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Raising the Bar: How to Use the Shaker, Jigger and Other Bar Tools for Cocktails

Beverage Director Brad Nugent of Center Bar demystifies the bar tool kit.

So you know how to pour a glass of wine or a pint of beer. Now what? If you want to elevate your skills from bartender to mixologist, you're going to need to invest in some tools. Brad Nugent, beverage director of Center Bar and Porter House New York, takes you through five tools that should be in your drink-mixing arsenal.

  • Boston shaker: A two-piece set consisting of a 16-oz pint glass and shaker. It's what you use to build most of your cocktails.
  • Strainer: A Hawthorne or julep strainer fits onto the mouth of the shaker and allows you to pour your cocktail into a glass while keeping out ice and muddled fruit or herbs.
  • Bar spoon: Longer and heavier than your typical spoon, this tool can crush ice, muddle, and stir cocktails.
  • Muddler: Use this to crush ice, lemon or lime wedges, aromatic bitters, sugar cubes, or mint and other herbs You can't whip up a good mojito without it.
  • Jigger: A dual-sided metal cup used to measure out your liquor. One end measures out 1 ounce, the other end 2 ounces.

Use these tools to make one of these cocktails, specially prepared by Brad Nugent:

Death in the Afternoon

The Cliff Dweller

The King's Old-Fashioned

Center Bar is a restaurant, wine bar and classic cocktail lounge featuring a selection of savory and sweet small plates under the direction of Chef/Owner Michael Lomonaco, whose neighboring Porter House New has established itself as one of New York’s leading modern steakhouses. Center Bar is located at Time Warner Center in The Shops at Columbus Circle, with dramatic views of Columbus Circle, Central Park and the New York skyline.

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