Elevate your at-home bartending skills with these 20 fantastic items

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/08/21/elevate-your-at-home-bartendin.html


One thing none of these sets offer, but which makes a world of difference to the pleasure of mixing a good drink, is a combination of a glass stirring pitcher and a julep strainer which fits it perfectly for a one-handed pour.

It took me a lot of trial and error to find a pitcher which is not too thick or too thin but generally feels nice, and a julep strainer which fits it perfectly. (Forget hawthorn strainers. Julep strainers are just better.) but once you get a perfect combination, it’s just lovely.

Well the full load of crap is about $1200, which is pretty low-rent as bling goes. Blong perhaps.

But if you aim to impress, its like food, you’re supposed to actually consume it, not just show it off and play with it. That’s what gives you those killer social skillz and makes you funny, attractive, and masterful

Mixing glasses are a standard bit of bar kit, and legit ones should fit other standard bits of bar kit out of the box.


Just no. The only advantage to a julep strainer is it’s a little easier to clean, and they take up less space in storage.

Even the schmanciest cocktail guys I know basically just use them for show and because they blow through so many strainers at a clip. But they still need Hawthornes.

Juleps don’t strain as well and there a lot of things they won’t strain out of. They’re especially prone to letting ice chips out of shakers. The way it took you a long time to find a vessel that worked with one is their prime drawback, they just don’t like to stay in place. Even on things they’re designed to fit.

The best strainer set up at home is a Hawthorne and a fine mesh strainer.

The fine mesh strainer is definitely key if you want to filter out small ice chips after shaking, whether you’re using a hawthorne or julep or just holding ice with the shaker. But for stirred drinks that’s not an issue, and for shaken drinks the shaker plus a fine mesh strainer works great.

I’m much happier with my julep strainer now I’ve found one that fits my mixing glass perfectly. It’s finicky to get the fit right, but once you do, the way it locks in place is very satisfying. But sure, a hawthorne strainer is a lot easier to get a good fit with. Just sharing what makes me happy.

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This is specifically what a Hawthorne is designed for. The mesh strainer is mostly for finer things like fruit pulp, bits of herbs, and seeds. Though obviously it can be suppliment juileps and minimal straining from a shaker.

The issue is that the Hawthorne can do whatever the julep strainer can, typically better. It’s one tool that can do both. If you have a julep strainer, you still need a Hawthorne. If you have a Hawthorne you don’t need a julep.

Julep strainers were originally meant to be placed over the serving glass, and poured through. Same way you use the mesh strainer. In the before fore times you would hold back the ice with a spoon, much the way you use a julep today. They were also used for things like pouring over sugar cubes, like an absinthe spoon. That’s the one thing they do a Hawthorne doesn’t.

Issue being such use today is entirely about presentation. And while the julep is “fine” for stirred cocktails with large solid ice (despite the name do not try it with crushed or pebble ice). They don’t do much else. For cocktails containing anything besides liquor, and already clear mixers. Your breaking out the mesh or using a Hawthorne anyway.

15ish years behind the bar left me allergic to that sort of clutter. I don’t even like jiggers. Fine measurements involve too many god damn jiggers. A well calibrated free pour is faster and just as accurate. Now that I’m out of practice small measuring cups work better than jiggers ever did.

I just can’t abide excess tools. They create mess, slow you down, and deprive you of control.

For me, it’s about which one makes me smile when I’m using it. The julep strainer does that. The hawthorne works fine - maybe better, as you say - but I don’t derive as much pleasure from using it.

To each their own, of course!

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Maybe I’m hopelessly warped by having done this for a living. But i get smiles out of mis en place and efficiency.

I’ll happily show up early to set up a cocktail station for a friend’s party, and have more than once spent the whole time posted up there teaching people how to do shit the right way.


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