When it comes to crafting the perfect cocktail, the right tools can make all the difference.
Barfly Mixology Gear by Mercer knows exactly how critical tools can be – which is why they’ve built up a beautiful and effective collection of high-quality barware with every mixology need covered.
Over the last two months, Mercer teamed up with Chilled 100 Members to gift them a range of tools to try out at home or in-bar. Each Bartender got the chance to pick out a number of tools from the extensive collection to review for us. We caught up with them after the fact to get their thoughts.
Thank you for participating in our Barfly Mixology Gear Gifting Program. Please tell us about your experience using the bar tools you were sent.
“First off thank you!!! These tools were absolutely everything I could have wanted. I was very impressed with the quality of the bar bag and the tools. They will definitely get a lot of use!!” Wendy Hodges
“These tools are extremely high quality. For copper tools it’s easy to see the wear and tear early on and I expect these to stay in great shape for many uses.” Tracey Eden
“The bartender bag is awesome. I’ve used it a few times now for drink shows, events and competitions and I can’t see myself going back to any of the other dozen or so bags and rolls I’ve used in the past, definitely badass. Between the flexibility of being able to change the size of the dividers, the individual pouch for tools, and being a perfect size to hold plenty of tools, but not be too cumbersome is perfect.
The shakers are super solid, especially if you dog on that old-style aesthetic, the footed base and the rings around the outside shaker definitely stand out in a world awash in Boston shakers. They seal well, and definitely do the job. Even though the small tin doesn’t have a base cap/weight, it still handles well, and the bottom is thick enough it doesn’t make a lot of noise during the shake. I’m actually going to be using these in my new bar.
Have you ever wanted a set of ice tongs to act out your Avian or steampunk fantasies behind the bar these are the ones for you! All joking aside, I really like these and not just for their looks. Functionally they work really well, a lot of “ice tongs” really don’t do a great job of actually holding ice. These talon shaped baddies haven’t failed me yet. You do have to bend them open a bit more than they come to use really big cubes, but I wouldn’t mark that as a negative.
The stainless mixing tin was the one I was most curious about, and even a bit trepidatious of. After making a few cocktails those quickly fell aside. It’s just as quiet as glass, doesn’t sweat like I thought it might, and works exactly as a shaker tin should. The aesthetic might be a little polarizing, some will love it, some will hate it, but the ability to get run through dish, or even dropping it (I did!) and not having it break is a huge benefit.” Lance Bowman
What makes these Bar Tools so special?
“These tools are amazing. Very high quality. I have to recreate cocktails for photo shoots and need bar tools I can rely on and these really fit the bill. I also work many events and the bar bag is perfect for toting everything I need and even has room for bottles.” – Wendy Hodges
“Simply, they do the job. It is hard to find tools like knives and peelers that you can feel comfortable with. Especially when working at a fast pace, it’s good to know that they are durable and reliable.” Tracey Eden
“The bartender bag was definitely designed with the bartender in mind. Some just look like a repurposed duffle with a couple dividers, this one actually shows that they actually got input from people who would actually use it. The shaker tins definitely fulfill that classic deco/speakeasy aesthetic which makes them stand out. There aren’t a lot of alternatives to the classically shaped two part shaker that still are friendly to use. That’s where these excel. The tongs are just badass. And who can hate a mixing beaker that will bounce when you drop it?” Lance Bowman
If you were going to recommend the tools to a bartender friend, what would you say?
“Yesssss! The bar bag came with everything a traveling bartender would need. Whether they need to carry their tools to remote locations or just want to take their professional tools with them to and from work it is perfect.” Wendy Hodges
“Great investment, good quality tools are essential for bar professionals as well as at home bartenders, especially in today’s climate.” Tracey Eden
“That they’re awesome, reasonably priced, and well worth looking into over the usual suspects such as cocktail kingdom, etc.” Lance Bowman
Tell us what you feel the importance to using quality bar tools is in your profession.
“As any craft bartender will tell you, quality bar tools are a game changer. If a bartender is in the weeds and needs to make drinks fast their bar tools are key. A share bar knife, peeler, strong spoon, tongs, a great bottle opener, tempered glass, weighted tins…. these are all essential for working fast and producing quality cocktails.” Wendy Hodges
“With a lot of us working from home to create cocktail videos right now, having professional bar tools is important and these products fit the bill. It’s great that there are at home competitions and brands working with bartenders to create video tutorials, having proper tools to work with is definitely helpful.” Tracey Eden
“There’s a degree of confidence and pride in using tools you know aren’t going to fall apart or come unsealed and get egg white in your freshly coiffed hair. In having a station that looks as good as the cocktails you put out and realizing that aesthetics have value.” Lance Bowman
Any other tools you are going to try, or wish you could try from Barfly Mixology Gear?
“I got the advanced kit and it had everything I would need in it. If I had to pick one more item, it would probably be the double walled stainless-steel mixing tin. I usually use glass ones. I bet that would make a stirred cocktail colder faster and prevent over dilution of the cocktail.” Wendy Hodges
“The bib aprons look stylish, professional and functional. But I guess for now, I’ll stick to my onesies and sweatpants!” Tracey Eden
“I’ve got a bunch of their other gear, but I really need to get one of the bar spoons with the pineapple on top, I’m a sucker for anything with a pineapple.” Lance Bowman
We asked the bartenders to share some of the drinks they were mixing up with the new tools! Lance Bowman and Tracey Eden both sent recipes, Wendy Hodges shared many of the beautiful cocktails she was mixing up.
Recipe by Lance Bowman
- 1 1/2 oz. Westland American Single Malt
- 1/2 oz. Tio Pepe Fino Sherry
- 1 dash Grapefruit Bitters
- 3 oz. Topo Chico
- Grapefruit Twist
Preparation: Build in a mixing beaker, gently pour into a Collins glass over fresh ice.
Snow Capped Beaches
Recipe by Lance Bowman
- 1 1/2 oz. Rhum Agricole (Saint James)
- 1/2 oz. Bechervoka
- 1 oz. Lime Juice
- 3/4 oz. Pineapple & Kumquat Syrup
- 3/4 oz. Egg White (Alternatively Aquafaba)
- Combine ingredients in a shaker tin, add 1 2×2 ice cube and whip shake for ~30 seconds.
- Double Strain into a chilled coup glass and garnish with candied pineapple and kumquat reserved from making syrup.
Recipe by Tracey Eden
- 1 1/2 oz. Ten to One White Rum
- 1/2 oz. Patron Citrónge Pineapple
- 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
- 1/4 oz. Agave
Preparation: Shake with coconut water ice cubes. Strain into a rock glass with a coconut water big rock. Lemon wheel garnish. *if you don’t have pineapple liqueur, up the rum 1/2 oz. and sub the liqueur with 3/4 oz. Pineapple Juice.