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What Makes a Good Cocktail Stirring Spoon?


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#1 mr drinkie

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 02:57 PM

I must admit that I am more into wine than cocktails, but recently I have fallen into a bad crowd of enabling bartenders and decided that it would be cool to have a hand-forged cocktail stirrer/spoon made. I know it sounds like a luxury (and it is), but they all seem to really like the idea.

I got some input from my bartender buddies, and the metalsmith out of the UK has made me a test spoon. I would appreciate thoughts/concerns from this cocktail-centric crowd. I'm not trying to research anything, this is just for personal use and gifts for bartender friends.

See the pictures below. I just want to say that I am not trying to make the perfectly functional spoon but something that is very functional and also unique. The length is 12 inches, but this is my time to make improvements to the design.

And if you are tempted to suggest the fork at the end, that has already been ruled out.

k.

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#2 Will

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 03:24 PM

The Japanese ones from Cocktail Kingdom are the best I've used - very well finished, comfortable in the hand. None of the muddler-end ones seem to work that well for me - I really like the plain teardrop end one (the fork ones are pretty sharp, so I know why you're ruling those out!).

I like a pretty tight coil.

#3 Dexter

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 03:28 PM

It is pretty. If you want it to be something that'd be useful, I'd suggest making the thin end perforated (just a few holes, nothing extravagant), and the other end with a slightly heavier back for cracking ice (it may already be good - I'm reading this on an iPhone so can't see terribly well). Might want to make the heavy end a proper teaspoon measure as well. But if you are just looking for a stirring stick, then you've got something that is more than adequate already.

#4 Lisa Shock

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 07:16 PM

I have occasionally thought it would be nice to have a sterling silver spoon. But, that would have to be strictly for home use -I imagine it would disappear quickly at work.

#5 mr drinkie

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 07:24 PM

The one pictured is made out of 304L stainless steel. Just FYI.

k.

Edited by mr drinkie, 30 May 2012 - 07:24 PM.

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#6 KatieLoeb

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:26 PM

Make sure the spoon end measures out to one teaspoon. Also a slight curvature to hug the inside of a mixing glass is nice. Tight coil is good - makes the spinning of the spoon between your fingers more efficient. Make sure the spoon end is heavy enough to crack ice with. It's a pretty spoon. The above suggestions will also make it functional. Best of both worlds.

If you could marry your vision with one of THESE you would have the world's most Perfect Bar Spoon.

Edited by KatieLoeb, 30 May 2012 - 11:29 PM.

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#7 slkinsey

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 12:34 PM

I'm not so sure that this spoon looks very comfortable to use.

There are two ways you can use the spoon when you stir:

(1) You can grip the shaft firmly and move the spoon in a circular motion without letting the shaft of the spoon rotate in your fingers. In this case, the cup of the spoon is always facing in the same direction. So, for example, if the back of the spoon is facing the wall of the mixing vessel in the 12 o'clock position, the front of the spoon will face the wall of the mixing vessel in the 6 o'clock position and the side of the spoon will face the wall of the mixing vessel in the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions.

(2) You can grip the shaft lightly and allow the shaft rotate in your fingers while making a circular motion. In this case, the cup of the spoon maintains its orientation relative to the mixing vessel. So, for example, if the back of the spoon is facing the wall of the mixing vessel in the 12 o'clock position, it will face the wall of the mixing vessel throughout the circular motion.


The latter technique, in my opinion, creates less turbulence in the liquid and is more gentle on the ice. But, since the shaft of the spoon rotates in your hand as you stir, a twisted shaft with edges can really tear up the skin on your "stirring fingers." For this reason, I prefer a smooth shaft. Yours looks like it would be especially rough on the skin. What I'd love to see at some point is a stirring spoon where the shaft of the spoon is encased in a closely-fitting metal tube so that the spoon would be free to rotate in the glass but the part in your hand wouldn't rotate.

I agree with those who would like to see a precise 1 tsp spoon. I also prefer a more elongated "teardrop" shape compared to the rounder shape you have there. It makes it easier to float, I think.

Finally, if you made the reverse end heavy enough and in a useful shape to crack ice cubes, that would be a nice feature.
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#8 mr drinkie

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 02:14 PM

Thanks for the points everyone. The maker is actually going to ship me a couple to demo before making more and I am going to let some bartenders try them out.

Just a few responses/comments to your input:

* Regarding the twist being rough on the hands, two of the bartenders I spoke with about the stirrer requested the twist as they used the second stirring variation in slkinsey's post. They demonstrated to me how the twist made it easier. With that said, I see your point and the variation in the twist pattern on the spoon may not be as hand friendly.

* I like the ice crushing concept. I hadn't thought about that.

* The teardrop shape also appeals to me, and I might have him make the second demo with a teardrop.

