The Julep Strainer is a here again gone again bar tool. With the renaissance in mixology this nifty strainer is making a comeback!
The first mention of the Julep strainer appeared in Louis Fouquet’s 1896 book Bariana; but that was more a star like shape than the strainer we know today. But here's something to laugh at, there's a story from the 1870's that says that the Julep strainer was used by customers who had long beards and the strainer prevented ice build up in ones beard. If this is true, how funny is that! Hahahah!!! But what we know more today is that the Julep strainer was probably invented to protect peoples teeth from the cold drink and the ice build up. Either way it has evolved and for some it is their "go to" and for other it has its special place.
The Julep strainer, as we know it today, goes back in time to the early 19th century when ice became widely available. At first, barmen of the era used Tea strainers to separate your cocktail from ice in your coupe or old fashioned glass. You ask, what's a Tea strainer? It's a rudimentary slotted spoon used more often in the cooking of poached eggs; mainly removing them from the hot water. When the man behind the stick started to use them they took on the term of "ice spoons". The next generation tool was the invention of the Julep strainer.
As cocktails evolved and people became more sophisticated, the use of the strainer went from a handy drinking device to a bar tool. This leads us to 1881 where H.C. Alden filed a patent for a flat mesh strainer that covered the rim of a glass and through slotted holes liquid could dispense. The problem with his design was that it couldn't fit on all glasses. It was until the Hawthorne strainer, that flexibility was created. Once, again the Julep strainer picked up dust at the bar.
Cocktail strainers are a key bar tool and you can't go wrong with either one. Heck, some people never use them at all! If you need a good strainer click HERE.