When a cocktail like the Blackberry Cocktail needs to be stirred, there’s a special spoon that bartenders use. It’s called, not surprisingly, a bar spoon. With the renewed interest in classic cocktails and vintage cocktail tools, bar spoons are making their way into home kitchens and bars. I picked one up for $2 at a vintage flea market recently.

How is it different from a regular spoon? It’s designed for both measuring and stirring cocktails and it has uses beyond cocktails.

  • The spoon’s bowl holds about one teaspoon of liquid so it’s useful for measuring. It’s also useful for layering liquids in a glass. When a liquid is poured slowly over the back of the bowl of the spoon onto another liquid, it lays on top instead of mixing in.
  • The end of the spoon of the classic bar spoons from mid-century traditionally had a decorative balls on them, but you can find ones that have ends that are forks or ends that have disks for muddling or crushing sugar cubes.
  • The long handle is spiral so that it twists easily in the hand while stirring. Stirring should be done very gently so the ice doesn’t smash against the glass or other pieces of ice and dilute the drink too quickly. It also reaches into the bottom of jars of olives, cherries and other garnishes.
  • Stainless steel is the best material for a bar spoon. It won’t make the drink taste any differently and it can be washed in the dishwasher.
Can you mix a cocktail without having a bar spoon? Of course you can. An iced tea spoon or a teaspoon will get a drink mixed, but if you want to do it with the flair of a bartender or want to outfit a home bar with vintage cocktail tools, a bar spoon is an inexpensive piece to add to your collection.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Should you use a bar spoon for cocktails?
A bar spoon has a few special features that makes it ideal for stirring cocktails.