House Made Podcast

Episode #03 - Non-essential (But Super Handy) Home Bar Tools

March 31, 2021 House Made Season 1 Episode 3
House Made Podcast
Episode #03 - Non-essential (But Super Handy) Home Bar Tools
House Made Podcast
Episode #03 - Non-essential (But Super Handy) Home Bar Tools
Mar 31, 2021 Season 1 Episode 3
House Made

In this episode we talk about some of the gear that might make your home bar journey a little more enjoyable and substitutes that you may already have in the kitchen.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode we talk about some of the gear that might make your home bar journey a little more enjoyable and substitutes that you may already have in the kitchen.

John Vieira (00:01):
This is the House Made Podcast. We're your hosts, John Vieira and Nick Boban. We're going to cover your questions about home bartending. So let's get into it.

John Vieira (00:22):
Welcome back to the House Made Podcast. Today's episode, we're kind of building on the last couple of episodes that we did. This is the non-essential home bar tools. Although you may want to have them, they'll make your life a lot easier.

Nick Boban (00:38):
Hmm. Yeah, they will. And I would say that we should probably even touch a little bit on, like, if you don't have it, how do you do a work around for it? Some of them are pretty shitty. There are some workarounds, but, um, okay. So the first thing I think though, when I think of these non-essential, but handy bar tools is a hand juicer.

John Vieira (00:59):
Yeah. Hand juicer is huge. Just in the last episode, actually, we were talking about making certain drinks, right? We had our top five cocktails that we make at the bar and that we think your guests would want to drink whatever event you're throwing.

John Vieira (01:16):
They're probably pretty likely to be on the list of things that they want or that you might want to prepare ahead of time if you're doing like a menu sort of thing. And so some of these drinks, like Margaritas, whiskey sours, you're gonna need fresh juice, right? I can tell you from experience that if you do not have an actual citrus juicer, um, you're going to, well, first of all, you're going to lose a lot of the juice because you won't get a lot out when you go to squeeze it. Even if you squeeze it really hard, it's going to spray everywhere to make a huge mess.

Nick Boban (01:47):
Well, okay. So without the juicer, the best, thing that I've found that works is to like roll the citrus really hard, before you cut it. Then cut it in half. And then I, usually what I do is I stick it inside of the tin, like with my fingers and I put my palm on the outside of the tin and you push it together and that saves most of the juice. It doesn't spray you in the face or anything like that.

John Vieira (02:13):
One nice thing about the hand juicer as well, is it kind of catches your seeds. It just makes the whole process a lot quicker and more streamlined because then you can just fling that thing open, throw it right in the trash can. And you can juice like a shit ton of citrus pretty fast with one of these.

Nick Boban (02:35):
And they're not very expensive. They're like $15 or $20.

John Vieira (02:38):
You can get them super cheap. Um, I do...

Nick Boban (02:40):
I will say the cheaper you get though, we've watched Pat fucking break them in two.

John Vieira (02:44):
These, this style of juicer. There's a fulcrum pin. That's where all of the pressure is happening. So if you get one that's really cheap, that pin is probably just going to snap and then it's useless to you. So I would recommend if you're gonna buy something like this, um, on Amazon at least to look at the reviews.

John Vieira (03:03):
I bought one last year. It was just a stainless steel one, and it actually came with another tool as well. I can't even remember what it is. It was like a zester or something, but that thing's fucking awesome. It's like super sleek, super smooth. It looks great. Works really good. It's actually in the back room at the bar right now, but like, it's awesome. It works really, really well. And then I have in my drawer right now in my house, I have like a, I think it's from WinCo or something and it's just one of those like kind of cheesy yellow colored ones has like the enamel coating on it.

Nick Boban (03:36):
Is that the one that's? Have you ever used those juicers that got the, like, they're like the saucer and they got the, the fucking thing that sticks out the top. Oh yeah. Like orange juicer or whatever. Those old school ones. I haven't used those, but...

