Last Updated on April 17, 2022 by Bill Allen
How Much is a Bar Spoon? Sizes and Measurements to Know!
When exploring the amazing world of mixology for the first time, there are some super basic things to learn before you try creating that perfect drink. Understanding bar spoon measurements, types of spoons and how to correctly use one should be one of the first things you do.
Every bar has at least one bar spoon laying around, and if they don’t, they’re not much of a bar or pub. A bar spoon is an essential bar tool for any bartender!
What is a Bar Spoon?
A bar spoon is a spoon with a long twisted or spiraled handle used in mixology. There are a few different types I will go over later, but basically they are the same.
They’re meant to either be a fast and efficient way of measuring alcohol, creating layered shots or drinks, or simply for stirring a cocktail. Remember, if you’re using any type of shaker, they’re usually quite tall, so using a regular teaspoon like in your kitchen means wet fingers, and maybe even cutting your hand on the rim of the shaker, for real.
So a specialized bartender’s spoon makes mixing in any type of glass or shaker a lot easier. The length of the spoon ensures you can get to the bottom of any container and properly mix all the ingredients without touching the drink. Kind of important if you’re mixing a cocktail in front of your friends or a customer.
And although the twisted handle effect is meant to slow down a pour for layered drinks, it makes for great gripping as well.
Types of Bar Spoons
There are three standard types of bar spoons. I’ve listed each below and highlighted their most prominent features. As far as which is best, that will depend more on personal tastes than anything else.
American Bar Spoon
The bar spoon in my pictures is a nice quality spoon of typical American size and measurement. It’s ten inches long and the spoon itself holds ⅙ oz (ounces) or 5 ml. (milliliters) of liquid by volume. The “cheapie” ones usually have a red cap on the end. And if you see one, don’t buy it. It’s worth the extra buck to buy one of higher quality that will most likely also be better weighted and made. Here’s the one I use and is in the pictures.
Cost: Usually less than $8 depending on quality and material.
European Bar Spoon
There are two main differences between the American spoon and European ones. First, a European bar spoon only holds half of the American spoon by volume. So ⅛ oz or 2.5ml of liquid.
Second, European bar spoons often have a disk or hammer like end used for muddling a drink. Although I’d rather use a proper muddler to muddle a drink but, it is a time saver in a pinch.
Cost: Usually less than $15 depending on quality and material.
Japanese Bar Spoon
This particular bar spoon measures a full foot, or twelve inches long or 30.48cm. Like the European bar spoon, the Japanese spoon also only holds ⅛ oz or 2.5ml of liquid, that’s half the standard American spoon volume.
Personally I like the longer handles on these and the sleeker design, I just wish the spoon was 5ml. rather than the 2.5.
Cost: Usually less than $15 depending on quality and material.
Bar Spoon Sizes
|American||1/6||5||10 – 12 inches|
|European||1/8||2.5||10 – 12 inches|
Bar Spoon to Teaspoon
Is a bar spoon a teaspoon? Yes, they are the exact same volume. Your bar spoon and a measuring spoon may look different, but they both contain the exact same volume of liquid, or in this case alcohol or mixer.
But beware, since as you can see on my table above, the European and Japanese spoons are not the equivalent of an American styled bar spoon. So the volume of liquid they hold is also different.
Since both of these spoons are equal in total volume which is exactly half the typical American spoon, the measurements are simply halved. Meaning these spoons do NOT equal a tsp. Rather they equal one half a teaspoon.
Bar Spoon to oz
1 bar spoon in oz is 1/6 an ounce or 5 ml (milliliters). That means if you’re trying to pour an ounce with a bar spoon, you’ll need to pour six spoons to equal an oz. And again, that’s for an American styled spoon. For the other two, you’d need to double that and add 12 spoons to make an ounce.
Bar Spoon to ml
1 bar spoon in ml is 5 ml or 1.6 an ounce. If you wanted to use a bar spoon to measure out a liter, you’d need 200 bar spoons to do it. I wouldn’t advise that, seems a little mind numbing.
What is a Bar Spoon Used For?
- Stirring Cocktails – This is definitely the primary reason you want to use these. Especially if you’re mixing your cocktails in a shaker or tall glass.
- Layering Drinks – The twisted handle on these really do make layering a drink easier. And I’ve found this to be the second most useful aspect of my spoons.
- Measuring Ingredients – Although it is a spoon, I don’t use it for measuring much. Although it is useful, there just aren’t many things measured in teaspoons in mixology terms.
- Muddling – If you have the European spoon, you can use the end as a muddler. Or even just the spoon part itself in a pinch.
What Are Bar Spoons Made Of?
A bar spoon worth anything is made of stainless steel. These spoons are very cheap to buy and anything other than stainless steel I believe is a total waste of money. That’s unless you want a pretty copper one or something unique and special. Just don’t bother with anything plastic. A good bar spoon should feel a bit “weighty” in your hand.
And since they’re stainless steel, they should literally last a life time. And they’re dishwasher safe.
Why Are Bar Spoons Twisted?
The twisted end of a bar spoon is used to layer shots and drinks. The twisty part slows down the pour of the alcohol so it settles on the layer underneath “softly” enough not to mix and sit on top.
Another benefit of the twisted handle is that the spoon is easier to grasp and hold as you’re stirring your mixed drinks. You’ll really appreciate this feature if you’re working on quiz night and bartending in a busy bar and your hands are wet!
Bar Spoon vs. Teaspoon?
An American bar spoon and a teaspoon both hold the same volume of liquid, so they are exactly the same. Both hold ⅙ oz (ounces) or 5 ml. (milliliters) of liquid by volume.
But remember, the European and Japanese bar spoons are exactly half of those measurements. So they each hold half a teaspoon or 2.5 ml. or ⅛ oz.
And a teaspoon is far shorter in length than a bar spoon. Try mixing a cocktail in a shaker or pint glass with a teaspoon and you’ll quickly understand why these spoons are so much longer.
Personally I like a quality made American bar spoon over all the other options. I wouldn’t mind if it were a little longer, but I definitely want the full 5 ml. volume spoon. Also I personally hate the muddler part on the ends of the European spoons. But those are simply my personal preferences. After all, we’re talking about a pretty simple device here.
Just remember how much is a bar spoon is depending on which you own so you don’t mess up your cocktails. Recipes have sizes and measurements for a reason.