Whether you’re using a shaker’s built-in strainer, a Hawthorne, or a Julep strainer, straining a cocktail is not a difficult task. But none of those strainers keep out the extra debris that result from shaking or stirring. For example, you can end up with little bits of ice, pulp, etc. in your drink because they slip through the strainer and into the glass. While most people don’t mind this, I will tell you that they do effect the taste of the drink as well as its presentation.
That’s why I always double-strain my cocktails. Double-straining requires the addition of a conical strainer, which uses fine mesh to filter out all the debris that can alter the look and taste of your cocktail. Do you need to do this? No. Does it make that big of a difference? Absolutely.
To double-strain, shake or stir your cocktail, put the Hawthorne strainer on your shaker or pint, hover the conical strainer over the receiving glass, then pour (strain) the cocktail over the conical strainer. The mesh will catch all the extra bits that would otherwise make it into the drink.
I recommend that you prove to yourself the value of the double-strain. Make a cocktail that you need to shake, then single strain it into a glass. Make another one, and double strain it into another glass. You’ll immediately notice the differences in the appearance. The double-strained cocktail will have a distinct clarity that the single-strained cocktail won’t, and it won’t contain any bits of ice or citrus on the top. Then taste both. The double-strained cocktail won’t suffer from those extra bits that alter the flavor and mouth feel. You’ll find that once you start double-straining, you won’t go back.
So grab your shaker and favorite cocktail recipe, put my words to the test, and…