Bar Spoon | How to use it and why you should have it.

Bar Spoon | How to use it and why you should have it.

 If you've been to a fancy Mixology cocktail bar, you've probably seen a bartender grab a long, spiral handed bar spoon.

Bar spoons are spoons used by bartenders to make cocktails. So what makes them different from other kinds of spoons?  While there is a wide variety out there, you'll typically find they are all at least 12 inches long and very often have a spiraled handle.  The spoon itself is relatively small, and typically holds about 2.5 mL of liquid.

It's hard to pinpoint a moment in history when the “Bar Spoon” diverges from being “any old spoon used behind the bar”. But, if we use the spoon's length as its defining characteristics, then our best guess for its origin would be the Sucket spoon. So when fruit cocktails appeared in American bars in the mid-to-late 18s, they were often served with the sucket spoon. It allows the guests to "Fork" the fruit out of the drink and use the spoon to stir. 

Another style of bar spoon, called the "Mazagran Spoon" probably originated as a French Apothecary spoon, "the culliére medicament". 

This spoon was used as both a tool of measurement and a muddler to break up medicines into powder. 

 It was named after a French military victory in the 1840s near the town of Mazagran. That resulted in the popularization of a coffee drink with the same name.  Why the spoon? Well, the coffee drink required the addition of hard French beet sugar that the imbiber had to crush with a muddler ended spoon.

Nowadays, many bar spoons don't have a fork or a muddler on the end. Rather, you'll find a simple teardrop or bullet shape. Partially for aesthetic reasons and particularly for the bartender's Comfort, the minimalist style has become very common in the last 5 to 10 years behind cocktail bars.

Regardless of what's on the end, you can consider it a bar spoon if it's 12 in length or longer and has a relatively small 2.5 ml spoon Bowl.


As a bartender, you need to associate yourself with a bar spoon because you can use it for different purposes. One of its uses is to stir. How can you use a bar spoon to stir? Below are tips to stir a cocktail by using a bar spoon.

To stir a cocktail using a bar spoon, you add the spirit or alcohol to the mixing glass and stir using the bar spoon for at least 20 seconds. While stirring with the bar spoon, let your fingers do the work.

 Tips and techniques for proper steering:

  • Before you stir, ensure your mixing glass has been chilled. This chills the spirit more without adding dilution.
  •  Good, add your spirit to the mixing glass. (Note, if you don't have a mixing glass you can use the cup of your cocktail shaker.)
  • Put your bar spoon in the mixing glass before you add the ice. This avoids the awkward "stabbing" move to get the spoon into the glass.
  •  While stirring, let your fingers do the work - not your wrist.
  •  Try to be as quiet as possible when stirring. Noise correlates with a possibility of chipping ice and over diluting the cocktail.
  • Some people recommend stirring 40 "stirs" (20 in each direction)  but I usually just go by time – approximately 7 to 10 seconds in each direction. I'd recommend stirring higher-proofed spirits a little bit longer.
  • When straining, use a julep strainer instead of a hawthorne to help keep your drink clear.


 Another use of a bar spoon is to measure certain ingredients. You should know how to use a bar spoon to measure the quantity of an ingredient as a bartender.

Often cocktail recipes will call for "1 bar spoon of..." a certain ingredient. A bar spoon (if calibrated to 2.5 ml) is roughly 0.035 of an ounce, which is somewhere between a dash and 1/4 oz. It's a useful measure for ingredients with a powerful flavor like strongly flavored liqueurs. 


I've mentioned it earlier, not all bar spoons are calibrated to 2.5 ml. If you aren't sure, then I'd recommend using a scale to check your bar spoon's volume and make a mental note of how full the spoon looks when it weighs exactly 1 gram or 0.035 Oz. ( Or if you're like me and don't trust your memory, take a picture!)

in these small quantities, even something like a meniscus can make a big difference in volume.

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