Tools: Trav-L-Bar

One of the most frustrating things about drinking well is the general inability to make that experience carry over outside your home.  It’s all very well to allow people to see your collection, witness your skills with a shaker and partake of the libations you can craft when you have your entire collection at hand.  It is another very different animal to be able to replicate this kind of presentation on the fly.

I was lucky enough to be gifted this particular kit when my parents were cleaning out their garage, the provenance is uncertain but it’s entirely likely that this came down from my grand parents.  (Or my brother picked it up at a yard sale)  If you want a similar kit they sell on Etsy and Ebay for 40-60 will all the original parts intact and some even have the original tags.  This kit had more of the original pieces when I received it but i’ve modified and adjusted for my own uses.

drink photos 214 Here we see the outer case, plain brown but leather and of a very good wear.  The handles and latches are sturdy and comfortable.

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These are my shots of the interior.  I find it to be very well laid out with ample room for all the tools and kit one could want.

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Here is a much fuller shot of the internals.  On the right three compartments suitable for 750ml bottles of most descriptions, on the left there are straps for 4-6 cups as well as a bottle opener and cocktail spoon.  The part I like best is that the straps at the top left are adjustable so you can fit larger or smaller glasses as you need.

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This is part of my standard kit.  The Boston shaker I regularly use and my Oxo measuring cup.  The bitters and Grenadine will obviously fit but I find them a poor use of space given their size and the limits of the case.

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Here is the other half of my tools.  Left to Right we have 3 New Deal Distillery Shot glasses received as part of my many trips down distillery row and 1 Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Distillery glass which I bought as part of my Devil’s Bit St. Patrick’s Day excursion.  The metal tray from the original case along with a cheap Hawthorne Strainer I picked up at Kitchen Kaboodle.  The Cocktail spoon is also from the original case, the jigger is a standard 1 1/2 by 3/4 jigger which I’m probably going to switch out, the oxo measure is just so much easier to use.  A waiter’s friend replaces the bakelite bottle opener which is currently floating around my mother’s 3rd kitchen junk drawer right now.  I don’t mind, having the corkscrew and foil knife has been handy and if this breaks I know I can get another fairly cheaply.

I swapped out the metal cups because frankly the ones that didn’t smell like leather smelled like cheap steel or aluminum which I didn’t want getting into my drinks.  Also this lets me show off a nice collection of shot glasses from local distilleries (at least the ones who have shot glasses).

The three compartments on the right side allow for a couple of options when traveling.  First off is the fairly basic cocktail, the shaker will hold a small squeeze bottle of juice or a dropper of bitters and the other two compartments easily hold your base alcohol and your liqueur.

I have done very passable Kamikazi’s out of this kit with just lime juice, cointreau and crater lake vodka.  There are a number of other options here including the classic martini, rusty nail, Pink Gin, old fashioned, or sidecar.

If you can do without the shaker a third bottle slot opens up which lets you get a bit more creative.  I’ve not gone without the shaker yet since most of the parties i’ve done with this kit so far require more than just two bottles but the option is there.  I’m curious to see if the mason shaker will fit in this case but not enough to bring up my timetable on buying one.

At a recent birthday party I wanted to take my cherry limeade with me but rather than take the 5 bottles that make up the entire drink I simplified and made two smaller bottles, one with the limeade and a second with the alcoholic components.  This allowed me to keep the majority of the drink on hand without overloading the case but did limit my options for what to create on the other end.