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The Hawthorn Strainer: Make More Professional Drinks

A Hawthorne strainer is a bar tool that you will often see in use by professional and amateur bartenders alike. It’s usually used for solid ingredients like fruit, vegetables, and ice. There is an easily removed spring on the inside of the strainer that helps to keep bits of fruit pulp, shards of ice, and other unwanted particles from getting into the cocktail. The spring on the inside of the hawthorn strainer makes it easy to use without spilling anything over the side. 

It can take some practice before using a Hawthorne strainer becomes second nature but once you have mastered how they work, you’ll find them indispensable at your home bar!

Anatomy of the Hawthorne Strainer

There are several components to your standard Hawthorn strainer that make them the go-to strainer for many shaken drinks. 

There is a disc-shaped piece that is perforated with small holes or slits that allow liquid to pass. The coiled spring is attached to the underside and is intended to catch the ice, fruit, or other particles and stop them from entering the serving glass. There is a handle on the side that makes it easy to hold and use, as well as a finger tab to help with “closing the gate”, or pushing the strainer down to the rim of the mixing glass or shaker tin.

There are some other variations of this type of cocktail strainer like the size of the handle, type of finer tab, tightness of the coil, and more depending on their application. Typically you will find Hawthorne strainers are made out of stainless steel but occasionally you might see one made from more durable materials like nickel-plated brass or polished copper alloy as well!

How To: Hawthorn Strainer Edition

The Hawthorn strainer is a little piece of barware that can really come in handy when it comes to cocktails. Follow the steps below and you’ll be straining cocktails like a pro in no time!


  • Add your ingredients to the shaker or mixing glass and shake your cocktail until all elements have combined nicely together.
  • Then take your Hawthorne Strainer and insert it into your Shaker so that the coil fits snuggly around the rim.
  • Strain your cocktail into your serving glass by securing the strainer and the tin with one hand and pressing the finger tab downwards with your index finger to nudge the strainer into position.
  • Gently hold the strainer over the glass and pour your cocktail into the serving glass and add any remaining ingredients including additional ice, or garnishes.

Pro Tip: Hawthorn Strainer Style

There are two different styles of Hawthorne Strainers – the “over-rim” and the “vertical.” The vertical type is best for straining cocktails that have ingredients with a lot of pulp such as muddled mint or berries. It’s also great to use when you want more control over how much ice goes into your drink.

The over-rim style is perfect for everything else! Learn how to distinguish between the types by holding them in front of you, parallel to one another. If they both look like ‘A’ then it’s an Over Rim Style Hawthorne Strainer; if only one looks like A, then it’ll be Vertical Style instead.

Double Straining Your Cocktails

In combination with a fine mesh strainer, otherwise known as a tea strainer, you can sift out the smallest of particles including berry seeds and crushed ice from getting into your cocktail. Using double straining in this way will not take away from your beverage’s consistency or texture and you can be sure that all of those unwanted flavors and specks are gone with just this simple step. 

Want to Learn More About Home Barware?

For more information on the accessories and tools you may need for your home bar, check out our blog for great articles and tips! You can get the details on julep strainers, bar spoons, shakers – plus cocktail recipes and so much more!