John Vieira (03:50):
Those are good for oranges and grapefruits because they're too big to fit in a hand squeezer. Limes or lemons work really good in the hand. I mean, they make electric versions of them. They have all kinds of stuff. I would recommend though, just, just a little hand one for probably like $10. And you might already have one in your shit drawer at home. I mean, it's like, yeah. Or like maybe your mom or dad has like 12 of them. You know what I mean? Like, it's one of those things that like, sometimes... It's like a potato masher. You think like, God, do I have one of those it's fucking Thanksgiving. I'm going to go buy one anyway. You already have one, now you have two. Yeah. Right. Or like a thermometer, like everyone has multiple. So anyway, that is super important. I would highly, highly recommend getting your hands on one of those.

Nick Boban (04:33):
Also too, kind of in that same citrus prep stuff is like a Y peeler. A really good Y peeler. Not the like, the potato peeler that everybody already has, which you can use those.

John Vieira (04:45):
Potatos, zucchini, carrots. It works really good for like dick shaped thing. Yeah. the Y peeler is so important when you're doing citrus and if you like to keep the skin on your hands. It allows you to palm, whatever the citrus is. So, uh, let's say a lemon. It allows you to hold that with your fingers safely out of the way and run that peeler down the side of it with your main arm, whether you're right or left-handed. With your main arm going in a natural motion, not trying to like, do the sideways wrist thing or accidentally slipping. Um, if you are somebody that's going to be serving drinks that are going to utilize peels...

Nick Boban (05:32):
Yeah. If you're going to garnish anything.

John Vieira (05:34):
Anything like that. You're definitely going to want to get one of these. And the thing is there's crazy cheap. Um, I like the little... There's a Swiss brand. I can't remember the name is, it starts with like an R, but I think they sell them in like two and three packs on Amazon for like almost free.

Nick Boban (05:51):
$5 or something like three of them...

New Speaker (05:53):
Individually they're like $3 or something. You know, the blade's going to go dull after a while, it might rust to just wash it, throw it, throw it away, just get a new one. That's what they're for. I've tried some really like nice bad-ass expensive ones. And I'll be honest. I don't super like them.

Nick Boban (06:08):
Dude. Well, yeah. Cause what we tried the, what were those ones we bought?

John Vieira (06:12):
Yeah so we got the, uh, it was like an as seen on TV one, but it was supposed to be really cool. Titan peeler I think is what it was called.

Nick Boban (06:19):
I just remember that the blade snapped in two, yeah.

John Vieira (06:22):
Literally broke the first day and some people at the bar still use that one because they prefer it. I never liked it in the first place, so good riddance, but anyway, um, yes, Y peeler. That's going to super important. It's going to be a game changer if you are garnishing with peels.

Nick Boban (06:39):
Yeah. Cause you, I mean, so you could get away without using it. You could use a paring knife cause you probably already have a paring knife and your knife block. It's probably duller than shit.

John Vieira (06:46):
You could, it is safer to use a peeler though. Especially if you're hosting a party and you're also drinking.

Nick Boban (06:54):
Yeah. Cause if... Although no, I have taken people to the ER, over a Y pealer before, Yeah. If you peel your fingers off .

John Vieira (07:02):
Yeah. Sometimes accidents happen, right? Like things behind the bar you're trying to move fast. Things are slippery. It really is pretty avoidable. I would say, I think it comes down to technique. This is something we can really easily do a video for in our little like, you know, technique hub that we're gonna put on the website We'll have like a little, just kind of like a home base for all of this knowledge, technique kind of stuff with video components. But yeah, so we'll kind of go over that. What's next? What do we think?

Nick Boban (07:36):
We have paring knife written down, but I think it's one that almost we could skip. You probably have one in your knife block. Just make sure it's sharp.

John Vieira (07:45):
Yeah. Most people probably have one. I do want to emphasize the make sure it's sharp. It's really easy to get one of those handheld sharpeners. You don't have to use like a steel or anything. You don't have to be familiar with it.

Nick Boban (07:58):
The most dangerous knife is a dull knife.

