I own a small library of books on the subject of bartending. Some of these books are geared toward the professional bartender, while others are written for the home mixologist. But regardless of the intended audience, almost every book I own heartily recommends that we use paring knives for cutting fruits and garnishes. The Art of the Bar, The Joy of Mixology, The Craft of the Cocktail, Larousse Cocktails, The Bartender’s Black Book, they all say the same thing: that a 4-inch paring knife is the right tool for the job.
But for my money (and the safety of my hands), there’s no better knife than a nine-inch, serrated, offset-handled sandwich sword.
Forever used in sandwich shops and delis, the sandwich sword is the neophyte’s knife that can turn on a dime in the right hands with just a little practice.
See, I don’t trust small knives. They’re vertically-challenged, which means that the height of their blades is short, so cutting requires razor-sharp precision. And that’s something I don’t always have during the middle of a busy Friday night, if ever. Let’s face it, wet hands and a sharp knife are kind of a scary combo. And the offset silicone handle is easy on the the hands and knuckles.
Another reason I prefer my knife to theirs it that a four-inch blade doesn’t work well with larger items like pineapples and grapefruits, so those fruits end up coming out looking butchered. And for the few that have ever worked with me, you know how particular I am about my garnishes. Sloppy angles, dented fruit and torn peels are a thing of the past with the old sandwich sword. My garnish trays are always full of fresh fruit with crisp, clean edges.
Citrus peels are often thick and sometimes full of grit, which will dull a blade quickly. But my sandwich sword is serrated, so it keeps a usable edge for longer. I can still straighten the edge with a steel I keep behind the bar, but once it’s passed a certain point I don’t mind throwing it out and getting a fresh one. They’re only ten bucks.
Am I the only one out there who uses a monster like this? Let me know in the comments.