What Is a Bar Spoon—and Why Is It Twisted?

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As you stock your bar cart, don't forget a good bar spoon. It's essential for mixing quality cocktails.

A good craftsman never blames his tools—but when it comes to the fine art of cocktail making, it’s always important to have the right ones. A well-stocked home bar needs a good shaker, strainer and jigger, but don’t skip the bar spoon. Your favorite kitchen spoon won’t cut it!

What Is a Bar Spoon?

Exactly what it sounds like: a spoon used for making cocktails. They primarily stir drinks, but depending on the type of spoon you get, they can also be used to measure, muddle or even crack ice.

Bar spoons are not made equally—and they can all serve different purposes.

  • American bar spoons equal a standard teaspoon, or about 5ml of liquid, which makes it easy for measuring. How can you tell if a spoon is American? It’ll have a twisted handle and (often) a red plastic cap at the end.
  • European bar spoons are flatter at the end. This allows you to layer different liquids, like liqueurs, and to muddle ingredients. It only holds 2.5ml of liquid (a half teaspoon). Many people appreciate its versatility.
  • Japanese bar spoons are bartender favorites. They are longer and skinnier and have a weighted teardrop at one end, which makes them easier to wield. The end can also be used to crack ice or muddle drinks. Optimal for both novice and expert bartenders, this spoon also holds 2.5ml.

Pick the spoon that works best for what you need—but avoid any made with lacquers. They might look stunning in the moment, but the lacquer can flake off in your drink, which is probably not the star ingredient you had in mind.

How to Use a Bar Spoon

You’ve got your spoon. Now how do you use it? Stirring a drink is gentler than shaking it, but the trick is to make sure to stir completely, so the ingredients are perfectly distributed.

  1. Once your ingredients are in the glass, slide the spoon in. Keep it against the edge of the glass as you do to disturb the drink less. The concave side (the back of the spoon) should face inwards.
  2. Hold the spoon like you hold a pencil: between your thumb, middle and ring fingers. It’s often best to hold it above your first knuckle, not with your fingertips.
  3. Move the spoon around the edge of the glass in a circular motion. Stir with your wrist, not your arm. Make sure the concave side keeps facing inwards, and move it smoothly and naturally, without force.
  4. Stir 30 to 40 times, occasionally alternating which direction you stir in.

Practice makes perfect! Work on your technique with one of our favorite easy mixed drinks.

Why Are Bar Spoons Twisted?

Bar spoons mainly have a twisted handle for stirring. The twists on the spoon complement the stirring motion so that it’s continuous and smooth. This prevents splashes and, with the right stirring technique, will minimize diluting the drink.

The twist also allows you to pour drinks down the spoon without spillage. When you’re layering, pour the liqueur or liquor down the spiral handle. You can even pour in carbonated mixers, like sodas, without losing a drop! It’s easy to master but looks seriously impressive.

@lui_fern #stitch with @likeablecocktails Why did i not know this?! #cocktails #bartender #drinks #bartendersoftiktok ♬ It’s My House – Diana Ross

Best Luxury Bar Spoon

Bulu Pineapple Bar Spoon

If you’re going to go big, you might as well go for the gold. Sure, maybe you don’t need one of the fanciest bar spoons in the biz, but you’ll channel some tropical vibes and elegance with this Bulu pineapple bar spoon. Its gold-plated design and pineapple-shaped weight make it both a tool and an accent piece.

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Best Overall Bar Spoon

Cocktail Kingdom Teardrop Bar Spoon

The teardrop bar spoon does everything you need a bar spoon to do—it mixes, it cracks ice, it muddles—and it does it well. The Japanese-style spoon has a long, thin handle and the teardrop acts as a counterweight, so it’s easy to stir without splashing. Plus, it’s not too expensive, so it’s a great one to try out if you’re a beginner.

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Best Budget Bar Spoon

Hiware Stainless Steel Spoon

Hiware bar spoons have loyal followings. This one, made of stainless steel, boasts a Japanese design with a weighted teardrop for easier use and mixologist-approved stirring abilities. It looks like you might see a bartender wielding it, but it’s incredibly budget-friendly. Bonus? It’s dishwasher-safe.

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Kim Bussing
Kim Bussing is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She has written for publications including Reader’s Digest, Modern Farmer, Clean Plates and Vice, among others, and she is working on her first novel. She is always on the hunt for the perfect gluten-free cinnamon roll.