Top Bartender Sother Teague’s Current Obsession: Cocktail Kingdom’s Teardrop Bar Spoon
The beverage director of New York’s acclaimed Amor y Amargo bar won’t make cocktails with any other spoon.
Award-winning bartender Sother Teague doesn’t go anywhere without his favorite bar spoon. Whether he’s using it to stir cocktails at his New York bar Amor y Amargo or traveling around the world for a guest shift, he makes sure to have at least one of them in his tool kit.
A sleek, 30-centimeter long stainless steel spoon with a smooth, tight spiral handle and a teardrop topper, Teague has been using the same model for about a decade, since Cocktail Kingdom first introduced it.
“I can’t do anything without it. I can’t make drinks without my bar spoon,” says Teague, likening this multi-use tool to a conductor’s baton. “I don’t even think twice about not packing it. Maybe a mixing glass or a shaker, they’ll have all that. I always pack my own spoon, though.”
The length, spiral and heft, he says, allow it to twirl comfortably in his hand—much more so than the ubiquitous red-tipped spoon that he used when he started his career behind the bar.
“I remember nights after working with that thing and stirring a lot of drinks,” says Teague. “I literally had blisters or cuts on my fingers and just thought, well, that’s just how it is.” Once the rebirth of the cocktail started to take off, there were suddenly more and better bar tool options.
But for Teague, this teardrop model from Cocktail Kingdom hits a few marks that the others don’t.
“You have to think about stirring literally up to 400 drinks a night—that’s a lot of repetition on your wrists,” says Teague. “That tight spiral is much more ergonomic and comfortable for your fingers to allow it to spin in your hand while it goes around and around in the mixing glass.”
Its balanced weight is another of its big advantages. Similar to how a well-made knife balances weight between its blade and handle, the teardrop spoon adds heft that helps propel stirring. “You know, I was a chef for 12 years and knives were an extension of your body,” Teague says. He now considers the spoon “an extension of my body.”
The design of the spoon also works well for other tasks behind the bar, both mundane and showy. That includes using the teardrop for “wrestling oils” from herbs, crushing sugar cubes and—one of Teague’s favorite bar tricks—pouring effervescent mixers down the length of the spoon to seamlessly mix in the glass.
As important as actually mixing drinks, many of Teague’s recipes at Amor y Amargo use a bar spoon measurement. While bar spoons are supposed to be a standardized 1/6 ounce, they can vary widely. But as long as Teague always has one of his trusty Cocktail Kingdom bar spoons on hand, anytime he measures out a bar spoon, it remains consistent.
“Cocktail Kingdom spoons seems to have the most standardized bowl—it’s about an eighth of an ounce,” says Teague. “Of course, I can double that for a quarter of an ounce real quick without having to pick up the jigger.”
Still, no matter how many Cocktail Kingdom teardrop spoons Teague collects, he’ll always have a place in his heart for that old-school red-tipped spoon, which is a little rougher around the edges.
“It almost has an exalted place on the mantle, you know?” says Teague. “Like it’s a musket we don’t use anymore.”