The Gadgets

The Home Made Bar


A while ago I wrote about an alternative bar set where everyday household items substitute professional barware. However it did occur to me, that I had never had a post about the regular barware items you must have in a home bar. One of the very first post on the gadgets section of the blog was about that, but back then I was just starting. Since then I did optimize my bar set. I should mention also that I am not a professional bartender but I do enjoy the fine art of mixed drinks. It is a very inexpensive way to have fun, and at the same time with the popularity of the cocktails, it is a focal point at every party. You don't have to be a professional level bartender to make a great Martini or a good Moscow mule. All you need is a the right gear and some basic critical thinking for improvising or judging equipment. This post is meant to be more of a guide to help you start a home bar, which based on your needs you can adjust the tools and the spirits to fit your liking.

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Ice Baby Ice – Part II: Ice Evaluation Experiment


In the Previous post we discussed the process of making ice, the tools and the techniques. However, we were left at the most interesting point. What is the best ice and for what application. General purpose ice, cocktail making/shaking, cocktail serving, whiskey tasting etc. This is what we are addressing now. We will see what are the evaluation criteria, and how we can pick the best ice type for each application.

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Ice Baby Ice – Part I: Cold Talk


The famous by now hit,"Ice Ice Baby" is a hip hop song written by American rapper Vanilla Ice and DJ Earthquake. Here we will not hip-hop. We will focus to the ice. Ice. The essential part of every cocktail. It is the one item that can ruin a party. Every time I am making cocktails I buy fresh ice since the one left in the freezer can pick up smells like nothing in the world. Ice is water. Water gets a long with many molecules. Some of them smell funky. So when the solid water gets in contact with this molecules even in the harsh freezer environment, it will immediately absorb them. In many cases even the ice-cube trays can pick up smells.

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Homemade Bars: Barware alternatives


The home bartending is a fun hobby. So much fun, that almost every wedding registry has at least one bar set, that usually ends up in the cabinet never to be used... And now that the hot summer skyrocketed the cocktail demand, home bars become a necessity. Still, however, there are people who think that there is way to much money required to start a hobby that will be only sparkly used. And that actually might be true! If you want good quality hardware a rough estimation comes to about $50. On that you have to add the cost of the liquor and you have a cost that shatters your dreams. And although the liquor cost cannot be reduced (well, it can be, but then a bad hangover will be the price for that decision) the tools can certainly be reduced. Today we will see how you can substitute those tools with items that you probably already have in the household. These substitutions are recommended for those who want to make a cocktail once in a while and they don't really care about cocktails that much. If you are a regular mixer then you should buy the bullet and get a set.

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Thermometers! Are you hot enough?


One of the biggest inventions in the history of mankind is the use of fire for food. It opened a whole new horizon to food that prior to heating was not even imagined as eatable. Not only that, but heating food made it a lot safer and reduced significantly the food poisoning that as you can imagine back then it was a huge cause of death. Prehistoric people use to eat other than game corpses and meat that was rotting for days. Heat improved the quality of the meat and it’s safety.

And we...

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Cutting Edge: The Knives – Part II


In the previous post we discussed the essential of knives. Material, methods of production and blades. These are the required information for choosing a knife, but it is not enough on its own. We need to know what we should look for, on a knife based on the application and the skills a chef or a chef wannabe has. What knives do we really need? How much should they cost, and how to pick them? And once you got them how to care for them. Well this is what we will be discussing.

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Microplane Grater


Graters have been around for very long time, and are very useful in the kitchen for grating everything from cheese and spices to garlic and potatoes. Although there are many different types of graters their shape has not change since its inception. They are either box or flat, maid with metal (or some newer models with plastic) with raised scales that are sharp and actually are doing the grating. The quality of the grater depends upon these scales. How sharp they are and how well they maintain their shape.

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Cutting Edge: The Knives – Part I


Knives and cutlery in general, is the most essential thing, after food, in every cuisine. It is the one item that is used to clean, prep, portion and in some older times, to catch the food to be. Nowadays the innovation, sophistication, marketing and engineering has given us a huge selection of knives of many different shapes and sizes and thy have achieved the unachievable, to distract the buyer from the actual knife to the esthetics which although welcome they are not the primary objective. In this tow part series I will try to give the fundamentals to help someone choose the knife that he/she needs with major guide the ergonomics and the usability. In the first part we will focus on the manufacturing of the knife including the anatomy and sharpening/honing, while on the second we will focus on the specialty knives and the applications.

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Spices and Herbs: Storage and handling


Spices and herbs is the spirit of every food. The common ingredients of the dish can be elevated and can actually take you to new places. Some curry mix will take you to India, ginger and sesame will travel you to China. Oregano and thyme will take you to Greece. All spice (bahar) will take you to Turkey. However as is true for most ingredients, proper handling and storage is not just crucial, but fundamental to gain access to the full spectrum of the flavors that are the spices. In this post, which is a purely technical post I will describe the basic of storing and handling the spices and herbs.

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Mixology 101: Glassware II


In the last post I talked about wine glasses and how the shape, size and overall construction, are enhancing the overall experience. I left out the beers and I debated quite long time if I should have a similar entry for beer. You see, although for instance white wines share many common characteristics although they are different, in a way, beer although it is the same type, there have more different than common elements. In certain type of wine there are the grapes and the aging process. In beer is the starchy elements (wheat, barley rice etc), the hops, the water and the aging process. So although all wheat beers are the same in principle the differences are much more pronounced compared to wine. It is therefore not uncommon for every self respectful brewery to have its own glass. We are not going to cover each one, but I will just give a small description of the major types of glasses.

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