John Vieira (08:00):
Exactly. If you're, if you're really trying to like hack away something like, so say you're making some lime wedges or some lime wheels or something for your drinks. If you have a sharp paring knife, it's a breeze. You don't even have to think about it. Just slices. Just no problem. Even if those limes are a little bit soft, that's when it's hard is when they're kind of soft and spongy and you really have to press.

Nick Boban (08:20):
Yup. And that's dull and you're pushing hard and you fucking slip and you just stabbed yourself in the hand.

John Vieira (08:25):
Yeah. You do not want to do that. Just keep it sharp. Just buy yourself a little, uh, God, they're like $5, just like a little sharpener thing.

Nick Boban (08:33):
Scale. That's one that I think... I think every home should have, but I know almost no one has one.

John Vieira (08:42):
Yeah. Scale is super important. I mean think about all the fun things you can do with it. Aside from bar stuff too, you can weight your weed. You can weight your weed for sure. But you can also weigh like small household pets.

Nick Boban (08:56):
I've definitely weighed my backpacking gear with it before. Cause I'm talking about just like I'm talking about one, that's got like a 5 to 10 pound max. It goes in ounces or grams. I mean they're like $20, $25 at the max.

John Vieira (09:10):
There are some really expensive ones you can get, but don't buy into the hype. They'll try to sell you on extra modes and extras stuff like that.

Nick Boban (09:19):
Scales are really... There's like two kinds, right? There's ones that deal with like a very high weights. And then there's ones that deal in very low weights. And if you've got a scale that does all of it, it's crazy expensive for no reason. So like I think the one that we use, literally, the one that we use at the bar was like $6 for like portion stuff. It goes in like...

John Vieira (09:45):
The biggest difference when you're looking at the cost of a scale is going to be it's accuracy, but for everything that we're going to be doing at home, at least for bar purposes, making some simple syrup, stuff like that, you don't need to be like super crazy dead on NASA, accurate. Um, you just need to be in the ballpark. You just can't eyeball it because we're talking about weight versus volume for things like solids versus liquids, right? So if you're adding sugar to water, you can't eyeball that that's not even going to be close to equal parts, right? That's why you use a scale. You're just going to have repeatable results. That's what you're looking for. Cause if you make this cool drink, whether it's a recipe that you came up with or not, and you use X amount of simple syrup in that drink, and then you make your fucking simple syrup differently the next time that drink is not the same.

Nick Boban (10:36):
Uh, and scales are really good for dieting too. I use them a lot for portion stuff.

John Vieira (10:41):
No, they really are handy to have, um, I don't necessarily have anything off the top of my head that I've used it for, but I know I have, I have one in my drawer and it's super useful.

Nick Boban (10:51):
Yeah. I use it too, to ship packages.

John Vieira (10:54):
Oh yeah. Yeah, totally. So if you do, if you like sell anything online. UPS, you can print off the labels from home kind of thing for people that ship stuff out a lot. So you can, yeah, you can absolutely do that.

Nick Boban (11:06):
Okay. So I put a muddler on here, which I think is cool for some drinks although we almost don't ever use one.

John Vieira (11:15):
We don't really use it in the bar setting, but I could see at home if you wanted to do like a, uh, like a Mojito or something. I could see it being cool.

Nick Boban (11:22):
And that's, that's a hard one too, that I was trying to think. I'm like, if you didn't have a muddler, what else would you use besides like, I think I've watched you use like a really skinny fucking liquor bottle to jam shit in the bottom of a tin before.

John Vieira (11:37):
You can but it's not ideal.

Nick Boban (11:39):
Because it is glass. It will break.

John Vieira (11:41):
Not just that, but it has those, that little like divot in the bottom of the bottle. So it's not even like flat. So the great thing about muddlers, if you decide that you would like to have one, is that you can find them almost anywhere online, at least. We refer to Amazon a lot just because it's so commonplace nowadays and almost everybody has Amazon Prime and yeah. Like in the household somewhere, right? So you can get something for like a couple dollars shipped to you in two days or less.

