What To Use If You Don't Have A Cocktail Strainer

It's certainly possible to make professional quality cocktails without professional quality equipment — from juicers, peelers, and muddlers to cocktail shakers and strainers — but a bit of ingenuity is often needed to do so. The art of bartending, after all, consists not just in mixing the proper ingredients in their proper proportions, but in finding imaginative ways to overcome unforeseen obstacles. Cosmopolitan's list of creative drink mixing hacks, for instance, include making homemade simple syrup and grenadine, substituting tablespoons for jiggers, stirring cocktails with chopsticks, and using mason jars as stand-ins for cocktail shakers.

Mason jars do make a versatile hack. First We Feast notes that they're also an excellent container for storing leftover wine. But useful as mason jars may be for such a task, or as a stand-in cocktail shaker, it's the cocktail strainer that can pose the most trouble when it comes to finding a suitable workaround replacement or alternative.

An alternative method for cocktail straining

Cocktail strainers are an essential bartending aid, helping to transfer the drink from the container in which it has been mixed — traditionally, a cocktail shaker — to the glass in which it will be served ... all while filtering out elements which have already imparted flavor (like lemons, limes, cherries, or mint). Leaving such items in can certainly affect the enjoyment of drinkers, as getting mint stuck in one's teeth, for example, or sipping liquid through bruised fruit is hardly ideal.

According to the Advanced Mixology, there are three basic cocktail strainers in standard use by professional bartenders. These include the Hawthorne strainer, the julep strainer, and the fine mesh strainer. The former is by far the most popular, and will be instantly recognizable to bar-goers as the strainer typically clapped onto the top of cocktail shakers in your favorite establishments. It's the latter, however, that's most likely to suggest our preferred hack. The fine mesh strainer actually looks quite a bit like a tea strainer, and it is this common household item that NIO Cocktails favors as the cocktail strainer replacement of choice.

Remember, ingenuity is a bartender's best friend. So if you don't have a Hawthorne strainer handy, your tea strainer will work just fine. Just hold it over your glass, and let the tea strainer filter out all but the chilled delicious liquid from the cocktail you've just mixed. Then add your garnish of choice and enjoy. Cheers!