Using a Hawthorne strainer is a major part of creating delicious cocktails. This awesome bar tool helps filter out ice and other solid ingredients from your mixed drinks, making sure that they are smooth and consistent.
Today, we have some tips and techniques for making the perfect cocktails with your Hawthorne strainer, including how to use this super easy (and super important) bar tool. We will also provide recommendations for the best Hawthorne strainers on the market and the benefits of investing in high-quality barware.
Gold Hawthorne strainer, copyright A Bar Above

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What is a Hawthorne Strainer?

A Hawthorne strainer, also known as a cocktail strainer or bar strainer, is a tool used in cocktail-making to strain out ice and other solid ingredients from mixed drinks. They are typically made of stainless steel or other similar metals and are essential bar tools for any home bartender who wants to make professional-quality cocktails.

Choosing the Best Hawthorne Strainer

When it comes to choosing the best Hawthorne strainer for your home bar, there are a few things to consider.
The material of the strainer is an important factor, as some materials are more durable and long-lasting than others. Stainless steel is a popular choice for these strainers, as it is easy to clean, resists corrosion, and is highly durable.
Note: All of our A Bar Above strainers are made of durable, food-safe stainless steel and then coated with a polished finish in a variety of colors.
Along those lines, should choose a strainer that is easy to use and clean so you get the most out of your investment. A stainless steel strainer is usually dishwasher-safe (ours are!) for easy cleaning.
Look at the handle of your strainer and make sure it feels good in the hand. Then check out the coils, and make sure they have a tight spring for filtering out herbs, fruit, and ice from your drinks.
Hawthorne Strainer

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Preparing for Straining

Before using a Hawthorne strainer, it is important to prepare your cocktail properly. This includes shaking or stirring your ingredients with ice to chill and dilute them. Once you’ve done this, you are ready to strain your cocktail through the strainer.

How to Use a Hawthorne Strainer

Filtering cocktails through this strainer is one of the most important parts of making drinks at home. Here’s how to use the Hawthorne strainer:
  1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass with ice and your cocktail ingredients.
  2. After shaking or stirring your cocktail in its given receptacle, hold the Hawthorne strainer by the handle with one hand, and place it over the opening of the shaker or mixing glass with the coil facing down.
  3. Use your other hand to hold the shaker or mixing glass securely, and tilt the container to allow the liquid to flow out into your cocktail glass.
  4. Pour the liquid slowly through the strainer and into your serving glass, using a twisting motion to help catch any ice or solids that may be in the cocktail.
  5. Continue to pour until all the liquid has been strained, and discard any debris caught in the strainer.
  6. Once finished, remove the Hawthorne strainer from the shaker or mixing glass, and set it aside to be rinsed.
  7. Serve and enjoy your perfectly-strained cocktail!



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Practice makes perfect when using a Hawthorne strainer, and it may take a few tries to master the technique, but it really is pretty easy. With time, you’ll get the hang of it and become a master at straining cocktails like a pro bartender.

Techniques for Perfect Cocktails with a Hawthorne Strainer

There are a couple of techniques you can use to ensure that you create the perfect cocktail with a Hawthorne strainer.
  • Consider the type of cocktail you are making and choose the appropriate strainer. For example, a mesh cocktail strainer might be needed for a drink that requires extra filtering. This would be used with the Hawthorne strainer in a technique called double-straining. A julep strainer, on the other hand, is typically used with a mixing glass.
  • Experiment with different straining techniques, such as pouring the cocktail through the strainer slowly or at an angle, to achieve the desired consistency.
Stainless steel Hawthorne strainer with holiday cocktail

Hawthorne Strainer, Copyright A Bar Above


Recipes That Utilize a Hawthorne Strainer

Many classic cocktails require the use of this strainer, especially any drink is shaken in a cocktail shaker, including the Margarita, Sidecar, and Whiskey Sour. When making these cocktails, be sure to use the proper straining techniques to ensure that your drink is smooth and debris-free.

Investing in High-Quality Bar Tools and Barware

Using high-quality bar tools and barware, including a Hawthorne strainer, can significantly enhance your home bartending experience. Investing in the best bar tools will not only improve the quality of your cocktails but also make the process of making them easier and more enjoyable.
Straining a cocktail with a Hawthorne strainer in a bar

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A Hawthorne strainer is a really important tool for any home bartender. It allows you to filter out ice and other solid ingredients from your mixed drinks, so it’s kind of a must-have! When choosing the best cocktail strainer, consider factors material, ease of use & cleaning, and durability. Experiment with different straining techniques to achieve the desired consistency, and use it in combination with other strainers for an enhanced presentation and taste.

About Melanie Tornroth

A former English teacher, Melanie optimistically embraces the struggle that is work-from-home parenthood as the in-house writer for A Bar Above. When not responding to “Mom” and writing articles for ABA, she also runs Goodnickels Photography, loves to cuddle her cats, and is perfecting the art of keeping her pandemic “fermentation babies” alive.