Listeners to the podcast will know that a while ago I was lucky enough to be joined by Tom Dyer, the current Roadhouse World Flair Bartending Champion. What you may not know is he also worked with Beaumont bar supplies to create one of the best pour spouts on the market, but more on that later.
What is a pour spout?
A pour spout is essentially a controlled flow spout designed to fit snuggly in the top of a liquor bottle and allow liquid to flow through it at a consistent rate. This allows bartenders to pour accurately into glasses or measuring devices such as jiggers and spoons.
Why use pour spouts?
if you’ve ever tried to pour directly from a liquor bottle into a small target like a jigger, you’ll know how easy it is to spill liquid over the side as it glugs out of the wide bottle neck. Without using a measuring device, it is impossible to know how much you are pouring in this way and the spillage is of course wasteful.
What should I look for in a pour spout?
Pour spouts are available in a multitude of materials, sizes, flow rates and finishes. You can get some which stop the flow after a certain amount of liquid to help control portions, others integrate a cover over the spout which doubles as a measuring device. Your style of bartending will heavily influence what will work the best for you.
There are a few basics that work best in most situations however: I personally avoid measured spouts which cut off after a certain amount of liquid like the plague. I was excited to try them when they were first launched, however I have found them to be unreliable in practice, especially with any sugary, syrupy liquors. They also force a single measurement, and when mixing cocktails, this is very difficult to use as different proportions are important to balancing drink flavours properly.
Look for pourers with what is called a polycork – this is a finned rubber insert around the neck of the pourer which are graduated in size so that they can seal effectively against the inside of the bottle’s neck in a range of bottle sizes. These are normally black or dark grey, don’t be fooled by one piece plastic spouts, the design looks similar on the fins but they can crumple inside the bottle instead of compressing and often leak.
What are some of the popular designs?
One Piece Plastic Spouts
Available in a multitude of colours, these are probably the lowest price spouts on the market. Normally just a few pence each, these pour at an angle; i.e. the exit hole is on one side of the spout. This factor makes them less suitable for high volume bars as when you’re moving fast, you won’t have time to check the orientation of the spout, making the pour direction something of a surprise, in the same way that the way a rugby ball bounces can be a surprise. On the other hand, if you have pricing bands for the spirits in your bar you can use a different colour for each to mark out pricing to your bartenders, or simply use a different colour per serving station so its clear where bottles should be put back.
In conclusion, they’re a great budget option for home bars or to top flair practice bottles as they don’t hurt as much as a stainless steel pourer when moving at speed.
Get them here:6 PCS Black Plastic Liquor Pourer Free flow Wine Bottle Pour Spout Stopper for Spirits, Liquors, Juices, Syrups & Oils
Measured cut off spouts
As mentioned above, these have their uses in bars serving simple drinks that have issues with stock controls, but are not really suited for cocktail service. As you’ll need to be able to pour whatever amount a recipe calls for easily when making cocktails, these can be overly restrictive. They are however useful especially if you have casual staff, for example event companies where you need untrained staff to be able to make high volumes of drinks consistently. Get them here: Measured Pour Spouts on Amazon
Cap on pour spouts
I actually really like the idea of these, they’re designed to pour at the same rate as the 285-50 Spill Stop (which we’ll come to next) yet they sit flush with the top of the bottle and allow you to replace the lids on the bottle without removing the pourer. They’re also extremely low priced, which is handy as without the right tool, they’re almost impossible to get out of the bottle. (Here’s the right tool). These are perfect for low volume bottles like single malts that may sit on the back bar for days or weeks without being used, and keeping the caps on will minimise evaporation from the bottles. Get them here: Cap on Pourers at Barproducts.com
Spill Stop 285-50
The Spill Stop 285-50 is pretty much the industry standard, at least in higher end bars. Stainless steel construction with high quality poly-cork makes these durable and probably the best looking spouts of the bunch. The pour is consistent and gives the famous 4 count 1oz pour. The only downsides i’ve found with these spouts is that they struggle to fit some of the more narrow bottle necks such as Cointreau, though they do offer a larger cork replacement for very wide bottles like Patron tequila. Also with use, the stainless steel collars of the pour spouts tend to go missing, as any impact on the top of the spout is likely to dislodge them. The pourers work just fine without, though they do easily get pushed down into the cork without the collar and look fairly untidy as a result. Overall they’re a great pourer, and while more expensive than most here, they’re worth the extra. Get them here:Spill Stop 285-50 on Amazon
Tom Dyer TD105-30
The TD105-30 has been built with bartenders in mind. Beaumont, one of the largest suppliers of bar equipment worked with Tom Dyer to create a spout for all bartenders. Based on the design of the Spill Stop, the TD 105 30 takes it further and is more durable, making it perfect for flair bartenders. In my experience, the consistency is pretty similar, though the TD105-30 seems to have a faster pour than its predecessor, so I don’t recommend if you’re used to free pouring with the Spill Stop just switching them out and carrying on, you’ll need to re-calibrate your pour as you would with any other spout. You can get your hands on the TD105-30 by contacting Tom Dyer directly at his Facebook page here.