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Tools of the trade

Behind every cocktail, there’s an arsenal of gadgets and garnishes. Here’s a primer on a few


Jigger {1}

Ensures perfectly measured cocktail ingredients: Yay! Also prevents overpouring: Boo!


From palm-sized to billy club. Used to smush the greenery in mint juleps and mojitos.

Zester {2}

Looks like a backscratcher for a mouse, but actually used to peel long, thin spirals of citrus rind.

Citrus press {3} Used to squeeze every last drop of juice from a lemon or lime. Most often found in the neighborhood of a margarita.

Rimmer … no, actually, it’s a saucer with inset ring. It holds salt to rim a margarita glass, graham crackers for a pie martini or any blend of cayenne pepper/brown sugar/orange zest/celery salt or whatever combo is augmenting your mixology exotica.

Turtle spoon {4} So-called because it’s often designed to look like a turtle — it’s a convex metal disk that sits atop a pint glass on four tiny feet and allows for the pouring of layered beer cocktails.

Absinthe fountain A glass jar on a pedestal used to drip water into a glass of absinthe. They range from simple, one-faucet plain glass to elaborate multi-spout, cut-crystal bulbs on ornate silver pedestals.

Support comes from

Spherical ice mold {5} Because a giant ball of ice will melt slower than a tiny cube, thus keeping your bourbon-rocks from becoming bourbon-and-water that much longer.



Olives {6} A partial list of things that can be stuffed into a cocktail olive: pimento, almond, garlic, blue cheese, jalapeno, orange, onion, capers, pepperoncini, lemon, habañero, anchovy …

Mint {7} It’s not just for juleps anymore – mint also gives a nice flavor and finish to rum and vodka drinks. Just make sure to spank it first to release the flavor.

Star anise {8} The star-flower shape looks lovely floating on the surface of your beverage, while the anise adds a sympathetic flavor to pastis or absinthe.

Slim Jim

The hell with celery and cherry tomatoes! This is the way to garnish a Bloody Mary!



Bitters {9} The 19th century’s cure for whatever ails you has become the 21st century’s cocktail fetish. Angostura and Peychaud’s are eternal, but now there’s blood orange, rhubarb, Sriracha, lavender and anything your bartender can dream up and steep for three weeks.

Shrub Bitters too banal for you? Shrub is a sugar-vinegar blend that can be flavored with ginger, tomato, grapefruit or a blend of ingredients to add an acidic edge to cocktails.

Egg white Once a curious addition to obscure retro libations like the White Lady and Ramos Gin Fizz, it’s now a key ingredient to add a subtle froth to nouveau mixology drinks.

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