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How to Use a Julep Strainer: A Mad Men-era Solution for Modern Cocktails

Ah, the julep strainer. The quintessential cocktail bar tool for a true bartender – amateur or professional. The perfect size to fit into a beaker or pint glass, it’s made of stainless steel and has a spoon-like bowl with holes that you use to remove unwanted ice or fruit pulp from your drink. We have so many uses for this classic cocktail accessory these days—let us show you how to put it to work in your own home bar.

If you use julep strainers, you know how hard it is to keep the darn thing balanced on top of your shaker or mixing glass while draining. If not then prepare yourself for a nail-biting experience as these things are slippery!


Does anyone remember how to use a julep strainer? We’ve got the 411.

Julep strainers are best used to strain larger bits from your drink, including shards of ice, fruit, and herbs. Similar to a slotted spoon these strainers can be used in the mixing process as well as when drinking. The julep strainer is also used to double as a makeshift bar spoon. It’s like two tools in one! 

We have so many uses for this classic cocktail accessory these days—let us show you how to put it to work in your own home bar:

“BOWL” FACING DOWN

  • Place the Julep strainer in the glass or mixing tin, with the bowl of the spoon “cupping” the ice, like a bowl placed upside down. 
  • With the index finger of your dominant hand, hold the strainer against the ice and slowly pour the liquid over it.

“BOWL” FACING UP

The Europ

  • place the strainer in the mixing glass bowl side up, where the convex surface of the strainer will rest on top of your ice. 
  • Gradually pour the liquid over the julep strainer, making sure to cover as much surface area as possible with liquid.

5 Drinks You Can Make with a Julep Strainer

The appropriate strainer for stirred cocktails – There are a plethora of drinks that can be made with a Julep strainer, so it is always a good idea to have a few on hand in your home bar. Here are just a few of our favorites:

  • Manhattans
  • Negronis
  • Rob Roys
  • Sazeracs 
  • Mint Juleps

Julep strainers come in a variety of sizes, materials, and colors!

It’s easy to see how the julep strainer became a staple in many bars. Built for bartenders of all experience levels, it’s an essential tool that makes life so much easier when you are working at speed with multiple drinks or want your customers to have their preferred drink consistency.

This classic cocktail accessory is available from any reputable bartender supply company and can be purchased online or offline depending on what suits your needs best! The spoons come in different sizes, materials (stainless steel), colors, designs – even textures!

Interesting Factoid: Prior to the invention of modern dentistry, these spoons were used to hold back the crushed ice from drinkers’ sensitive teeth.

Now that we know the basics, let’s put it to work in your own home bar.

Our blog has tons of great articles on home bars that can be applied whether or not you’re entertaining guests. From cocktail recipes that are perfect for summer evenings outside with friends and family to tips on stocking up your home bar kit with bar spoons, cocktail strainers including Hawthorne strainers & fine mesh strainers, plus a lot more – it’s all waiting for you there! Check it out to learn more about julep strainers and other essential tools that will make your drink-making experience even better!

If you’re a bartender or cocktail enthusiast, check out our cocktail boxes and virtual cocktail classes!