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    Published on October 24th, 2012 | by Greg


    In­to The Spir­it: Cock­tail Helpers For Any Sea­son

    We try a lot of spir­its here, whether it’s at fun events like whiskey tast­ings or trav­el fairs. But there of­ten is no sub­sti­tute for mak­ing your own- prepar­ing a set of fun recipes for a par­ty. We’ve got a love­ly liquor cab­i­net, but our tools have seen bet­ter days. Which means that it was time to look for some new gear to help us whip up cock­tails and test out some new spir­its.

    Let’s start with the Bar10der. Very much a Swiss Army knife for the bar, this apt­ly-named mul­ti-pur­pose tool is ver­sa­tile, even if it doesn’t fit in­to a pock­et. Let’s break down the var­i­ous tools that flip and fold out: there’s a corkscrew and bot­tle top open­er, a mud­dler and ream­er, the clas­sic two-vol­ume jig­ger for mea­sur­ing your pours, a knife, strain­er, and stir­rer. There’s al­so an un­usu­al-look­ing zester and chan­nel knife pair­ing. As with many tools that com­bine so many func­tions, none are amaz­ing on their own- a four-inch blade is lim­it­ed, and the strain­er is pret­ty small. But this can be a handy tool for those with lim­it­ed space, or to take on the go. Col­lege stu­dents, es­pe­cial­ly, might find it handy. Warn­ing on the corkscrew, though: it didn’t work very well, as there is no easy way to get lever­age. Al­so, clean­ing the tool af­ter use is a bit of a pain (it’s hand wash on­ly). Avail­able in mul­ti­ple col­ors like blue,  green, or­ange and pur­ple, it’ll run you $50.

    A great ad­di­tion to your bar would al­so be the Vac­u­Vin Cock­tail Set. A cou­ple of them are du­pli­cates, but the best ones aren’t, and we used both in com­bi­na­tion to great ef­fect. Vac­u­Vin makes some of our fa­vorite wine tools, in­clud­ing a cou­ple that we’ll be re­view­ing in the near fu­ture. But the Cock­tail Set, which is new enough that they didn’t seem to have it list­ed on their site, is the one we’d sug­gest buy­ing if you on­ly need one of the two in to­day’s pair­ing. You can’t go wrong with their ex­cel­lent Cock­tail Shak­er- the best one we’ve tried, as long as you’re OK with the more mod­ern plas­tic styling. Easy-to-view mea­sure­ments in both ounces and milliliters, plus it has a sol­id built-in strain­er, and a fun sil­i­cone top that pops open to pour eas­i­ly or flips shut for shak­ing. The kit al­so in­cludes recipe sticks, which al­so serve as stir­rers, with cute mul­ti-col­ored nibs to help you fig­ure out which drink is yours. The recipes (Sea Breeze, Tom Collins, Cu­ba Li­bre) were easy to use, if not read, since the plas­tic is clear as is the text. And the tongs/mud­dler/jig­ger were con­ve­nient, even if we like the oth­er jig­ger and mud­dler bet­ter, the tongs were handy. Each is avail­able sep­a­rate­ly, but the set is nice and the price is right: un­der $40 and avail­able be­fore the hol­i­days!

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    About the Author

    Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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