Bartender's Secret Weapons
By Mark Ellwood
It's as true in your living room as it is behind the bar: The right tools can elevate a good drink to a great one. Here, master mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim shares the little-known -- and surprisingly low-tech -- essentials he relies on.
The bowl of this vessel has a slight tulip shape, which is intended to retain the carbonation of seltzer in cocktails such as a gin fizz. Abou-Ganim considers five to eight ounces the best size.
La Rochere glasses, 5 1/4 oz., $120 for 6, amazon.com
Made from a branch of the tropical Lele tree, this mixes drinks more thoroughly than a plastic stirrer. Abou-Ganim uses it for cocktails with crushed ice, so as to not further break up the delicate shards by shaking.
Angled Bar Spoons
For optimal stirring, these models feature an elegant long handle angled to sit in the center of a glass. They hold a precise level tablespoon to simplify recipe testing.
$13 each, themodernmixologist.com
Sawara Cypress Bucket
Used in Japan to store rice, these are being employed as ice buckets by in-the-know barkeeps. Why? Sawara cypress is antibacterial and insulating, and it wicks moisture so ice stays solid and dry.
Lewis Bag and Muddler
Rather than using a crushed-ice machine, Abou-Ganim fills this canvas bag with cubes and smashes them into chunks or flakes with a muddler. The fabric absorbs melting water, and the resulting bone-dry pieces won't dilute a mint julep.
Bag, $15; and muddler, $18; themodernmixologist.com
Martha's Pick: Spherical Ice Mold
For parties, Martha likes to chill cocktails with two-inch-diameter ice balls. Their large size means they melt more slowly, preventing watery drinks.