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Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or a novice bartender just starting out, the craft of making cocktails is not only about the ingredients you use, it’s also about the tools at your disposal.
Among these essential tools, cocktail strainers stand out as fundamental to the creation of smooth, clean, and delicious drinks for your guests.
They help ensure your drink isn’t watered down or filled with unwanted pulp or shards of ice. In other words, they help deliver the perfect drink every time, which is why every bartender needs a set.
In the fast-paced world of bartending, the perfect cocktail strainer can be as varied as the cocktails themselves, which is why I’ve put together a comprehensive list of the 7 best cocktail strainers for bartenders.
From the traditional Hawthorne and Julep strainers to the practical and versatile fine mesh strainers, I’ve covered them all in this post.
Your toolkit can be the make-or-break factor in crafting the perfect cocktail, and the strainer is an essential piece of that kit.
So let’s upgrade your game and find the perfect strainer that suits your style and your needs.
1. Complete 3-piece Bar Strainer Set
When it comes to cocktail strainers, each type has its own unique function and performs best for different tasks. Therefore, it’s important to be equipped with one of each strainer to ensure fully equipped at all times.
This comprehensive set comes with all three different types of strainers (Hawthorne, Julep, and Fine Mesh) which are all commonly used to craft cocktails.
Having all three in one set means bartenders are equipped and prepared to make a wide range of cocktails and handle any task that presents itself.
The strainers are designed by a career bartender with the needs of working bartenders in mind. This means the design considerations take into account the practicalities and challenges of bartending, making them more suitable for professional use.
Each strainer is made from high-quality stainless steel 304 and reinforced welds, making them resistant to warping, bending, rusting, or breaking. This is particularly important in a high-volume bar setting where the tools are subjected to heavy use.
All strainers have rounded handles that are designed for comfort and ergonomics, which can help reduce hand strain and wrist stress.
They’re also dishwasher safe which makes them easier to clean and safe for use in both home bar and commercial bar setups.
You really can’t go wrong with this full 3-piece strainer set, which is why it’s our top pick and most recommended product when it comes to cocktail strainers.
2. Stainless Steel Hawthorne Strainer
If you’re not in the market for a full set and perhaps only need one strainer, it’s likely a Hawthorne strainer that will serve you best while working as a bartender.
These intuitive and easy-to-use strainers are perfect for beginners or pros. This strainer by ABarAbove features a tightly-coiled spring that effectively keeps fruit pulp and ice shards from making their way into the final cocktail.
It’s made from high-quality, food-grade stainless steel 304 with a polished mirror finish. The strainer body measures 129 mm x 99 mm, and the high-density spring is approximately 20 cm long when removed from the strainer.
This strainer is standard-size and fits in most industry-standard cocktail shakers, mixing glasses, and pint glasses.
It’s also available in three different colors; Stainless Steel, Gold, or Antique Copper. As you would expect, it’s dishwasher-safe for all home and commercial dishwashers. However, if the strainer is made of copper, hand washing is recommended.
If it’s a Hawthorne strainer you’re searching for, this is a great option. It’s high-quality, easy to use, kind to the eyes and a great price at $16.99.
3. Stainless Steel Julep Strainer
A Bar Above, the company behind this product, is a husband-wife team who are dedicated to helping bartenders excel in their craft.
With a decade of experience in the hospitality industry, they design, manufacture, and sell professional-grade bar tools, aiming for the highest quality and durability.
Their Julep strainer is no exception. It’s a top-of-the-line bar tool that has been crafted specifically with the needs of bartenders in mind.
It’s made with the highest quality stainless steel (304), ensuring its durability and longevity. The strainer is designed with an eye-catching polished mirror finish, and its dimensions are 160 mm x 75 mm.
With an ergonomic design, it’s comfortable to hold and made to ensure that it doesn’t cause stress in your wrists after prolonged use.
Again, this strainer is dishwasher safe which makes it easy to use, and is available in three colors: Stainless Steel, Gold, or Copper.
If you’re a bartender that regularly uses a mixing glass and creates drinks such as Martinis, Manhattans, or Old Fashioned, it’s likely that you’ll want a Julep strainer as opposed to a Hawthorne.
These strainers fit mixing glasses better, so consider the type of cocktails you make regularly and how often you find yourself reaching for the mixing glass.
