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Mastering the Art of Cocktail Straining: Hawthorne and Julep Strainers Explained

The craft of cocktail-making is as much about technique as it is about ingredients. A crucial aspect of this technique is straining, which separates the liquid from the ice, herbs, or fruit pieces, ensuring a smooth, refined drink. Central to this process are two main types of bar strainers: the Hawthorne strainer and the Julep strainer. Each plays a unique role in the art of mixology, catering to different styles of cocktail preparation.

Hawthorne Strainer: The Bartender’s Choice

The Hawthorne strainer is easily recognizable by its distinctive spiral coil. This versatile tool is designed to fit snugly onto a Boston shaker or a two-piece metal shaker. Its main features include:

  1. Spiral Coil: The coil helps to snugly fit the strainer over the shaker, ensuring no unwanted ice or ingredients escape into the final drink.
  2. Versatility: Perfect for use with the Boston shaker, it’s ideal for cocktails that require shaking.
  3. Efficiency: The Hawthorne strainer allows quick and efficient straining, a must in a busy bar setting.

Julep Strainer: Elegance in Simplicity

Unlike the Hawthorne, the Julep strainer is a one-piece tool without a spiral. It is:

  1. Historically Significant: The Julep strainer is one of the oldest types of strainers and has an elegant, classic design.
  2. Optimized for Mixing Glasses: It fits particularly well into most mixing glasses, making it ideal for stirred cocktails.
  3. Aesthetic Appeal: The Julep strainer adds a touch of elegance and tradition to the cocktail-making process.

When to Use Each Strainer

  1. Hawthorne Strainer: Ideal for shaken cocktails, especially those with muddled fruits, herbs, or crushed ice. It’s the go-to strainer for drinks like Margaritas or Mojitos.
  2. Julep Strainer: Best for stirred cocktails that are more spirit-forward and require clarity, like the Martini or the Manhattan.

Incorporating Strainers in Cocktail Recipes

To demonstrate the use of these strainers, here are two cocktail recipes:

Classic Margarita (Using Hawthorne Strainer)


  • 2 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz Lime juice
  • 1/2 oz Triple sec
  • Ice
  • Salt for rimming
  • Lime wedge for garnish


  1. Rim the glass with salt.
  2. Combine tequila, lime juice, and triple sec in a shaker filled with ice.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Use the Hawthorne strainer to pour into the glass.
  5. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Manhattan (Using Julep Strainer)


  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Ice
  • Cherry for garnish


  1. Combine whiskey, vermouth, and bitters in a mixing glass filled with ice.
  2. Stir well.
  3. Use the Julep strainer to pour into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with a cherry.

Read more: In the equipment category, you can learn about the following bar tools and the recipes that can be prepared with them: atomizer, bar spoon, cold dripper, dehydrator, electric mixer, fine grater, ice pick and ice scoop, juicers, knife, lemon squeezer, measuring cup, mixing glass, muddler, shaker, strainer, tea strainer, tongs, and whipping siphon and soda siphon.


Understanding and utilizing the right bar strainers, Hawthorne and Julep, is crucial in achieving cocktails’ desired texture and clarity. Whether shaking up a storm or stirring to perfection, these tools are indispensable in the world of mixology.

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