Roomy, knife-friendly, and exceptionally durable, this teak slab was worth every penny. It resisted warping and cracking, showed only minor scratches, never seemed “thirsty,” and—despite its heft—was easy to lift and clean, thanks to handholds on each end.
Made of teak, this bar board is naturally slightly oily, so it required less maintenance than the other wood or bamboo boards we tested, and it stained somewhat less extensively. It was big enough to accommodate all the foods we cut on it though still highly portable. And it’s reversible, with a juice groove on one side that helped contain messes when we cut a lemon into wedges. It was the heaviest bar board we tested, so it stayed put on the counter pretty well, though rubbery grips would have provided some extra security. Finally, it’s quite handsome, making a beautiful small platter for serving cheese or charcuterie.
This squat but surprisingly roomy cobbler shaker was leakproof and easy to use: Simply twist on a strainer and snap on a domed top, which doubles as a 1- and 2-ounce jigger. (The silicone top faded a bit after 10 washes but sealed just fine.) While the thin metal cup got cold during use, its carafe-like shape made it fairly comfortable for testers of all hand sizes to grip. The cup’s wide mouth allowed for effortless filling, muddling, and cleaning; a reamer attachment was a nice frill.
With closely spaced, moderately tense coils, this strainer filtered out all but the fewest, tiniest bits of lime pulp, mint, and ice. Long wings allowed it to sit securely on the small and large halves of the shaker, and a tab on the head made it easy to grip while pouring.
Our favorite barspoon is just the right length for most cocktail shakers, and its handle is twisted from top to bottom, making it easy for users of all hand sizes to grip. Its medium-size bowl was big enough to remove garnishes steadily and push ice confidently yet small enough to maneuver nimbly in narrow shakers and jars.
Available for purchase at: www.cocktailkingdom.com
This cheese plane produced perfect, clean-edged, even slices of ideal thickness every time. With a comfortable handle, a relatively long blade, and one of the thinnest and most flexible heads in the testing, it was a pleasure to use.
This small, inexpensive plastic beaker has bold, clearly marked lines and numbers that can be read from above; a single wide mouth made it a breeze to fill, and a tiny spout ensured a clean pour every time. In addition to the ounce lines you'll need for making cocktails, the beaker also has volume lines for tablespoons, fractions of a cup, and milliliters, so you can use it to measure liquids in the kitchen as well. Better still, the lines are positioned in such a way that no one set of measurements obscures another, making each set equally easy to read and use.
There’s no guesswork to this automatic model: Simply press one of three preprogrammed buttons (for light, medium, or high carbonation). It’s our pick for people who want consistency as well as those who might find it uncomfortable or difficult to repeatedly press a button or lever. An internal mechanism in the machine grabs the neck of the plastic water bottle and releases it easily. Unlike most other machines, it must be plugged into an electrical outlet.
With two cups made of stainless steel, this Boston shaker was lightweight and seemingly indestructible, inspiring confidence in users who had worried about dropping glass-and-steel versions. Like the other Boston shakers, this wide-mouthed model was easy to fill, clean, stir, and muddle in. But because the mixing cup sat higher in the larger cup, sealing it tightly took a bit more practice; the metal also got very cold during use. Available at CocktailKingdom.com.
Sleek, streamlined, and easy to use, this model stood out for its design and transparent window, allowing us to see the worm in action. It shone not only in form but also in function. It effortlessly pierced synthetic and natural corks with the push of a button. Compared to a traditional corkscrew, it worked just as quickly and sometimes even faster. It opened over 30 bottles of wine in a row without losing charge and easily released all of the corks. A streamlined, lightweight, and uncomplicated design made it comfortable to hold. We also appreciate how quiet it was in comparison to the other models. Although it spun a little while opening bottles, it had a plastic rim that helped stabilize it. We think it’s a convenient gadget for wine enthusiasts and occasional drinkers.