4. Stainless Steel Fine Mesh Strainer
Sometimes you’ll need a double-strain, which is where the fine mesh strainer comes in to thin out the mixture and remove any slivers of ice that may have slipped through your Julep or Hawthorne strainer.
This strainer uses ultra-fine mesh that is sure to catch any remnants of ice or fruit pulp. It is made from durable stainless steel 304 with a polished mirror finish, ensuring its longevity and visual appeal.
The strainer comes in two sizes:
- Large: 255 mm long with a mesh piece 10 cm in diameter
- Small: 255 mm long with a mesh piece 8 cm in diameter
Fine mesh strainers can sometimes be less durable than others, but not this one. The ABarAbove fine mesh strainer is ridiculously durable as the handle is double-welded.
Whether you’re crafting cocktails behind the bar or serving up tea to your beloved Grandma, this fine mesh strainer has got you covered and won’t let you down.
It has the color options of Stainless Steel or Gold and comes packed neatly in a gift box that is perfect for birthday presents to friends or family members.
5. Kovini Cocktail Strainer Set
This Kovito cocktail strainer set is a versatile and comprehensive set that is ideal for both experienced bartenders and beginners.
The set includes three essential cocktail strainers: a mesh conical strainer, a Julep strainer, and a Hawthorne strainer. Everything you need for straining behind the bar!
One of the standout features of the Koviti Cocktail Strainer Set is its quality. All pieces in the set are made from food-grade 304 stainless steel, which ensures they will not leak, break, bend, or warp.
This means that the Koviti bartender kit will remain a fixture on your bar for many years. Moreover, it is designed to help you create drinks made from a wide variety of liquors like Whiskey, Tequila, Gin, Rum, Brandy, and more.
When it comes to maintenance, the Koviti Cocktail Strainer Set is easy to clean. All the parts are completely dishwasher safe, and they are also easy to clean by hand.
Simply rinse with warm water and soap, and the cocktail strainer set will be gleaming once again. If you’re considering this set as a gift, it makes for a great present.
Whether it’s a wedding, birthday, housewarming, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day, this cocktail strainer set makes a thoughtful and practical gift. It’s perfect for your loved ones, friends, or anyone who enjoys crafting delicious cocktails.
6. OXO Hawthorne Cocktail Strainer
This Hawthorne strainer is perfect for bartenders on a budget and those that want a strainer that does the job it’s made for without breaking the bank.
The OXO strainer is made of durable stainless steel, a material known for its robustness and longevity. This material effectively strains ice, fruit, and other elements from your drinks, resulting in smooth cocktails.
Comfort is a key feature of this product, with a soft, non-slip finger rest and a comfortable handle designed to allow for a natural, effortless pour. This design reduces the strain on your hand and fingers, making it easier to create cocktails for extended periods.
Perfect for bartenders working in busy establishments. The raised lip on this strainer prevents liquids from dripping, ensuring a clean and mess-free bartending experience.
As you would expect, this product is dishwasher safe, providing an easy and convenient cleaning solution.
It’s certainly not the most premium product on the market but it does exactly what it says on the tin and all for a very reasonable price.
7. Homestia 4-prong Hawthorne Strainer
This is one of my personal favorite strainers as it has a 4-prong design that allows for leak-free pouring.
With dimensions of 6.5″ in length and 4.7″ in width, it’s large enough to fit a variety of Cobbler shakers, Boston shakers, and most mixing glasses.
The 4 prongs allow it to be precisely and firmly positioned on the shaker tin, fitting snugly and enabling easy one-handed pouring.
This martini bartending strainer is made from high-end, 304 food-grade stainless steel, which is both safe and healthy for home bar use.
The material features oxidation and corrosion resistance and is mirror polished, providing a nice shine.
This strainer retains its quality over time, making it a long-lasting addition to your barware. However, it’s important to note that it’s not dishwasher safe and should be rinsed with water for cleaning.
The premium structure of this drink strainer features star patterns and a tightly wound spring. The unique holes and perfectly spaced coils keep out small ice chips, lemon seeds, or any fine impurities, ensuring a smooth taste for your drinks.
The strainer also has a ridge in the handle to prevent slippage, and it can be easily pressed with an index finger when pouring.
One of the special features of this strainer is the removable stainless steel spring, which not only makes cleaning easier, but also allows for it to be placed in the shaker alone.
