Australian bars get an equipment overhaul
This feature appeared in the October issue of Australian Bartender.
By Simon McGoram
Photography by Rob Palmer
Selected imagery courtesy of Bar Geek
“Before shaking was developed skilled bartenders were throwing drinks between one mixing glass and another – ice and all…”
Some of the technology we use behind the bar has changed little in decades – a decent waiter’s friend, a set of pens and a bar-blade need little improvement. Where the stakes are getting raised however is in the quality of shakers, jiggers, strainers and barspoons now available to the cocktail bartender. The industry is even seeing a new class of niche online stores offering top quality European and Japanese barware.
Once such company is Bar Geek a team effort from Sydney based bartenders Andres Walters (The Wild Rover), David Rozario (Baxter Inn) and Gabrielle Hindmarch (formerly Black by Ezard). At the start of this year the trio saw that there was a growing demand for bar equipment and hence a market for a niche barware company like Bar Geek.
“We also saw how expensive it was to get to Australia and thought it was a bit ridiculous how much you had to pay to get it here,” explains Walters. “We wanted to make it cheaper and easier to obtain for Australia and New Zealand.”
Walters believes that one of the reasons there is a demand for higher quality barware is bartenders are becoming aware of the theatrical element of their craft. “So [everything] from the way you make a drink to the equipment you use creates that theatrical experience for the customer,” says Walters. “We provide a point of difference in the market and that is a big thing today considering there are always so many new bars opening. Better quality equipment that doesn’t break is always worth the money you spend on it. Anything that can make your job easier is welcomed too.”
The Bar Geek team have have not missed the fact that there has been a rise in interest in Japanese barware because of its high quality and design with much of their initial stock sourced from their contact on the ground in Japan. Walters reckons other manufacturing countries will get it on the act too; “I think we will see people look to other manufacturers and brands from Germany, Italy and the UK to embrace the high quality production processes that those countries have.”
Walters reckons their edge over other barware retailers is their fast and speedy service delivering high quality equipment from Japan, Germany, and the UK. “We are always looking for new products to enhance the professional bartender in his or her bar,” adds Walters. “We are bartenders wanting to find practical and well made products for other bartenders to forward the trade of bartending in Australia and New Zealand.”
“Look out for our own brand of barware coming in the not too distant future. We have several ideas for better quality equipment and can’t wait to show people,” concludes Walters.
Bartenders Top Three Equipment Picks
1. Mr Slim Jigger – this Japanese jigger isn’t only aesthetically pleasing and easy to use the measuring lines cut into this 30/45ml jigger make it practical to use for all types of cocktails.
2. Two-Piece Parisian Shaker- this handsome shaker is virtually unbreakable. On top of that it’s light and streamlined. Using a Boston style shaker will feel cumbersome once you’ve got used to this style.
3. 27cm Barspoon with muddling disc- This one is an oldie but a goodie. It’s available through several barware sites and has been coming down in price for some time. The disc muddling end takes care of any need for a toddy stick (see below) and there’s no sharp bits to stab yourself on!
Keep an eye out for part two of this article, focusing on the history of barware.