When You Don't Have Proper Cocktail Mixing Tools, Grab A Slotted Spoon

Mixology may feel like an inaccessible craft, often intertwined with fancy cocktail bars, elaborate drink preparations, and cryptic names. Yet, at its core, it's simply the creation of a tasty drink, so feel free to shake such ostentatiousness and start tinkering in the kitchen.

You don't need to invest in a full bartending setup either. Sure, a cocktail shaker is a helpful start, but kitchen tools you likely already own can stand in for other tasks. For a two-in-one function of straining and muddling, turn to a slotted spoon. The handle, especially if it has some heft, can extract the oils in muddled ingredients, like mint in a mojito. It can also mix components, like sugar, whiskey, and bitters, in an Old-Fashioned.

Plus, those slots in the spoon work for straining, stopping those large chunks of ice after a round of shaking. While it won't quite replicate the coil of a Hawthorne strainer, it'll stand in for a Julep-style strainer. As a result, this tool will mix tremendously, crafting many cocktail rounds.

Use a slotted spoon to muddle and strain drinks

While the kitchen utensil certainly works, it's not a flawless replacement, so compensate by sticking to particular drinks. Cocktails that require a fine strain aren't well suited; the slots won't capture small particles, like pieces of spices or fruits. It's also best to avoid egg white or aquafaba sours, too. The spoon will diminish the drink's smoothness since it won't stop small shards of ice.

However, the utensil functions well with stirred cocktails. In slings like negronis or Manhattans, simply stir the liquors with the spoon and then use holes to strain out the large chunks of ice. It'll also get the job done for drinks served over crushed ice since the strain technique isn't as discernible.

For example, in the case of a mint julep, the slotted spoon can be used for muddling and straining. And if you're looking to reduce technique, consider cocktails where stirring is only required in the final serving vessel — like in a Moscow Mule. With such considerations, the lack of a bartending strainer will not be noticed.