Cocktail Strainers Explained

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From basic mixed drinks to more complex classic cocktails – most drinks that require stirring or shaking will also need to be strained before serving. Quite simply, the purpose of straining a drink is to remove particles such as ice, fruit or herbs after shaking or stirring has occurred – and to halt further dilution. Some strainers have tiny prongs that assist with positioning in the right place on top of the shaker – other styles have no prongs and simply sit inside the shaker. There are three types of strainer that are commonly used: 

1. The Hawthorne Strainer Probably the most recognisable of the three and is often just called a cocktail strainer. It is most commonly used with a Boston tin when straining drinks that have been shaken with things like fruit juice and herbs. 

2. The Julep Strainer The Julep Strainer was traditionally served with a mint julep before straws were commonplace – to prevent the drinker from getting a face full of ice – or mint in their teeth. It is usually used when straining drinks that contain straight spirits that have been stirred with ice in a mixing glass. 

3. The Fine Strainer Usually used in addition to a Hawthorne or Julep strainer – or even a cobbler shaker – Fine Strainers are only required when drinks are served ‘up’ or are shaken with herbs or seeds that need to be removed when serving ‘on the rocks’. 

So explore the different strainers out there – experiment with recipes – and see what type works best for your drink.