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Properly straining a cocktail

Believer it or not, depending on the cocktail, there is a correct way and very wrong way to strain a drink. Regarding if the cocktail is mixed in a mixing glass or shaken, these are the techniques to use.

Let's start with the type of strainers commonly used

There are several types of bar tool strainers used in cocktail making. Some of the most commonly used ones include:

Hawthorne Strainer

This is the most common type of strainer used in bars. It is a metal strainer with a coiled spring around the edge, which fits snugly into the top of a mixing glass or shaker. The spring helps to strain out ice and other solids while allowing the liquid to pass through.

Julep Strainer

This strainer is typically used for straining cocktails that are stirred or muddled directly in the serving glass. It is a perforated metal strainer with a handle that is placed over the top of the glass to strain out ice and other solids.

Fine Mesh Strainer

This type of strainer is often used for double straining cocktails to remove any small particles or pulp. It is a small, handheld strainer with a fine mesh screen that can be placed over a glass or shaker to strain out finer impurities.

Straining Terms

Dirty Dump

This term means the cocktail is literally dumped directly into the glass with ice from the mixer or shaker. It may then be topped off with fresh ice if need be. But no strainer is used.


Usually this means the use of a Hawthorne or Julep strainer while pouring over fresh ice (if its on the rocks) or into a glass with no ice, preferably chilled, Ice chips and perhaps small bits of ingredients added to the mixture is acceptable.

Double Strain

When a drink is double strained it is because you are wanting to keep out any small bits of non liquid ingredients you added as well as any ice chips that may have occurred from mixing / shaking the cocktail. You pour while straining through a Hawthore or Julep strainer into a fine mesh strainer (hence the term "double strainer"). This just about keeps the drink as clear of any physical elements except the actually cocktail as possible.

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