Paul and Lidia saw a gap in the market for professional bar supplies. Their new website Bar Counter London has all the cocktail making kit you need. Find out how I got on testing some of their products.
Bar Counter London was created by two bartenders in Hackney Wick, London. Paul and Lidia were struggling to source all the bar tools they needed to practice their craft, and so Bar Counter London was born!
Their mission is simple – to provide bartenders, cocktail lovers and enthusiasts with affordable bar tools and other bar supplies!
I may not be a professional bar tender but I am most definitely a cocktail enthusiast. Getting behind the bar and making cocktails at my sisters hen do earlier this year was a fantastic experience and I learnt a lot. The problem, I didn’t have any of the kit I needed to make the drinks when I got back home!
Luckily for me I got chatting to the guys from Bar Counter London on twitter and they kindly offered to send me some of their most popular products to see what I thought.
The opinions I share in this review are entirely my own.
Weirdly enough the thing I was most excited about was the muddler. I’ve tried wooden ones in the past that were all style over substance. Sure they were pretty but they are a pain in the backside to care for. This rubber version is much more heavy duty and comfortable to use. I particularly liked the groves which really gave my limes a good bashing! Perfect for making mojitos!
They have a wide range of muddlers on the site and if you are looking for something a bit prettier they have lots of wooden and stainless steel ones.
My muddler will only set you back £2.45 making it perfect for those on a budget. If money is no object then the range goes up to £38.20.
The next product in my kit was a jigger. Until I stepped foot behind a bar for the first time in May, I’d never really appreciated how important a jigger or other measure was. I’d always seen myself as more of a free pour kind of girl. (Which translates to: I like my drinks strong).
But, cocktails are all about balance and so getting the ratios right is really, really important. It’s all well and good saying you like your margarita strong but if all you can taste is tequila you’ve done it wrong!
To see the range of jiggers and measurers on offer click here.
Next up is the all important cocktail shaker. I will admit I have a bit of a collection of these and have gone through a fair few in my time. The prettiest cocktail shakers are often made of glass and not really built for too much shaking! I’ve also had terrible ones in the past where the top has popped off mid shake because it can’t handle the pressure or the glass has cracked. Cue a very, very sticky mess.
The glass fit perfectly into the can and after a vigorous shake showed no signs of budging. After a good tap on the side it came free. No spills and minimal effort. So much better than the cocktail shakers you can buy in regular stores.
I also loved how the stainless steel frosted up as I shook my cocktail ingredients and ice. It fit perfectly in the hand and was all round a pleasure to use! The rest of my cocktail shaker collection is just for show now!
I’ve never been a fan of clubs. On a Friday or Saturday night I’d much rather be propping up the bar in a cocktail bar instead. A good friend and I used to visit the same cocktail bar every Friday when we first got jobs in the city and we soon got to know the bar staff. I remember receiving a very important lesson in stirring a negroni (my cocktail of choice at the time).
Shaking a cocktail is really only necessary when you need to bruise ingredients to release their oils or flavours, or to aerate the cocktail for a foamy or frothy texture. If your cocktail is mostly made up of spirits (for example a martini, negroni, or old fashioned) then forget shaking and stir instead. By stirring you give the ice a chance to melt into the drink a little, softening the harshness of the alcohol, and you also make sure it keeps its smooth and silky texture.
So, believe me when I say a bar spoon is an absolute must! This beautiful cocktail spoon with twizzled handle gets extra bonus points for also coming with a masher making it doubly useful.
Pour and strain
After you’ve muddled, shaken and/or stirred your cocktail you’re going to need to get the alcohol from shaker to glass. Don’t make the rookie error of forgetting to strain your cocktail when you pour. By straining your drink you can make sure that ice, fruit or any other solids floating about don’t end up in your final drink.
Two of the most important types of strainer are the julep strainer and the hawthorn strainer.
You’ve probably seen the hawthorn strainer used in your local cocktail bar. It easily sits atop the cocktail shaker can and has a spring which stops ice and other bits and pieces being poured into your drink. This is my favourite type of strainer to use but it can be a bit of a pain to clean depending on what cocktail you’re pouring.
The other option is the julep strainer (often used in preparing a mint julep!) In contrast to the hawthorn strainer this sits over the glass you’re serving the cocktail into. It does have slightly bigger holes so better used when you are just straining ice.
Quality bar supplies at reasonable prices
I’ve spent hours scrolling through the Bar Counter London website and have found tonnes of bar kit that I didn’t even know I needed! The flair bottles in particular have inspired me – my dinner parties are about to go up a notch!
Whether you are a cocktail enthusiast like me or a professional bar tender I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the quality of these products and their incredibly low prices.
If you are interested in purchasing any of the kit show here then head over to the Bar Counter London website, or follow the links below.
Once your new kit has arrived why not start by making one of these awesome cocktails!