If you’re like most home bartenders, you’ll encounter the need for fresh fruit juice sooner or later. An Ad-lib for a quick squirt of lemon juice is fine, but when it comes time for juice-heavy recipes like the Mai Tai or Margarita, you’ll want to step up to a bar juicer. Not only will it make bartending for guests easier but you’ll look like you know what you’re doing 😉
What is a Juicer?
A juicer extracts juice from fruit. Although simple in concept, juicers come in many different shapes and sizes which all can vary based on the intended use. For making cocktails, manual juicers are most frequently used to juice citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges) while electric juicers are most frequently used for more commercial and personal health applications. Needless to say, we’ll focus on manual juicers for this review.
Juicers for the Home Bar
There are many different types of bar juicers and some are definitely a better choice than others. Of course selecting the “right” one will depend on what’s important to you; budget, ease of use, cleanup and storage for each appliance can vary. Therefore it’s a good idea to consider how you’ll be using a juicer. For example, are you looking for a basic handheld manual juicer for the occasional cocktail or will you be making lots of citrus-heavy drinks? Whatever your needs, it’s wise to give it some advance thought.
From down & dirty to advanced, there are several different types of bar juicers, so consider each of these when it’s time to select the right tool for your home bar:
A Citrus Reamer is one of the simplest tools available to juice lemons, limes and oranges. Essentially it uses a three-dimensional, star-shaped blade to crush the fruit and extract the juice (aka reem, hence the name). Citrus Reamers are available in two configurations:
Seems pretty simple, huh? I did too until I tried to buy one… I never realized how many different types of lemon squeezers there are. While I’m sure that this style is the one for me, I still haven’t found one that works really well. So a downside is finding the right one. UPDATE: I did purchase this one and it works really well. Easy to operate, clean & store. I recommend it.
Manual Press Juicer (Countertop)
Bar Juicer Comparison
Needless to say there’s a juice available to fit almost every need, so we can’t say that there’s one “right” juice, so we created this bar juicer comparison chart to make it easy for you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each manual juicer type that we covered:
|Type||Cost||Ease of Use||Cleanup||Storage|
|Kitchen Tongs||$0 - $15||Poor||Good||Good|
|Handheld Citrus Reamer||$0 - $10||Fair||Good||Good|
|Countertop Citrus Reamer||$10 - $20||Fair||Fair||Fair|
|Lemon Squeezer||$5 - $20||Good||Good||Good|
|Citrus Press (Manual)||+ $50||Good||Poor||Poor|
From our perspective, the best juicers for home bartender are the simplest and easiest to operate. The Lemon Squeezer and Citrus Reamer are standouts; however we need to give the nod to the Lemon Squeezer since it can be quickly used while creating minimal mess.
Sooner or later you’re going to need some fresh juice so a bar juicer should be in your future. Sure you can get by with a manual squeeze or even the kitchen tong method, but with affordable manual juicers easily available there’s no need to look like a bartending rookie when creating drinks for your friends..