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mr drinkie

What Makes a Good Cocktail Stirring Spoon?

34 posts in this topic

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.

spoon1.jpg

spoon3.jpg

spoon4.jpg


I like to say things and eat stuff.

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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.

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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.

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

k.


Edited by mr drinkie (log)

I like to say things and eat stuff.

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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 (log)

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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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.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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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.

IMGP1415.JPG

IMGP1419.JPG


Edited by mr drinkie (log)

I like to say things and eat stuff.

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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.

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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.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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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:


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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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.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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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...


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

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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.surlatable.com/product/PRO-259465/Rosle-Channel-Knife


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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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

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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.

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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:


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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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.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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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.

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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.)

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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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.

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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.

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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;

39250606.jpg

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 (log)

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