Having an outdoor bar is a lot of fun, and you want to be sure yours is stocked with enough of the right bar supplies. You do not have to keep a large variety of supplies or a lot of specialty tools that you will not use very much, but there are a few bar essentials to keep on hand for your outdoor bar.
Corkscrews and Bottle Openers
These are probably the most essential tools of any bartender. There are many types of bottle openers, from elaborate wall-mounted ones to smaller ones that fit easily in a utensil drawer. It is a good idea to select a double-sided opener that can open more than one size bottle. The most frequently-used type of corkscrew is the winged model with the screw mechanism between 2 metal arms that are pulled down to release the cork. Both of these tools are inexpensive and easy to find in any kitchen store section.
Regardless of the number of guests you are entertaining, you do not want to run out of ice. Have an ice bucket, ice tongs or an ice scoop, and an ice crusher as standard supplies in your outdoor bar. A blender works well for crushing ice for frozen drinks, and you can alternately keep an ice pick for crushing ice blocks by hand if you prefer. There are plenty of ice buckets that are large enough for a good amount of ice so that you will not have to frequently keep going back to the kitchen to refill it. Always use an ice scoop when making drinks; this is much more sanitary than scooping ice directly from the bucket with a glass. Using a glass to scoop ice an also chip the rim of the glass.
This tool is a must-have for making good martinis, chilled shots, and many other kinds of mixed drinks. There are many different designs and sizes of shakers, and some can be quite elaborate. A shaker with a metal top that fits over a drink strainer works well for any type of outdoor bar.
Measure with a Jigger
A jigger is a measuring device used for making mixed drinks. It is shaped like a pair of small cones stacked end to end, and 1 cone usually holds 1 1/2 ounces while the other holds either 3/4 ounce or 1 ounce. Some jiggers come with a pour line marked on the inside of each cone for added accuracy. This helps you create good cocktails with the right amount of hard liquor and avoid over-serving anyone.
Speed Pouring Tops
In addition to a jigger, you can also measure the liquor you pour with a speed pouring bottle top. These are somewhat less commonly-used in home or outdoor bars, but they can be a helpful time-saver if you have more than 3 to 4 bottles of liquor and are mixing several different types of cocktails. Screwing a speed pouring top to a bottle allows a certain measurement of alcohol, usually 1 ounce, to be poured out at a time. If you opt to use these, be sure to remove them and screw the regular caps back on your liquor bottles once you are finished with them.