Mastering Cocktail Making: How to Use a Hawthorne Strainer

If you’re a fan of cocktails, you must have come across the Hawthorne strainer. This piece of barware is an important tool that helps to strain cocktail mixtures, separating the liquid from any solid particles or ice. A Hawthorne strainer is an essential tool that no bartender or cocktail enthusiast should be without.

In this post, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide on how to properly use a Hawthorne strainer, the benefits of using one, and other bar tools to have in your collection.

What is a Hawthorne Strainer?

This type is a cocktail strainer used to separate solids, ice, or other debris from a mixed drink. The strainer is made up of a flat disc with small holes and a coiled spring around the edge. The disc sits at the end of a handle, and the spring allows the strainer to fit securely over the mouth of a shaker or mixing glass.

This is a type of cocktail strainer used to strain out ice, pulp, or other debris from a mixed drink. It is made up of four primary parts, including:

They are typically made from either stainless steel or brass. Stainless steel is the most common material used as it is durable, easy to clean, and resistant to rust and corrosion. Brass Hawthorne strainers are less common, but they offer a classic, elegant look to any bar setup.

How to Properly Use a Hawthorne Strainer

Using a Hawthorne strainer is a simple process, but it is essential to follow a few key steps to ensure that your cocktail is properly strained.

  1. Fill your shaker or mixing glass with ice and ingredients.
  2. Place the strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass with the spring facing down.
  3. Hold the strainer in place with one hand while pouring the cocktail with the other.
  4. Once the cocktail has been poured, remove the strainer and discard any solids or ice that have been strained out.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using a Hawthorne Strainer

While using a Hawthorne strainer is simple, there are some common mistakes to avoid. These include the following:

Benefits of Using Hawthorne Strainers

Using this strainer offers several benefits, including:

Improved Quality of Cocktails

By using this, you can ensure that your cocktails are free from any solids or ice chips, resulting in a smooth and enjoyable drinking experience. The strainer allows for precise pouring, which is useful when crafting cocktails with delicate or layered flavors.

Increased Efficiency Behind the Bar

It helps increase the speed and efficiency of your bar service. By separating the liquid from any solids or ice, you can quickly move on to the next drink without having to worry about any leftover debris in your shaker or mixing glass.

Enhanced Presentation of Cocktails

Its use can also help enhance the presentation of your cocktails. By removing any solids or ice chips, you can ensure that your drink is visually appealing, with a clean and polished appearance.

Other Essential Bar Tools

While the Hawthorne strainer is a vital tool, there are several other bar tools that every bartender or cocktail enthusiast should have in their collection.


Shakers are used to mix cocktails and are available in various shapes and sizes. A shaker typically consists of a metal tin and a smaller metal tin that is placed inside. The shaker is used to mix and chill the ingredients, and the smaller tin acts as a strainer when pouring the cocktail.


Jiggers are used to measure the ingredients for cocktails. They come in various sizes and are available in metal, plastic, or glass. A jigger is used for creating consistent cocktails, ensuring that each drink has the perfect balance of flavors.

Mixing Glasses

Mixing glasses are used to stir cocktails and are typically made of glass. A mixing glass is utilized for cocktails that are not shaken, such as a Negroni or Manhattan.


Barspoons are used to stir cocktails and come in various lengths and styles. They are usually longer than a regular spoon and are made of metal or plastic. Bar spoons are for making cocktails that require stirring rather than shaking.


Muddlers are used to crush ingredients such as herbs or fruit to release their flavors into a cocktail. They are made of wood or metal and come in various shapes and sizes.


The type of glassware you need will depend on the type of cocktails you are making. Some common types of glassware include rocks glasses, martini glasses, highball glasses, and champagne flutes.

Hawthorne strainers are essential tool for any bartender or cocktail enthusiast. By properly using this, you can ensure that your cocktails are free from any solids or ice chips, resulting in a smooth and enjoyable drinking experience. In addition, several other bar tools can help enhance your bartending skills and create delicious cocktails. By investing in quality barware, you can take your cocktail game to the next level.

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