Gift Guides

Chow Bella's Gift Guide for the Aspiring Bartender

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Bar Shaker and Accessories, $10 and up If you go into a mall-based kitchen store, you'll see lots of elegant (read: expensive) three-piece shakers. All of them suck. The strainer holes clog with ice. Then, when you're done shaking, the whole assemblage freezes together like a flock of dumb ducks on an icy lake.

Go to a restaurant supply store and get a Boston shaker set. It's two parts: A 28-ounce tin, and a 16-ounce mixing glass. The spoon is long with a twisted stem and a red plastic bit on the tip. All three together should be under $10. If you go online to a supplier like, you can get upgraded Boston shakers (all kinds of colors!) and spoons, but they all work the same as the cheap ones. While at the restaurant supply store, you can also get a jigger and Hawthorne strainer (the kind with a spring around the bottom edge) at similar low prices, but Oxo's are worth the upgrade and readily available at big-box stores. Each is about $10.

Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer, $20 When using lemon and lime juice, you only want fresh-squeezed. The best bar juicers for home use are the ones that look like an oversize garlic press. Most Chef'n brand products are mediocre at best, but their FreshForce juicer works like a dream. It's the only plastic citrus press I've used that's actually worth buying.

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JK Grence
Contact: JK Grence