Cocktail Strainer Buying Guide
A cocktail strainer is a popular bartending tool that is used to strain out ice and other solid materials such as fruit bits from the drink as it is poured into the glass. They are also called bar strainers. Bartenders use the strainer after the drink has been mixed or shaken in the cocktail shaker. Using the strainer will remove the things that should not be in the glass when it is served. Having the right cocktail strainer can make a big difference in the quality of your mixed drinks.
Types of Cocktail Strainers
There are three main types of cocktail strainers; the Hawthorne, the Julep and the Fine Mesh. Each type of strainer has its own best uses. To have a fully functional bartending experience you will want to get all three strainers, but when you are just getting started, you can do really well with just the Hawthorne which is what our top three choices above are. Below, we have listed the three different kinds of strainers available and provided you with information about what to look for with each type.
Hawthorne Strainer – The Hawthorne strainer is used anytime a cocktail has been shaken with ice. The coils can be adjusted to how fine you want the straining process to be. Hawthorne strainers have a flat piece of metal that is perforated and lined with a large spring coil that catches ice and other solids as the liquid is poured through it.
The Hawthorne is named after a popular brand that made bar strainers. It is the most popular type of cocktail strainer that is found in most bars professionally and at home. Most experienced bartenders feel the Hawthorne strainer is the best choice since it can be adapted to different sized tins and cups and is the best choice for speed as well.
Another benefit to this type of strainer is that it is inexpensive. A couple of drawbacks to the Hawthorne strainer is that is can be difficult to clean if there are fruit bits and other solids stuck in the spring, and the spring can be damaged if care is not taken when cleaning it.
Comfort, durability and quality should be at the top of the list of considerations when looking for the perfect strainer for your needs.
Julep Strainer – This bar strainer looks like a giant spoon with holes in it. The original use for this type of strainer was to hold it over a glass of Mint Julep that had ice in it, so you didn’t end up with ice touching your teeth or ending up in your face as you took a sip.
Nowadays it is used to get the ice out of the glass before the drink is served. In many ways the Julep strainer can be looked at as the first drinking straw of sorts.
It is fairly easy to use and could be a good choice for beginners who are learning to strain the ice from their mixed drinks.
It is not used as often as the Hawthorne but there is still a place for it in the bartending tool kit. It does take a little longer to use the Julep strainer than it does the Hawthorne.
Fine Mesh Strainer – The mesh strainer is used in bartending but can also be used to make tea which is why it is also sometimes called a tea strainer. This strainer is constructed of fine metal mesh that can strain out even tiny pieces of pulp from the liquid.
It is often used a long with the Hawthorne as a double strainer. The liquid passes through the Hawthorne first and anything left is filtered out by the fine mesh strainer. If you are making a drink with an egg in it, you will definitely want to use a mesh strainer.
It is the perfect strainer to help aid the Hawthorne or Julep strainer and will help you produce super smooth drink without a trace of anything but liquid in it.
Learning to Use a Cocktail Strainer
If you are new to making drinks, you may think that using a cocktail strainer is very complicated but it is a relatively easy tool to use once you get used to doing a couple of different things with your hands at once. There are many things you can do to learn how to use your cocktail strainer to make drinks quickly and easily.
The idea is to fit the strainer over the shaker or mixing glass and pour the liquid out of the shaker while holding the strainer over it. The liquid pours through the strainer and into the glass free of ice and any bits of fruit or stuff in it.
It may feel like you are fumbling at first but keep practicing and it will become second nature to use the cocktail strainer in conjunction with the shaker and serving glass.
Creating the perfect cocktail can be a challenge without the proper tools. This is why it is important to choose the perfect cocktail strainer for all your drink making needs. With all of the choices on the market, it can get confusing to decide which ones are high quality and which will break the first time they are used, especially if you are just starting out on your drink making journey.
Using the proper cocktail strainers will help you produce drinks with the ideal consistency, feel and flavor. There is a big difference in a drink that has been prepared without a cocktail strainer and one that has been poured through the strainer. Your friends and family will be very impressed with your drink making skills.
Whichever strainer you want to get started, the main thing to remember is to look for a cocktail strainer that is well made, resistant to rust or corrosion, and from a reputable company known for producing quality bartending tools.
The information in this buyer’s guide has been provided to help you understand the different cocktail strainers available so you can decide which one or ones you want to add to your own bar. Now that you know what each type of strainer does and how to use them, you can make a decision as to the best type of strainer for your needs and preferences.
- OXO – https://www.oxo.com/
- HIC – http://www.hickitchen.com/
- True Fabrications – http://www.truefabrications.com/