Tools They Use takes a look at local food artisans, such as chefs, bakers, brewers, and more with a simple photo displaying their signature items and favorite tools.
Matthew Martinez is the mixologist and partner at Fukushu Restaurant Concepts who recently won the Bartender of the Year award from the Tucson Bar Awards for his work with OBON Sushi Bar Ramen. He has also worked the bar for Umi Star, Scott & Co., and Nox.
"Accurate to the milligram up to 8000 milligrams. We have two of these and use and abuse them every week. They keep our recipes consistent and making batching in bulk a breeze."
"I've tried probably a dozen muddlers of all sizes and materials. These are the best. One piece and non porous makes them easy to clean. Also the best for hand cracking ice that I've ever used."
"Most of our cocktails have an added layer, either visual or sensory or both. These are used to add that layer of smell to a cocktail. Sometimes its a tincture made from greasewood creosote to simulate monsoon rain. We're also using eucalyptus to drive and accent layers in a cocktail that contains galangal,which has a gingery eucalyptus flavor to us. These can be the salt and pepper, but also a trick to throw you off and surprise you. "
"We use this to speed up our infusions and tinctures in an environment that allows for total control. We even make caramel in house with this thing. One of the many tools used to make sure everything we're doing is as consistent as possible. "
The scallop shell is more form than function, but it still works as well for straining ice.
One of the many Cocktail Kingdom brand items popular with mixologists, Martinez's Hawthorne strainer doesn't see a shift without use.
"I'd been flipping my spoons upside down for such a long time to double stir cocktails (real technical jargon here) and wondered why there weren't just double teardrop stirrers, well now there are. I always keep a bar spoon around though for floating and short short measures."
No matter how many years you've made cocktails, jiggers are essential for consistent results.
This tool is also useful for breaking apart chunks of frozen fruit in your home freezer.
"There are endless variables for these two items, so you'll have to do your own searching and trial and error. But this has become our go-to combination for breaking down large blocks of clinebell ice. Basically something sturdy with a sharp flat edge, and something with some weight made from a material capable of absorbing some shock, and you're in business."
"Consistent and fast. Not really much else to say. I don't use anything else for zests or prep work."
"Indispensable reference for flavors and their affinities. I can't say enough about how valuable this book has become to me. However after having the mind-blowing combination of coconut ice cream with fresh thyme at one of Chef Ginny Wooters' dinners, I've learned to trust my instincts when something doesn't show up here."
"Great for understanding the why of everything we're doing. Also demystifies some of the silly habits learned during the growth of craft cocktail culture."
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran's Fats. Although he...