Inspired by Sara Kate's Ten Things I Love From My Mother's Kitchen post last week - and all the fabulous reader submissions that have followed it - for this week's column, I've put together a list of my own, all items from my home bar:
- Three-Piece Stainless Steel Cocktail Shaker. I've had this cobbler-style shaker for over 15 years, and it's proven to be a real workhorse. On its own, the bottom can be used with a bar spoon for stirred cocktails (the strainer may then be fitted in place for pouring). The small cup-like cap holds exactly an ounce - great for measuring out ingredients in a pinch. And all three pieces fit together snugly for shaking up drinks. A classic.
- Vintage Carousel Shot Dispenser. This was a flea market find and has spent most of its time with me as a display item, although it has been put to use on occasion. The top hardware screws off so that the glass reservoir can be filled with liquor. When the red Lucite button is pressed down, the manual suction pump engages, and a shot pours into one of the tiny glasses (each can get its turn under the spout if you rotate the "carousel" tray). Whee!
- Vintage Silver Iced-Tea Spoons. After shopping around for new stainless steel iced tea spoons last year, I found these sterling silver ones on eBay, and paid around $18 for the set of six. They've proven to be great for getting to the bottom of frothy drinks like Ramos Gin Fizzes, and for scooping out every last bit of fruit garnish from a Pimm's Cup.
- An Assortment of Bar Measures. The largest of these comes in handy when juicing citrus ("Just one more ounce of lime for those Margaritas, almost there...."). The smallest in the group - the "Mini Measure®" glass with red lettering - is marked in 1/4-ounce increments (as well as ml, tsp, and Tbs), handy for drinks such the Blue Moon Cocktail, which call for some specialized ingredients in minuscule amounts.
- Scottish-Themed Glasses. Beer from a tartan-bedecked pilsner glass, or a wee dram of single malt from some thistle-shaped stemware. Another vintage find.
- Delicate Vintage Stemware. A trio of mismatched cocktail glasses. More on this here.
- Cocktail Books. Some favorite reference works.
- Knife/Reamer/Cutting Board. Essentials for prepping citrus garnishes and juices.
- Silicone Ice Trays (Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Trays). These make nice big pieces of ice that are actually cube-shaped. The soft silicone material enables easy removal from the tray.
- Old King Cole. A framed postcard from the King Cole Bar Lounge. The original "Old King Cole" mural by Maxfield Parrish is some 30 feet wide and sits above the tony bar at the St. Regis Hotel in NYC. But this 8-inch postcard fits my home bar just fine.
Do you have any favorite bar gear at home?
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(Images: Nora Maynard)