6 Bar Gadgets That Might Make Your Life Easier

The Coco Jack coconut-opening tool
The Coco Jack promises a better, faster and safer way to crack open coconuts. Image via Coco Jack.

For many bartenders, the word “shortcut” generally triggers images of powdered sour mix, pre-bottled lime juice and syrupy store-bought grenadine. But cutting down on time doesn’t always have to involve cutting corners — and when it comes to prepping a station for a night of high-volume service or building a drink when you’re in the weeds, a little efficiency can go a long way. We gathered a handful of gadgets, gizmos, tools and toys, from scientific to quirky to downright infomercial-worthy, that could potentially help you do just that: a faster zest here, a more precise syrup batch there. Check out the list below, and if you’ve found a random kitchen tool, laboratory gadget or infomercial gem that makes your life easier behind the bar, be sure to tell us about it in the comments.

1. This hypnotizing auto-zesting device

We’re all about saving time in prep — and saving hands from the scourge of citrus juices. The Zip Zester promises to do both by making zesting a snap. Reviews seem mixed, especially with regard to how much zest is actually yielded, but the video demos are definitely intriguing:

2. This measuring tool that’ll keep your syrups on-point

Making your own cocktail components in-house is, more often than not, a good thing — but consistency can be tricky. Ensure your special housemade falernum or grenadine hits the mark every time with a refractometer, which measures the sugar content (or Brix) of a liquid solution: it’ll help to ensure the sweetness of your DIY’ed modifiers stays the same from batch to batch, which will help keep your drinks consistent.

3. This specialty coconut-opening tool

Right up there with the garlic press and the spiralizer in the category of single-purpose culinary tools, this charmingly niche invention — which made an appearance on Shark Tank — promises to offer a safe and efficient way to crack open fresh coconuts, minus the use of knives, drills, saws or other potentially digit-severing devices. For, say, a high-volume tiki bar that has to crack into bushels of coconuts on a regular basis or a bar that utilizes coconuts as glassware, we could see this coming in handy — and there’s even a testimonial from Fort Lauderdale’s Hyatt Pier 66, who increased their weekly coconut sales from 10 to 25. At $36.95, we suppose it’s worth a shot.

4. This machine that melts chunks of ice down into perfect spheres

If your bar has neither the budget for a Clinebell nor the time or patience for hand-carving, these little gizmos can be quite handy — plus, they tend to attract their fair share of ooh’s and ahh’s from guests when put to work.

5. This rapid-infusing, flavor-extracting, sonochemical lab gadget

We found out about this device via a comment from Larrian Gillespie, who has worked in pharmacology and applies that scientific know-how to the cocktail and culinary worlds. Writing in to our feature about housemade falernum, Gillespie suggested using the Flavor Reactor to combine ingredients and effectively extract all of the flavors in the span of 20 minutes. While we haven’t tried it ourselves, the promise of rapid infusion and extraction is certainly alluring.

6. This carbon siphon that does so much more than carbonate

Any bartender who’s followed along with the likes of David Arnold knows that the iSi Siphon isn’t just a sleek competitor to the Soda Stream. This versatile little gadget does more than add bubbles to water: it can also handle rapid infusions, nearly instant pickling and beautiful flavored foams.

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