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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

10 St. Louis Bartenders and the Bar Tools They Can't Live Without

Posted By on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 7:24 AM

  • Benjamin Bauer | The Libertine

This summer, St. Louis chefs threw down about their favorite kitchen tools. Now that the weather's turned cold and we find ourselves cozying up to the bar, we were inspired to follow up with a survey of ten bartenders. Just like chefs, those perfecting the art and craft of the cocktail have prized instruments that help them do their job better. Some of them have sentimental value; others may even be in your kitchen.

Benjamin Bauer
The Libertine (7927 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton)
“My favorite tool is a Lewis Bag and mallet. They create crushed ice that isn't replicable by any machine. Machine-produced crushed ice has air in it, which causes the ice to dilutes and melt much more rapidly. A Lewis Bag filled with solid-by-design Kold-Draft cubes pounded with a mallet produces crushed ice with no air that will stay solid in the glass for the entire cocktail. This is a thing of beauty for me and I also find the act of crushing ice a fantastic stress reliever mid-service!”

  • Kevin Arndt | Juniper
Kevin Arndt
Juniper (360 N. Boyle Avenue, Central West End)
"Kold-Draft ice is my favorite tool because of its importance in a well-made cocktail. It provides the obvious need for creating a cold drink without over-dilution. Good ice is an often overlooked and under-appreciated ingredient, but crucial in creating the perfect cocktail. Kold-Draft ice is larger and denser than regular ol' ice, so when you shake or stir, it melts at a much slower rate resulting in a drink that isn't watered down.”

click to enlarge NICK DIGINIANI | RANDOLFI'S
  • Nick Diginiani | Randolfi's

Nick Digiviani
Publico (6679 Delmar Boulevard, University City)
“It's tough to choose just one, but I’ll go with my Beachbum Berry bar spoon named 'Special Agent Dana Skully.' It was a Christmas gift from my girlfriend, Mindie. The skull provides a nice counterweight, making it easier for me to stir with my clumsy right hand (I'm a lefty).”

  • Joshua Johnson | The Chase Park Plaza

Joshua Johnson

The Chase Park Plaza (212 N. Kingshighway, Central West End)
“I have a confession. I can’t remember every classic cocktail or even my own creations to save my life. For example, the classic Singapore Sling. I know what goes in one, where it originated, and its importance in modern cocktail culture. But, for the life of me I can never remember if it’s a quarter ounce of cherry brandy and a half ounce of orange liquor, or a half ounce of cherry brandy and a quarter ounce of orange liquor. I honestly don’t get many orders for a Singapore Sling, but there are about eight ingredients in one and that’s a lot to forget. Rather than just guessing and risk screwing up my guest’s drink order, I swallow my pride and reach for the notebook I’ve kept in my back pocket for years. The moleskin notebook contains years’ worth of classic cocktails recipes, house recipes, syrup and mixer recipes, variations and mass quantities of correction notes. It is the most important tool I own and I never set foot behind a bar without it.”

click to enlarge 7tony.jpg
Tony Saputo
Atomic Cowboy (4140 Manchester Avenue, The Grove)
“In the first year of my marriage, my position as a bartender and bar manager grew quickly. I was often called on to work long shifts and late nights which challenged our relationship and led to many fights. Despite all of that, we were dedicated to making it work. On our second Christmas together, my wife gifted me a box set of three Miyako ceramic knives. Not only was I excited to receive this incredible gift, but I was thrilled to accept them as a manifestation of my wife's love and support. It was this gift that showed how much my wife appreciated not only my work, but also my passion. These knives, while dependable, sharp and exquisite, also remind me that no matter where I am, how hard the shift is, or how tired I may be, I have family that believes in me. That is the most valuable tool: family… And, knives you only have to sharpen once a year."

Turn the page for more bartender tools.

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