This post is part of our 'This Is Fire' series, where our editors and writers tell you about the products they can't live without in the kitchen.
You know your standard bartending tools—the shakers, the bar spoons, and the jiggers. But one bar tool that remains underrated: the bar knife. A workhorse, cut-through-it-all tool for crafting perfect garnishes. You don’t want a thin, ragged lemon peel garnishing your elegant Last Word cocktail, right?
There’s no knife I love better for cutting my garnishes than the sharp, serrated Victorinox knife blade.
There’s a lot more thinking to garnishes than one would expect. Your lemon twist? It needs structure, and too much pith will give your drink bitterness. That lime wedge? A regular knife will butcher the shape.
So you want a sharp, sturdy, do-it-all knife that cuts through citrus rinds and shapes garnishes with accuracy. Essentially, it’s the key to great garnishes. The Victorinox Swiss Classic Paring Knife is my go-to knife for these tasks and more.
Victorinox Swiss Classic Paring Knife 3.9 Inches
A great kitchen tool
Sharp, serrated blade
Smaller in size
After years of working in bars (and plenty of home recipe testing), I’ve become very picky about knives. And while you think a super-sharp straight-blade paring knife will do, there’s no knife I love better for cutting my garnishes than the sharp, serrated Victorinox knife blade.
The serrated blade actually grips the citrus, while a flat blade tends to slide off (and that’s how you slice your hand!)
It has weight and balance, sharp enough to cut simple wedges for garnishing any sort of drink, and powerful enough to cut more intricate garnishes, like citrus disks and twisted orange peels.
Outside of bar uses, it’s a great knife to reach for when cutting all sorts of fruits and vegetables—slicing up potatoes, cutting apple wedges, or opening packages. The serrated blade actually grips the citrus, while a flat blade tends to slide off (and that’s how you slice your hand!)
Sure, you could opt for a pricier chef’s knife with a beautifully shaped blade. But these are both inexpensive and incredibly sturdy. The 3.9-inch serrated blade is crafted from high-carbon stainless steel with a durable polypropylene handle that fits snugly in your hand. Use it to cut garnishes—I love a small citrus twist with my Last Word, or a chunky orange peel with my Old Fashioneds—or keep it on hand for vegetables, cheeses, and other easy snacks. (And at that price point? I’m not too put out if I lose it to the dishwasher.) Not to mention, the neon orange handle, though the knife comes in other colors, makes this knife easy to find in a drawer full of utensils.
Material: Stainless steel and polypropylene | Number of Pieces: 1 | Blade length: 3.9 inches | Weight: 27.2 g | Dishwasher-safe: Yes
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Kate Dingwall is a freelance writer whose work focuses on food, drinks, and travel. Her writing regularly appears in Liquor.com, Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast, and beyond. She is based in Toronto and holds a Wine & Spirits Education Trust Level III qualification.