The Perfect Bartender Travel Survival Kit

Embark on a journey with the perfect bartender travel survival kit! Whether you're a globe-trotting mixologist conquering new cocktail horizons or navigating bustling bartending competitions, this curated list of essential tools and gadgets is your passport to shaking, stirring, and pouring with finesse.

Our journey as bartenders often leads to new places with fresh challenges and opportunities.

Whether you're traveling to bartending competitions, pop-up events, or simply exploring new cocktail frontiers, having the perfect bartender travel survival kit is essential. 

Here's a curated list of my favorite essential tools and gadgets to ensure I’m always ready to shake, stir, and pour with finesse, including a couple of non-cocktail items that I always carry to keep my mind and body sound. 

10 Items to Carry when you Travel to Keep your Mind and Body Sound

1. Double Tin Shaker with Decent Hawthorne Strainer and Fine Mesh Strainer

Most bars will be set up with a decent collection of shakers, but they generally vary a lot in style and quality, so I like to take my own.

I also have a very old plastic Altos-branded three-piece shaker which I love and has traveled around the world with me. Super basic but works really well. 

When it comes to the Hawthorne strainer, I like to use one that is heavy and sits comfortably and tight on the shaker. Generic ones don’t always get the job done. I’m a fan of fine straining most straight up cocktails so the fine mesh strainer plays an important part.  

2. Mexican Elbow Juicer 

This is without a doubt my favorite tool as the Tommy’s Margarita is my favorite cocktail. This tool ensures freshly pressed lime every time in any situation. 

The one I have was gifted by maestro Julio Bermejo, the creator of the Tommy’s Margarita, and it’s his very own brand. It’s super strong and never fails! In fact, it’s so strong it’s great for crushing or cracking ice. You could hammer a nail into the wall with this if you wanted. 

3. Serrated Scissors 

I’m partial to a thin citrus peel with a fancy serrated edge, and guests notice this little detail too. A very simple and clever way to elevate a simple garnish! 

4. Digital Scales 

Digital scales are great for measuring lots of things from powders and salts to agave nectar and spirits. They’re extremely helpful when batching large quantities for a busy event. 

5. Chopsticks for Stirring and Garnishes 

I love a bar spoon, but also love to use chopsticks for stirring cocktails in a mixing jug. Often, they are easier to use as they’re essentially a straight rod that slides effortlessly into the vessel whereas sometimes the professional bar spoon can get trapped in the ice. 

Chopsticks are also useful for picking up garnishes when you don’t want to use your hands and culinary tweezers aren’t available. 

6. A Good Serrated Knife 

A sharp serrated knife of high quality is essential for cocktail prep, and you can never have too many. 

7. Edible Glitter to Pimp Up a Cocktail 

Edible glitter can be used to add pizzazz to a cocktail salt or when thrown into a slushy machine, which will give your frozen Margarita a special sparkle. 

8. Malic, Tartaric, and Citric Acid 

This may sound like an odd suggestion, but one of the cocktails I love to make at events is the Elmy Margarita which is essentially a spiced Tommy’s that uses a sour mix instead of real citrus juice. 

We combine these three acids with some baking soda and some citrus zest, and we get a beautiful, transparent, crisp, and zesty liquid. I carry my own as it’s not always easy to obtain all three and I don’t require much. 

9. Skipping Rope and Gym Kit 

When I travel, I try to get in as much exercise as possible. Some hotel gyms are better than others; sometimes there isn’t a gym at all, but I can always find somewhere to skip. It’s great for a healthy heart, improved posture, weight loss, stress release, and so much more. 

10. Swimming Costume and Goggles 

I always take these two, but they don’t always get used. If there is a pool, I’ll take advantage and have a swim. It may be the case that the hotel where I am staying doesn’t have a pool, but does have a sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi; in any of those cases, I’ll still need a swimming costume.

I hope this list of bar tools and personal items for maintaining physical and mental well-being during travels reflects a holistic approach to the life of a traveling bartender like you and me.