Nick Boban (12:11):
Although I will say that I like... God, what does, uh, cocktail kingdom call it like the bad-ass muddler or something it looks like a big black dildo. It's food grade plastic.

John Vieira (12:25):
Yeah. It's like the big, like vinyl...

Nick Boban (12:28):
It's dope. It's $13. I just looked at it. It's 13 bucks.

John Vieira (12:31):
It is cool. Now here's the thing though...

Nick Boban (12:33):
It's not wood, so it's not going to fucking absorb stuff and grow...

John Vieira (12:38):
Yeah, it's super dishwasher safe, which a lot of wood products, you might not want to run through dishwashers, kinda like cutting boards. They'll just get really shitty over time and dried out. Uh, here is the thing don't buy one that's bamboo because that's like, it's like one of those like, um, weird, like, so actual bamboo is extremely durable, but the stuff they sell at stores and market as like, Oh, this is crazy, super awesome bamboo. It's like the shittiest trash ever. I bought a cutting board one time that was supposed to be bamboo. And it literally broke in half. Just like, I wasn't even doing anything with it.

Nick Boban (13:17):
Which is pretty crazy cause like the rest of the world uses bamboo for like scaffolding and shit.

John Vieira (13:21):
Right. When you have actual like real bamboo, it's super like the tensile strength is super, super strong. This has gotta be like the MDF equivalent of bamboo or something. Like, I don't know what it is, but whatever you guys out there are doing to make this bamboo shit, you need to stop cause it's terrible. Um, but it gets super dried out as well. So don't get a muddler that's bamboo if that's an option.

Nick Boban (13:45):
Okay. So I also put atomizers on this list. You could, there's a very easy work around just rinse your glass and dump it out. But like...

John Vieira (13:54):
Yeah, but don't dump booze.

Nick Boban (13:56):
I know. Dump it in your mouth.

John Vieira (13:58):
Well, yeah, that's an option.

Nick Boban (13:59):
But the atomizer, I just think it would also add a little bit of flair for your guests too at home. Cause you know, you were talking about the little, like a little spritz bottle, essentially like put, you know, you're absinthe in or some scotch or something as like the nose or a rinse or some kind of, of a cocktail. But it just looks pretty sexy. Like especially if you are making somebody like a Sazerac, you know, and you're like, Oh, hold on while I... (spraying noise) The glass, look how...

John Vieira (14:28):
And also like the absinthe rinse makes the Sazerac right? So you have to do it. Yeah.

John Vieira (14:33):
Yeah. I mean, if you're looking for that drink to be made well, it's like, you got to have it. They're super cheap. You can get them probably in packs of two or three or four.

Nick Boban (14:44):
I think I got all the ones for the bar I bought at like a world of nutrition, which is like a Whole Foods or like a wellness store. They sell like lots of teas and shit like that. They were like, I don't know, $3 a piece or something.

John Vieira (14:59):
I will say, if you're going to go down this road though, get something really small in volume because if you get hefty one you're going to have to put like half your bottle in there just for it to work properly. And as it gets low, you'll have to add more. They make these nice little tiny ones. They don't take up hardly any space. You can keep them in your cabinet or your drawer, whatever you're doing.

Nick Boban (15:22):
And it kind of looks cool. They look like, if you get a lot of them. You look like you have an apothecary.

John Vieira (15:25):
I mean you could even like buy cologne in bulk and put it in one of these things and use that as well. Um, surely there's other things that you could use with them. I was thinking too, um, I haven't done this, but it might be cool to put like orange blossom water or something like that as an ingredient and use that as an aromatic topper to something like a margarita. So like...

Nick Boban (15:46):
We should try that.

John Vieira (15:47):
You know what I mean? Like say it's like, you're hosting an event at your house and it's a spring or summer, like kind of nicer weather. You're out on the patio... When you're outside, you don't get as much of that nice aromatic from drinks cause you had just have, so, I mean, depending on where you live, you're going to get outside smells. You're going to get, uh, there's just so many more air molecules floating around that it's not as concise as being in your kitchen. So it might be really cool depending on what you're doing to blast out. A couple of margaritas. Zap it with some of that orange oil, or like orange blossom water might be like easier. You could even cut it with a little bit of water as well so it's not as intense.

