The cocktail strainer is an essential tool in professional bartending. Like a sieve, it only allows liquid to pass leaving any unwanted fruit pulp and ice behind.
To strain, you'll need a cocktail strainer, naturally, and a couple of types are available:
Hawthorne strainer—so named for a once-prominent brand name of such strainers (rather like the way Kleenex is often used as a generic for facial tissue). A Hawthorne strainer consists of a flat disc to which is affixed a coiled spring. The spring traps large chunks or slivers of ice and other solid ingredients, such as muddled fruit or mint leaves.
Julep strainer—so named because it was originally meant to serve mint juleps. In the years before the drinking straw was popularized, the julep strainer allowed a drinker to quaff a julep without getting a faceful of crushed ice and mint. Imbibers held the ice and mint back with the strainer while sipping the julep. A julep strainer consists of a perforated bowl-shaped cup with an attached handle.
How to Use a Hawthorne Strainer
What you'll do:
Place the strainer over the glass or shaker's opening with the drinks you wish to strain.
Next, you have to push the tab down to close it. This allows you to double strain your cocktail.
Lastly, you have to slowly pour the cocktail through the strainer into the serving glass.
How to Strain Using a Julep Strainer
What you'll need:
Mixing glass full of cocktail
Chilled serving glass
What you'll do:
Place the julep strainer in the glass, with the bowl of the strainer "cupping" the ice, like a bowl placed upside down.
Grab the glass near its rim, using your dominant hand. Using your index finger, hold the strainer against the ice. Lift the mixing glass, tilt it over the serving glass, and pour.
A cocktail strainer is a simple and humble bar tool, but it can make all the difference in the world, especially if you want to produce a perfect pour and an excellent overall quality cocktail every time. Here’s our recommendation: use a Hawthorne strainer for shaken cocktails and use the Julep one for stirred cocktails.
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