* As for the teaspoon measure idea, it sounds good, but I don't think that will be quite possible with hand forging. To try calibrate an exact teaspoon when hammering the spoon portion out would likely be a PITA. Also, I looked at my measuring spoons, and the teaspoon is actually quite big. Do the ones at Cocktail Kingdom hold a teaspoon of liquid? I could maybe see a half teaspoon working -- if it is even feasible in terms of being hand made.

And since the topic of hand-forged spoons rarely comes up, I will use this opportunity to attach some pictures of my hand-forged damascus spoon :)

k.

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Edited by mr drinkie, 31 May 2012 - 02:14 PM.

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#9 Will

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 02:34 PM

I'm not sure if the uneven twist / changing directions was requested by the people you made it for, but if it were me, I'd prefer an even coil, both in terms of tightness and in terms of direction.

#10 KatieLoeb

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 02:48 PM

That's a beautiful spoon, up close.

Certainly the idea of the curvature, regardless of the shape of the receptacle end of the spoon is a good one. And just like calibrating the measurement, a handmade item will likely have some slight variation in shape too I would imagine. But if the angle is properly measured and executed, those variations will matter little in the functionality.

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#11 haresfur

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 02:50 PM

I'm not sure if the uneven twist / changing directions was requested by the people you made it for, but if it were me, I'd prefer an even coil, both in terms of tightness and in terms of direction.

With the change in directions it's ambidexterous :smile:
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#12 KatieLoeb

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 02:54 PM

Excellent point Haresfur! As a left handed barkeep myself, I am forever challenged to find tools that work for me. I finally found an ambidextrous channel knife that has the blade atop the handle instead of at the end so I have finally stopped maiming myself making citrus twists with a channel knife that's being pushed instead of pulled as it was meant to be.

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#13 tanstaafl2

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 09:00 AM

Excellent point Haresfur! As a left handed barkeep myself, I am forever challenged to find tools that work for me. I finally found an ambidextrous channel knife that has the blade atop the handle instead of at the end so I have finally stopped maiming myself making citrus twists with a channel knife that's being pushed instead of pulled as it was meant to be.


Care to share for the rest of us who are in our right mind and thus a "sinister" handed cocktailian? Would be delighted to have a channel knife that reduced the risk of having thumb flesh as a garnish...
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#14 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 09:18 AM


Excellent point Haresfur! As a left handed barkeep myself, I am forever challenged to find tools that work for me. I finally found an ambidextrous channel knife that has the blade atop the handle instead of at the end so I have finally stopped maiming myself making citrus twists with a channel knife that's being pushed instead of pulled as it was meant to be.


Care to share for the rest of us who are in our right mind and thus a "sinister" handed cocktailian? Would be delighted to have a channel knife that reduced the risk of having thumb flesh as a garnish...


Sur La Table sells ambidextrous channel knives that I find superior even being right-handed. Looks like the one I'm thinking of is no longer available (or I'm misremembering where I saw it) but it has a blade like this: http://www.surlatabl...e-Channel-Knife
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#15 tanstaafl2

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 09:47 AM



Excellent point Haresfur! As a left handed barkeep myself, I am forever challenged to find tools that work for me. I finally found an ambidextrous channel knife that has the blade atop the handle instead of at the end so I have finally stopped maiming myself making citrus twists with a channel knife that's being pushed instead of pulled as it was meant to be.


Care to share for the rest of us who are in our right mind and thus a "sinister" handed cocktailian? Would be delighted to have a channel knife that reduced the risk of having thumb flesh as a garnish...


Sur La Table sells ambidextrous channel knives that I find superior even being right-handed. Looks like the one I'm thinking of is no longer available (or I'm misremembering where I saw it) but it has a blade like this: http://www.surlatabl...e-Channel-Knife


Thanks. They have a local store so I will take a look next time I am over that way.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
~tanstaafl2

#16 Hassouni

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 09:48 AM

Can anyone confirm whether or not the CK barspoons measure a teaspoon?

#17 Will

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 10:20 AM

Can anyone confirm whether or not the CK barspoons measure a teaspoon?

Seems to be a half teaspoon. I weighed mine - ~ 3 g of water (of course, it's difficult to perfectly "fill up" that style of barspoon, but I had it about to the rim). Weighed a tsp, and came out to 5.8-6g.

#18 KatieLoeb

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 08:55 PM



Excellent point Haresfur! As a left handed barkeep myself, I am forever challenged to find tools that work for me. I finally found an ambidextrous channel knife that has the blade atop the handle instead of at the end so I have finally stopped maiming myself making citrus twists with a channel knife that's being pushed instead of pulled as it was meant to be.


Care to share for the rest of us who are in our right mind and thus a "sinister" handed cocktailian? Would be delighted to have a channel knife that reduced the risk of having thumb flesh as a garnish...