John Vieira (16:32):
Man, when they put that up to their face, they're gonna be like, "Holy shit. This is the freshest thing ever."

Nick Boban (16:37):
That'd be cool. I have done that before trying to do the flamed orange. I took orange oil and everclear and mixed it up. Yeah. A little atomizer over a match and you pretty much melt all the hair off your knuckles.

John Vieira (16:53):
Yeah. That does work really good.

Nick Boban (16:55):
Okay, the last thing I put on this non essential bar list is speed pourers because man, those make your life so much easier. They really do, but they're so expensive.

John Vieira (17:09):
They're kind of expensive, but we're talking about home bar. So, you know, we went over this, this list of basic bottles, so even if you're a home bar consisted of 10 bottles, right. Which is a lot...

Nick Boban (17:23):
I have a hard time keeping that many bottles cause as they get open, I just drink them.

John Vieira (17:28):
Right. Which is why speed pourers are good because you can't drink directly fromthe bottle. You can, however, pour it in your mouth. The speed pourers you can buy in packs of...

Nick Boban (17:36):
They're like 10 or 12.

John Vieira (17:37):
Yeah. Probably like 10 or 20, I would say is most common. Now they do get kind of expensive. However, you can run them through your dishwasher and they don't really break all that often.

Nick Boban (17:49):
No. What happens is the plastic kind of starts to mold to the shape of the bottle. So like once it's been in the bottle for a long time, now it just lives in that bottle. So you'll have to just swap out to its new bottle.

John Vieira (18:04):
Here's the thing. If you are buying that bottle of Cointreau like we suggested. When that runs out and you buy a new one, just use the same topper and it's the exact size it needs to be. Now obviously if it starts leaking something like that, just toss it. Just use a new one. They really are nice to have though, because It makes it a lot more controlled when you're pouring and measuring into your jigger, which is super important. You won't spill as much.

Nick Boban (18:27):
You won't spill, which is good cause you won't waste booze.

John Vieira (18:31):
And it's nice because if you need a dash of something, you can plug that little breather hole on the top and you can just give it a little pump and it's almost like having a bitters bottle. You can just get a nice little small amount into your cocktail. So they really are nice to have the do, make your bottles a little bit taller. So just know that...

Nick Boban (18:52):
Depending on what shelf you're putting them under.

John Vieira (18:54):
Yeah, like some people have like a, like a booze shelf, you know, some people will keep them in cabinets, stuff like that. Just be aware that if you're gonna, if they're gonna live with those on there, maybe it's something that you take out and wash and put the caps back on after your party. If it was me, I would just leave them on. Um, but yeah, just know they will, they will add probably like inch and a half, maybe even two inches in some cases they're, they're kind of tall. But yeah...

Nick Boban (19:21):
I think that was, that was the list that I had.

John Vieira (19:24):
I think that's pretty solid. Let me see if I can, um, come up with some other ones. Think of anything else. Uh, something...

Nick Boban (19:30):
There was like mixing glasses, the big mixing glasses, they look sexy. We touched a little bit on them already.

John Vieira (19:38):
If you, well, that one's a tough one for me because even though they look really cool, I still much prefer using the tins. You get a better result. So even if you do a lot of stirred drinks...

Nick Boban (19:50):
Well, yeah, because if you're going to use those big thick glasses, it would be best to store in the freezer or store it with ice in it to get it already cold before you start.

John Vieira (20:00):
If you want to ball out and you have freezer space, you could get a couple like really bad-ass mixing glasses. They have like the nice little pour spout on them. You could definitely do that. The thing is, is after you use it one time...

Nick Boban (20:18):
You gotta dump it and you're rinsing it and now you're back to room temperature or hot, depending on what you did. And then you'd have to pack it full of ice first. Yeah. Then dump it.

John Vieira (20:29):
It would become tedious, however, if you're just making these drinks after a long day at the office for yourself, that might be worth it because then you can make yourself a bangin' Manhattan or old fashioned.

