With holiday travel coming up I did not want to risk more cocktail disappointment. In order to guarantee a well made drink to accompany my meals at home and at relatives I would have to bring my own tools, and I would need something to carry them.
Following the recommendation of Robert Hess, I started looking for doctor bags but was quickly discouraged by the outrageous prices. If I wanted something amenable to the grad student budget I would have to abandon doctors and think students: nursing students. Bags designed for nursing students are cheap, rugged, and dense with storage possibilities. Comparing features and reviews I went with a model from American Diagnostics, and I could not be happier.
The bag is small enough to be unobtrusive but large enough to hold everything I'd ever need. A large outer pocket holds a towel, sponge, and gloves for keeping clean. The back features a thin sleeve perfectly sized for 8.5 by 11 sheets of paper, small books, notepads, or cutting boards. Deep pockets inside the bag hold small bottles, knives, and other tools, with the remaining space awaiting larger tools such as the imperative Boston shaker. There are even small zippered components just large enough to hold business cards, matches, or the like.
At the moment I've stocked the bag with everything I could possibly need,
- A few small kitchen towels
- Four small flexible cutting boards
- Seven bottles of bitters plus a spray bottle of absinthe
- Tasting straws
- Channel and paring knives
- Boston shaker, julep strainer, bar spoon, muddler
- Mexican juicer
When traveling home I'll add my kitchen knives and a few more tools. Heading to a party I'd add freshly squeezed juices, a syrup or two, and small plastic cup for service. In the event a few of us cocktail snobs get together I could fit a few bottles of secondary liqueurs. Yes, the possibilities make me slightly giddy.
Oh, and if you're up for some drinks give me a call. I'll bring the bitters.