How to Double Strain a Cocktail

Wave goodbye to watery Mai Tais and flat Gin Fizzes.

If you’re diving into the world of home bartending, a few minutes of leafing through your friend’s favorite cocktail book is often enough to make you feel overwhelmed by obscure-sounding terminology. Inscrutable jargon—like “throwing,” dry shaking, or “flaming” your garnish—gets thrown around for those in the know. Unfortunately, most people give up there and resign themselves to a life of expensive, professionally-made cocktails.
 
To clear things up a bit, we put together a guide to one of the most commonly-used (and poorly-explained) bartending techniques you’ll come across: double straining. It’s pretty simple to learn, but it can make a big difference in both the texture and flavor of your cocktails.
 
First, when and why should you double strain a drink? The most straightforward answer is that you should do it any time you have little bits of an ingredient—citrus pulp, egg white, muddled mint, tiny shards of ice, that sort of thing—that you want to keep out of your finished product. Double straining simply adds a second, finer strainer to the process, catching stuff that would otherwise slip through a larger Hawthorne or Julep strainer.
 

To double strain a cocktail, you’ll need to add a fine mesh strainer to your home bartending toolkit. They’re usually attached to a handle and are either conic or hemispherical in shape. Make sure to check your kitchen before you run out and buy one; they’re pretty common tools that might just be hiding somewhere in the back of a drawer.
 

Once you’re done shaking your drink, place your Hawthorne strainer over the mouth of the shaker tin as usual. Then, holding the mesh strainer over your serving glass, pour the cocktail out of the tin and through the mesh.
 
Usually, the mesh will get somewhat clogged by whatever it was you were filtering out of your drink, and some of the liquid will get caught in the strainer. To get it out, simply use the bottom of your shaker tin to tap the rim of the strainer a few times. This also helps to create a nice, visible layer of foam on top of the cocktail—which looks great on drinks like sours and fizzes.
 

After that, simply garnish your cocktail and serve! You’ve now mastered an essential trick for any bartender, home or professional, so you can say goodbye to watery Mai Tais and flat, headless Gin Fizzes.

Does this technique have you going cuckoo for clarified cocktails? Get your strain on with these suggestions from our friends at Bevvy:
 • Daiquiri: the classic, the Hemingway, and the pool-side interpretations
 • Mai Tai: light the torches because this tiki classic is shameless perfection
 • Orgeat Syrup: the almond-flavored essential for all your tropical cocktail needs
 

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