Sur La Table sells ambidextrous channel knives that I find superior even being right-handed. Looks like the one I'm thinking of is no longer available (or I'm misremembering where I saw it) but it has a blade like this: http://www.surlatabl...e-Channel-Knife


The channel knife I have is constructed the same way but has a wooden handle, rather than metal. But having the blade facing the long way makes it usuable by barkeeps of either persuasion. No thumb flesh in my drinks anymore. It's alway good to put a little of yourself in your creations. Just not that way. :smile:

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#19 haresfur

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 09:55 PM

Excellent point Haresfur! As a left handed barkeep myself, I am forever challenged to find tools that work for me. I finally found an ambidextrous channel knife that has the blade atop the handle instead of at the end so I have finally stopped maiming myself making citrus twists with a channel knife that's being pushed instead of pulled as it was meant to be.

I found one of the vertical channel knives and it makes a big difference. If we are actually taking this seriously, I'd move the twist further up the handle so you could grip it high or low depending on which way you spin. Personally, I like a stirring rod with just a bit of a bead on the end, but I don't do production.
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#20 bmdaniel

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 04:32 AM


Can anyone confirm whether or not the CK barspoons measure a teaspoon?

Seems to be a half teaspoon. I weighed mine - ~ 3 g of water (of course, it's difficult to perfectly "fill up" that style of barspoon, but I had it about to the rim). Weighed a tsp, and came out to 5.8-6g.


A tsp should be almost exactly 5 ML, so yours may be running a little big.

#21 MelissaH

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 05:53 AM

My husband's lately started to use the handle end of his muddler to crack ice. Says it's better weighted for the purpose than our regular eating spoons. (As far as barspoons, he doesn't use one, as he generally prefers cocktails that get shaken.)

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#22 lindag

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 05:47 AM

I bought a Rosle cocktail spoon a couple years ago that is a thing of beauty. I'm glad I got it then because it's out of stock now and they may not be making it any longer.

#23 Will

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 10:11 AM

Last night, I had to get a tequila infused fresno chili out of a bottle with a narrow opening, and I was really happy to have the barspoon with the forked end for once.

#24 evo-lution

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 04:34 PM

Wanted to add to this topic, like many bartenders I've collected a number of spoons over the years and will take a picture of them all when I get the chance. Only pic I have just now is of five of them. I also purchased this today from Golden Age Bartending;

Posted Image

I've asked Pablo (who runs the site) about a third attachment for hand-cracking ice, or to make the muddler end heavier, and he's going to look into it for me. It may be weighty enough but I'll find out when it arrives in a few days.

Edited by evo-lution, 04 June 2012 - 04:43 PM.

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#25 evo-lution

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 04:42 PM

Pic of the aforementioned spoons and Alessi stirring rod.

217636_10150171899101607_5711742_n.jpg

The one in the middle was made by Defaced barware (sadly no longer in existence) and is a thing of beauty with both the spoon and disc ends being old American coins. There's very few around...

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#26 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 08:58 AM

Those coin spoons are very cool indeed. I feel like I've seen them before but I can't remember where.
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#27 Hassouni

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 08:23 AM

I've been using this spoon http://www.amazon.co...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1 for a while now, and I like its low profile, feel, etc.  However, the bowl of the spoon is tiny and not useful for measuring small quantities of things like liqueurs or absinthe, etc.

 

I'm looking at both the Hoffman and Teardrop spoons from Cocktail Kingdom, and I was wondering if anybody has used both and can comment upon the differences.

 

ETA: Also, the Bonzer and Uber spoons look interesting...


Edited by Hassouni, 18 April 2014 - 08:28 AM.


#28 Adam George

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 09:47 AM

I have both.

 

Not much in it.  Pick whichever you like the look of more.


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#29 Hassouni

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 10:19 AM

Are the bowls of each spoon roughly the same size? (And about how much do they hold?)



#30 Hassouni

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 06:14 PM

So I ordered and received 2 of the CK Hoffman spoons (the 30ish cm ones) and used them for my pop up cocktail bar over the weekend. They performed quite well and were longer and more pleasant to use in many respects than what I was using.

 

However, I went up to NY Sunday and noticed that nearly EVERY cocktail bar is using the CK Teardrop spoons, and often in considerably longer length. I stopped by the CK office this afternoon, and I found that the 30ish cm Teardrop has a more pleasant balance than the Hoffman - the center of gravity is lower, whereas it's rather high in the Hoffman, at least to me.  However, the longer length spoons of any type didn't really seem balanced at all, and I'm wondering why so many of the bars use them, especially given how short (as I just discovered) a standard yarai mixing glass is. The only benefit I can think of is that it allows for the simultaneous stirring of two drinks in separate glasses, with two spoons, which I also saw a lot of.  Is there any other reason for the extra length?