredients. A good stirrer should be over six inches long so it can effectively stir drinks made in highball glasses.
  • Cocktail strainers are metal devices dotted with holes that are used alongside metal shakers or mixing glasses. The cocktail ingredients are mixed in the cocktail shaker, then poured through the strainer into clean barware. By catching unwanted bits like fruit pulp and ice shards, cocktail strainers deliver nothing but clear, refreshing drinks.
  • Cocktail muddlers are thick cylindrical items made of wood or plastic, used to crush various cocktail ingredients like herbs and fruits. Crushing these ingredients releases oils and juices that enhance the flavor of the drink. A good muddler won't leave scratches or dents and can be used to muddle directly in the bar glass.

Easy Cocktail Recipes for Your Next Party

Once you've learned what each bar tool does, it's time to put those lessons to practice. These three cocktail recipes use relatively simple bartending techniques, but the finished product looks and tastes fancy enough to impress the guests at your next party.

  • To make athe classic martini, start with three ounces of gin or vodka. Mix with half an ounce of dry vermouth, then stir thoroughly with your cocktail stir stick. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass and garnish with an olive or lemon twist.
  • An old-fashioned cocktail starts with about a teaspoon of fine sugar and two to three dashes of bitters in an old-fashioned glass. Add a few drops of water, then use your muddler to combine the ingredients and dissolve the sugar. Add ice and two ounces of whiskey then finish with a decorative orange slice.
  • For a sidecar, pour two ounces of cognac, ¾ ounce of lemon juice and ¾ ounce of triple sec into a mixing glass filled with ice. Shake thoroughly, then carefully strain through your cocktail strainer into a clean glass and garnish with a lemon twist. To balance out the sour drink, you can also choose to rim the glass with sugar before straining.

The perfect cocktail is one that both tastes and looks great. With a well-stocked liquor cabinet, the right bar tools and a little practice, you'll be well on your way towards mastering even the most complex mixed drinks.

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