This is particularly useful when shaking wines containing egg whites and cream, as it results in a more delicate foam.
the product comes with a warranty, and the company offers unconditional returns in case of any issues with quality or function.
They also provide 24-hour customer service for any queries or concerns.
What To Look For In A Cocktail Strainer
Selecting a cocktail strainer might seem like a straightforward task, but the best bartenders know that choosing the right one can make a significant difference in the quality of their cocktails.
Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a cocktail strainer:
Cocktail strainers should be made from sturdy, rust-resistant materials. Stainless steel is the industry standard due to its durability and corrosion resistance. Some models also come with a rubber or silicone grip for extra comfort and a more secure hold.
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Type of Strainer
There are three primary types of cocktail strainers: the Hawthorne, the Julep, and the Fine Mesh strainer. Each has its specific uses.
- Hawthorne Strainers: Characterized by their flexible, coiled spring that fits various shaker and glass sizes. They’re great for straining shaken cocktails.
- Julep Strainers: These have a large, round, perforated bowl shape. They’re typically used with stirred cocktails and are ideal for larger chunks of ice and fruit.
- Fine Mesh Strainers: These are excellent for straining smaller particles like seeds or herbs. They’re usually used in conjunction with Hawthorne or Julep strainers for an extra level of filtration.
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Ease of Cleaning
A good strainer should be easy to clean either by hand or in the dishwasher. You don’t want to spend unnecessary time scrubbing leftover pulp or seeds from your strainer.
Comfort and Grip
Depending on the volume of drinks you make, you might be holding your strainer for extended periods. Therefore, a good grip that’s comfortable for your hand is essential.
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Size and Fit
The strainer should fit well with your preferred shaking or stirring equipment. You wouldn’t want to be mid-pour and have your strainer slip, creating a mess and potentially ruining your cocktail.
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How do I choose a cocktail strainer?
When choosing a cocktail strainer, consider your typical cocktail preparations. Hawthorne strainers are ideal for shaken cocktails and varying shaker sizes, while Julep strainers work well with stirred drinks and larger solids.
For finer filtration, opt for a fine mesh strainer. Prioritize durable, rust-resistant materials like stainless steel. Comfort is key, so look for a design with a good grip. Opt for strainers that are easy to clean and have robust construction to ensure longevity.
Which cocktail strainers are best for bartenders?
The Hawthorne strainer stands out for its versatility and flexible fit, ideal for various shaker sizes. Whereas the Julep strainer is a preferred choice for stirred drinks and straining larger solids. The fine mesh strainer is the go-to for those seeking ultra-refined filtration, ensuring every cocktail is free of minute particles.
Each has its unique strengths, and the choice depends on the bartender’s specific needs and the types of cocktails they commonly prepare.
I’d recommend a Hawthorne strainer as well as a fine mesh to ensure you can cover any drink that’s requested of you.
What is a three-piece cocktail strainer?
A three-piece cocktail strainer, often referred to as a cobbler shaker, is a type of cocktail shaker that has a built-in strainer.
It consists of three parts: the shaker tin (the largest part where the ingredients are mixed), the lid with a built-in strainer (which allows for easy pouring of the drink while keeping ice and other solid ingredients inside), and a smaller cap that covers the strainer holes when shaking the cocktail.
Do bartenders need a cocktail strainer?
Yes, a cocktail strainer is an essential tool for bartenders. It serves the critical function of separating the mixed drink from solid ingredients like ice, fruit, or herbs.
This results in a smoother, cleaner cocktail and ensures that the drink isn’t watered down or filled with unwanted debris.
Whether making stirred or shaken cocktails, bartenders of all levels will find a cocktail strainer invaluable for crafting high-quality beverages.
If you’re serious about your bartending game then you cannot go without a cocktail strainer. No ifs or buts.
I hope this post has helped guide you in finding the best cocktail strainer for you.
Whether you opt for the versatile Hawthorne, the robust Julep, or the finely-filtering mesh strainer, the perfect tool is out there to elevate your cocktail crafting to new heights.
Remember, your choice of strainer can significantly impact the quality of your cocktails, so consider your needs carefully. If you’re unsure, you can’t go far wrong with our top pick.
With the right cocktail strainer in your arsenal, you’re well-equipped to create smooth, delicious, and professional-quality beverages that are sure to impress.
Be sure to check out our other buyer’s guides to ensure you’re equipped with the latest and greatest bar tools that will keep the drinks flowing in style.