Updated at: 25-07-2023 - By: John Lau

Crafting a flawless cocktail can seem daunting, especially when unfamiliar terms like “Hawthorne Strainer” pop up in your recipe.

Did you know this handy tool originated in the late 1800s and was initially patented as a “julep strainer?”

By breaking down its design, function, and variations, we aim to transform your confusion into expertise.

Ready for an upgrade in your bartending game? Let’s dive right in!

What is a Hawthorne Strainer?

What Is A Hawthorne Strainer (1)

Definition and purpose

The Hawthorne strainer, a staple in the cocktail-making world, embodies functionality and refinement. Stemming from the late 1800s, this tool was named after an esteemed bar owned by Denny P.Sullivan, who held the original patent for what began as a “julep strainer”.

The disk-like design with its distinct handle and stabilizing prongs is employed to sift solid particles such as ice or fruit pieces from mixed drinks before serving.

A snug fit on the rim of your mixing glass or shaker is achieved through a flexible metal spring, ensuring every pour is smooth and devoid of unwanted chunks.

This handy tool enables bartenders and enthusiastic mixologists alike to create well-refined cocktails by channeling liquid through tiny holes while hindering larger solids.

Offering an elevated beverage experience for consumers desiring quality crafted drinks free from jarring fragments.

How it is used in cocktail-making

Here’s how it is used:

  1. Place the Hawthorne strainer over the mouth of the glass or shaker in which the cocktail was prepared.
  2. As you pour the mixture from the shaker into the serving glass, the strainer acts as a barrier, preventing any ice or fruit pieces from entering the final drink.
  3. The small holes in the strainer allow only liquids to pass through, ensuring a clean and well-strained cocktail.
  4. Hold onto the handle of the Hawthorne strainer to keep it securely in place while pouring.
  5. Once you have poured out all of the mixture, remove the strainer from the glass or shaker and set it aside.

Design and Function

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The components of a Hawthorne Strainer

The Hawthorne strainer is made up of several key components that allow it to effectively strain cocktails.

These components include:

  1. Solid, round metal piece: The main body of the Hawthorne strainer is a solid, round metal disc. This disc sits on top of the glass or shaker and acts as a barrier to prevent any large particles from entering the drink.
  2. Metal spring: Fixed around the edge of the metal disc is a metal spring. This spring serves as the primary filter mechanism for the strainer, allowing only liquids to pass through while capturing any solids or ice.
  3. Stabilizing prongs: The Hawthorne strainer also features two or more stabilizing prongs that extend from the bottom rim of the strainer. These prongs are designed to securely hold the strainer in place on top of the glass or shaker during pouring.
  4. Small holes: Located within the metal disc are multiple small holes or perforations. These holes are strategically placed to remove any fine particles from the cocktail mixture, ensuring a smooth and refined beverage.

How it works to strain cocktails

With its clever design, this versatile strainer effortlessly filters out ice, fruit, and other solid ingredients from your cocktail mixture.

The round metal piece with a metal spring fixed around the edge acts as a fine mesh sieve, allowing only liquids to pass through while keeping any solids at bay.

Simply place the strainer over the mouth of your glass or shaker and pour your concoction through it for a refined and elegant finished product.

Whether you’re a professional bartender or an enthusiastic home mixologist, adding a Hawthorne strainer to your barware collection will elevate your beverage preparation game to new heights.

With its steel-finished stainless construction and stabilizing prongs, the Hawthorne cocktail strainer offers both durability and functionality.

It ensures a snug fit on various serving glasses or mixing glasses so that you can seamlessly strain even shaken cocktails with ease.

Different Types of Hawthorne Strainers

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Coiled Spring Strainer

The coiled spring strainer is one of the different types of Hawthorne strainers commonly used in cocktail making.

It features a disc-shaped design with a metal spring fixed around the edge, providing stability and functionality.

When preparing cocktails, this strainer is placed over the mouth of the mixing glass or shaker to filter out ice, fruit, and other solid particles from the drink as it is poured into the serving glass.

With its fine mesh sieve, it ensures that only liquids pass through while preventing any unwanted debris from entering your beverage.

The coiled spring strainer is a must-have bar accessory for both professional bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts alike, allowing for precise and refined drink preparation every time.

Built-In Strainer

The “Built-In Strainer” is one of the different types of Hawthorne strainers commonly used in cocktail-making.

Unlike the coiled spring strainer, this type has a built-in straining mechanism that eliminates the need for an additional separate tool.

It features a series of small holes or slits on one side to allow liquid to pass through while effectively filtering out any solids such as ice or fruit chunks.

This design provides convenience and efficiency in straining cocktails, particularly when using a shaker tin or mixing glass without a built-in strainer.

The built-in strainer ensures smooth and refined cocktails by removing unwanted particles from the drink, resulting in a pristine serving experience.

Bartenders and mixology enthusiasts often favor the versatility and practicality of the Built-In Strainer to effortlessly achieve professional-quality beverages with ease.

Choosing the right Hawthorne Strainer for your needs

Selecting the perfect Hawthorne Strainer for your cocktail-making needs is essential to ensure a smooth and seamless mixing experience.

With different types available, finding one that suits your preferences is crucial.

Firstly, consider the design and functionality of the strainer. The coiled spring strainer features a round metal piece with a metal spring fixed around its rim, allowing for efficient filtration of solid particles from your drink.

On the other hand, the built-in strainer has perforations directly on the cocktail shaker or mixing glass itself, eliminating the need for an additional tool.

Next, think about your specific requirements when making cocktails. If you often concoct shaken drinks with ice cubes or muddled ingredients like fruit or herbs, opting for a Hawthorne Strainer with finer mesh is ideal to achieve precise fine straining results.

Additionally, choosing one with stabilizing prongs ensures a snug fit over various serving glasses without worrying about spills or unfiltered bits.


In conclusion, the Hawthorne strainer is a must-have tool for anyone who enjoys making and serving cocktails.

Its design and function make it perfect for straining out unwanted particles from mixed drinks, resulting in a perfectly smooth and refined beverage.

Whether you’re a professional bartender or just someone who loves mixing up delicious cocktails at home, the Hawthorne strainer is an essential accessory in your barware collection.

So next time you’re shaking up a cocktail, don’t forget to grab your Hawthorne strainer for that finishing touch of perfection.