Kit and Play

Drinks Editor Jim Meehan's favorite tools of the trade
Photo: Courtesy of Moore & Giles
Jim Meehan's Essential Cocktail Gear

Our use of tools distinguishes us from most every other creature on the planet—bartenders included.

Ten years ago, you'd be hard-pressed to find a hand-turned wood muddler or an etched-glass mixing-pitcher with a spout in a restaurant-supply depot or cookware emporium. Out of necessity, pioneering cocktailians worked with vintage pieces, as David Wondrich still does, or paid extravagant prices for equipment from overseas, like Audrey Saunders of the Pegu Club.

Thankfully, this has all changed. Greg Boehm of Cocktail Kingdom led the charge, providing bartenders with the tools they need to make craft cocktails: first as an importer, and now producer of fine tools, glassware and bar books. Many of his wares and others are available at shops such as Barkeeper in Silver Lake, California; The Boston Shaker in Somerville, Massachusetts; and The Proper Pour in Denver. Many of these stores and more also offer esoteric spirits, knives, vintage glassware and artisanal mixers.

Perhaps the most exciting development is the availability of pieces created by the bartenders themselves. You'll definitely need more than Jackson Cannon's bar knife or Don Lee's Hawthorne strainer to mix as deftly as they do, but adding their tools to your kit will help you refine your creations and simplify your technique. Subtle details like Eric Prum and Josh Williams's linen napkins or Daniel Osbourne's blown-glass mixing pitcher will ensure everyone knows you mean business behind the bar.

  • Cocktail Kingdom Koriko Hawthorne Strainer
    This sturdy strainer was designed to provide the perfect pour. The supertight coil, with holes situated above it for the split pour, will catch everything from ice shards to mint leaves.

    cocktailkingdom.com, $15


  • W&P Design Carry On Cocktail Kit
    The Carry On Cocktail Kit, a collaboration with our friends at PUNCH, includes everything you need to mix two proper Old Fashioneds once you've secured your spirit of choice at cruising altitude. I'm also a fan of the company's chambray linen cocktail napkins.

    carryoncocktailkit.com and masonshaker.com, $24 for the kit; $24 for two napkins

  • R. Murphy Jackson Cannon Bar Knife
    Hawthorne proprietor Jackson Cannon worked with Mark Furman, the co-owner of R. Murphy Knives, to adapt a 19th-century leather-cutting tool into this citrus scalpel. The eponymous blade performs the work of up to three specialized knives employed for cutting, juicing, scraping and peeling.

    rmurphyknives.com, $79

  • Jack Rudy Roll-Up
    Jack Rudy founder Brooks Reitz brought the ideas of barmen Paul Calvert of Paper Plane and Eric Foster of Cask & Larder to Jason Gregory of Makr, a Florida-based designer known for his high-quality carry goods. The durable carryall that resulted from their collaboration has the perfect compartments for Jack Rudy's slender jigger ($9) and tapered, hand-turned hickory muddler ($40). Available for pre-order.

    jackrudycocktailco.com, $160

  • Bull in China Mixing Glass
    Portland-based barmen Lucas Plant and Daniel Osbourne worked with Vitreluxe glass studio's Lynn Read on this durable, spouted vessel hand-blown from soda lime glass. The pair sells the mixing glass, and a variety of other barware, at the Workshop Vintage store in North Portland under the Bull in China brand. Available for pre-order online.

    bullinchilapdx.com, $60

  • Moore & Giles Sidecar
    I rejoined forces with Moore & Giles, the same company that features my bartender bag and rollup, to design the ultimate bar cart. Handmade from a mixture of metals, luxurious leathers and Virginia black walnut; the sidecar serves double-duty as a mobile bar and liquor cabinet.

    mooreandgiles.com, $13,500

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