There are plenty of ways to improve your skills behind the stick, but one of the simplest is investing in quality bar tools.

Having better quality tools can have a lot of benefits, including making cocktail creating faster, cleaner, and in some cases safer.

Consider your shaker tin—how much force do you need to keep the lid on, does it work quickly and infallibly? As with most repeated tasks, much of bar work can cause repetitive stress injuries. While form is an important aspect, if you have to put less force and effort into mixing, you’ll save yourself some long-term muscle stress and reduce your risk of injury. At the same, time you’ll be reducing your risk of having a lid fly off and making a mess. Bar knives and peelers are another area where quality is incredibly important; having sturdy, sharp tools reduces your risk of hurting yourself while you work.

We caught up with Joe Flaherty, the Senior Vice President at Barfly, to learn more about why quality tools are important. One of the factors Flaherty noted was that using products that perform well and look good can help set bartenders apart. As customers return to bars, its expected that they’ll be more invested than ever in the performance aspect of visiting bars. Having quality tools that look as professional as they work will help set bartenders apart and garner the admiration (and tips) of service-hungry customers.

With all of the tools out there, which ones should you upgrade first? It can vary per person—pay attention to which tools you use the most and which you have to put the most focus into. Another factor to consider is how you’ll be using your tools. If you’re taking part in competitions, you may have different needs than someone working primarily at a sports bar. When looking for tools Flaherty shares to keep an eye out for, “Durability, accuracy in measuring and support.” Adding that, “Barfly offers all of this along with a warranty service that is second to none.

Mercer precison tongs and shaker

Mercer precison tongs and shaker

Precision Tongs

For those who focus on craft cocktails and need to work with accuracy and precision, having a set of tongs that can be used for making even the tiniest adjustments is useful. When working in cocktail competitions, attention to detail can improve your rates of success.

Quality Shaking Tin

If you’ve ever had a shaker cap fly off dousing you and those around you in cocktail, you know just how important your shaker can be. While your rates of failure are (hopefully) limited, having a quality shaker can do more than just reduce spills. They make you look more professional and can help you get a drink cooler faster meaning there’s less water dilution in your cocktail.

Cocktail with lemon garnish

Cocktail with lemon garnish

Photo by Cody Chan

Sharp and Consistent Knives and Peelers

When working at a fast pace knives and peelers need to be durable, reliable, and offer a sure grip. Additionally, they need to stay sharp and be easy to maintain to allow for precise cuts and keep effort to a minimum. When looking for a knife or peeling tool another feature to consider is if it comes with a slide on guard – which can be very useful if transporting tools to work or to and from competitions.