Bartender Tools – The Essential Tools That Should Be Behind Every Bar

A lot of times when people open a new bar or are throwing a big party, they always seem to forget something. It’s usually one of the “bartender tools” that are necessary but are also easily forgettable. The “bartenders tools” are very important, some are optional and you can live without, but in my experience when you forget lemons is when people want lemondrops or tequila shots. When you don’t have lime wedges, everybody orders Margaritas or Mojitos. So in the Holiday Spirit for the party season. I have put together a little checklist of “bartender tools” that you might need.

This is basically for those of you who wish to start their own home bar from scratch, are having a party, or just wish to practice at home. All of these tools will be supplied for you otherwise. These are just the bare minimums to get by on, you of course will want to add stuff as your creativity, knowledge, and experience progress.

AT THE BAR: This is where most of you “bartender tools” will be kept for easy access. A set of mixing tins an ice scoop, a bar spoon, a muddler,a glass rimmer, straws, and napkins. A fruit caddy with lime wedges, lemon wheels, maraschino cherries, orange slices, green olives, cocktail onions, and celery sticks. You might also need sugar packets, salt, pepper, celery salt, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, and whipped cream. The more complex of a drink menu you have, the more garnishments you will need. I’ve seen everything from pop-rocks to jalapenos.

BEHIND THE BAR: To cover your mixers that you will need for the average crowd you will need: Orange juice (OJ), Pineapple juice (PJ), Cranberry juice(CJ),Grapefruit Juice (GJ), Tomato juice, ½ & 1/2 or cream, Sour-mix, Grenadine, Rose’s Lime Juice, Coke, Lemon- Lime Soda(7), Club Soda, Tonic Water, Ginger Ale, Strawberry Daiquiri mix, Peach daiquiri mix, Pina Colada Mix, and Margarita Mix.

THE WELL: Your “well” is your speed rail right behind your bar where you keep your most requested liquors. They are usually the cheapest off-brand of these liquors. These are the commonly used liquors for HAPPY HOUR specials known as well drinks. Every bartender sets up their well and speed rail differently but I go with what I have been taught as the traditional well set-up. From left to right I follow the old acronym: “Virgin Girls Run With Big Studs To Town.” Which reminds me: Vodka, Gin, Rum, Whiskey, Bourbon, Scotch, Tequila, Triple- Sec. This set up is especially handy for making Long Islands and Margaritas. You’ll see what I mean once you are standing back there.

THE BAR: The liquors you choose to carry are all up to you. I suggest visiting a local corporate restaurant and building your inventory off of their set-up.

What to serve? That’s up to you. If you run or own an establishment then you need to be able to cover pretty much any drink imaginable. But for a private party, I suggest going over a drink menu (there are FREE ones on-line) and finding 40-50 drinks that you can make with less than 10 different liquors.