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How to Strain a Cocktail


Straining a cocktail is mostly a process of separating the finished mixed drink from the spent ice left in the mixing container.

Using a hawthorn or a julep strainer in combination with a fine strainer, sometimes referred to as being double strained, will separate any juice pulp or seeds resulting from juice being used. With this in mind, a good rule of thumb is to use a julep strainer when making stirred drinks, and a combination of hawthorn and fine strainer when making a shaken drink. A hawthorn strainer has the addition of prongs that all it to be pressed against the tin while pouring.

Using just a single julep strainer on a stirred drink maintains the silky, almost syrupy texture of a Manhattan or martini. If you were to use a fine strainer in this situation it could add unwanted aeration, undoing all the good work up until that point.

A cocktail made with egg, egg white, juice or dairy is often double strained to remove any bits that shouldn’t make the final drink. As these cocktails are normally always shaken, there will be fine chips of ice as a result. For some people these are undesirable as they disrupt the texture or could add extra dilution.

  1. Grasp the tin or mixing glass and insert the strainer, resting a julep inside the tin or glass, or pressing a hawthorn against the tin.
  2. With your thumb on the side of the tin or glass, three fingers the opposite side, and your index finger holding the strainer in place, pour the cocktail through a fine strainer held in your other hand, or directly into a prepared, chilled glass.

The process of fine straining or single straining carries benefits and disadvantages that are well worth coming to your own opinion on. Experiment by making two cocktails and fine straining one, double straining the other. This would work particularly well with a drink containing egg white.


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