What is a Cocktail Strainer?
Simply put, a cocktail strainer is a bartending tool used to filter out solid materials (such as ice and fruit seeds) from the liquid in the making of a drink. Also known as a bar strainer, the cocktail strainer is typically used after a drink has been shaken or stirred to remove the ice, fruit or other solids that shouldn’t find their way into the resulting cocktail.
Types of Cocktail Strainers
There are three primary types of cocktails strainers but which cocktail strainer is best? the Hawthorne Strainer, the fine mesh strainer and the Julep strainer. Each strainer has its own advantages and disadvantages, it really depends on what type of cocktail you are putting together:
Covered in our History of the Hawthorne blog and properly the most recognisable strainer, the Hawthorne strainer features a flat, perforated piece of metal which is lined with a flexible spring that catches ice and other solids. Named for a once-popular brand of bar strainer, the Hawthorne is the most popular type of cocktail strainer in both home and professional bartending.The Hawthorne strainer has both strengths and weaknesses depending on your situation, including:
Also worth considering are comfort, durability and ease of cleaning – all further strengths of the Hawthorne design.
The professional strainer is a version of the hawthorne design, as you will see below. Here at Beaumont we have been manufacturing and supplying barware for many, many years and over that time we have realised that the Hawthorne strainer, as good as it is, could do with a few little tweaks. So working with bartenders and industry professionals we came up with the professional strainer. With a higher quality finish, a different ‘ear’ design, and a superior spring for finer straining the Professional Strainer would always be our choice.
As covered in our ‘Behind the Julep Cup & Julep Strainer‘ blog, the Julep Strainer emerged in the mid-1800s to help cocktail enthusiasts avoid a face full of ice when enjoying their Mint Julep. Believe it or not, the Julep Strainer can be considered the precursor to today’s drink straw.With a bowl-shaped cup perforated with small hole and has a long handle, the Julep Strainer is designed to be easily held over a mixing glass. Once placed over the glass, the strainer is held with the help of a depression when the bartender can apply pressure with their finger.
Although it’s not seen as frequently, the Julep Strainer is a good for most applications:
Fine Mesh Strainer
Hawthorne Strainer vs. Julep Strainer
There’s always been some debate about which is better, the Hawthorne Strainer or the Julep Strainer. In our opinion it’s not much of a question; while each has its strengths and weaknesses, cocktail strainers are so inexpensive that you should buy one of each. However, if you’ve got to pick only one it will depend on your situation:
Julep Strainer for the Beginner
Hawthorne Strainer for Most Flexibility
Fine Mesh Strainer for Seriously Smooth Drinks
No matter if you’re using a Julep or Hawthorne strainer, sometimes they simply don’t remove all the pulp, ice chips and collateral damage created by bartending. So it’s the Fine Mesh Strainer to the rescue! Simply pass the liquid through the second strainer (as you can see above) to ensure that you’re created a drink that’ll be smooth as a baby’s bottom.Whatever your choice, pick one and you’ll find that you’ll have your straining technique established in no time.