Nick Boban (20:42):
I'm not going to lie. I have a couple of those mixing glasses at home, even though we don't use them. I don't use them at home either. They just look pretty.

John Vieira (20:48):
They look awesome. And it's nice to be able to stir without having to hold the glass. Cause they're so heavy. They just sit where you put them.

Nick Boban (20:57):
Not like a tin you'll fucking accidentally knock it over sometimes.

John Vieira (21:00):
So my roommate had a pretty nice one for a while that I use at the house, but I didn't end up breaking it thankfully. Um, but after I made myself a couple of drinks trying to rinse it in the sink and I definitely dropped it and I thought, sure I was going to break like the little spout off. Um, so that's the downside. Anything that's glass. I just, I love glass as a vessel. Like, you know, obviously your glassware, which maybe we'll cover in another episode, but your, your glassware at your house is important. You're bound to chip or break something.

John Vieira (21:39):
Eventually that's going to happen, but mixing glasses can get kind of expensive. And I just feel like I'm a clumsy enough person that I would just break them. So tins all the way for me.

Nick Boban (21:50):
Yep. Um, okay. Well, anything else you think of then? I mean bar tool stuff.

John Vieira (21:57):
I'm sure if I deliberated long enough, I could think of something, but I think that really covers like most of the bases. And once again, these are pretty non-essential things. This is like, you guys are getting pretty into it. You're you have an interest in making drinks.

Nick Boban (22:12):
Yeah. It's interesting. It's just like everything else. It's way easier with the proper tools. You don't need to have them, but it makes life easier.

John Vieira (22:21):
I will say, just ask yourself this question. If you're the type of drinker that really enjoys, sours or like margarita style drinks, something that has that fresh citrus to it. Do yourself a favor and get a hand juicer. That is like one of the items on this list that is almost almost non-negotiable for me. If you only drink old fashions you probably don't care. You don't need it.

Nick Boban (22:49):
Nope. Buy a bad-ass peeler.

John Vieira (22:51):
Yeah. Definitely get a peeler. The scale I think is going to be pretty handy, but I, I could understand, like if you have no other purpose for it, you might just want to eyeball your simple syrup. Now here's the thing. If you're gonna eyeball it, at least still use like a measuring cup so it keeps consistent. The consistency is the key. It doesn't need to be exactly one to one. It needs to be the same every time you make it. So if you're not going to invest in a scale, uh, get yourself, or you might already have one. Get yourself one of these, like, you know, Pyrex kind of measuring cups or something like that. And just measure a very consistent amount every time. But beyond that, um, everything else is kind of just, uh, just flash or just, you know, like this would be cool to have maybe you're shopping online, like we do frequently. And you're like, that's cool. I'm going to buy that. Drunk shopping is a real thing, folks.

Nick Boban (23:50):
Dude, it is uh, yeah, I have to, I have to put my phone away because there's been lots of times that shit just shows up at my door. I'm like, what the fuck is this? Oh, I did order that when I was hammered.

John Vieira (24:04):
Yeah, I've done that. I did that this week.

Nick Boban (24:07):
Ooh. What'd you buy?

John Vieira (24:08):
Um, well it was actually, it was stuff I needed, so it wasn't a problem, but I have definitely ordered things that I like didn't need. And when it shows up, I'm like, Oh, I forgot I bought that. Not mad that I have it. Um, but no, I did. I did that. I needed some, uh, some USB cables, but it was such a non fun purchase that it was one of those things where I just bought it. I happened to be drunk when I ordered about, uh, ordered them. So I forgot about it. And then they showed up a couple of days later and I was like, huh, I do need these. So this is fine.

Nick Boban (24:41):
Cause that was just drunk. You taking care of you?

John Vieira (24:44):
I was, yeah. I was just taking care of business, you know?

Nick Boban (24:47):
Okay. Well bad-ass thanks for joining us guys. Any questions you have, put it in our comment section. Like, subscribe, share, and make sure you visit us on a Cheers.