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How to control - but not eliminate ice shards

 Warning: this is just an early thought process of a technique I like to develop. Obviously you can use it (please at least give me credit) - but this is not yet a proven concept. You have been warned. 

I think it was in the “DIAGEO World Class” competition in Dubai several years ago (well - it feels like a life before - it was for sure before the pandemic...). We attendees were warned, that Simon Difford, who ought to be a judge, expects of all participants to double strain their cocktails - and that he would definitely deduct points, if a bartender would not double strain!

I find these stance bewildering. Especially of a person who further dilutes cocktails (Simon Difford’s  original recipes often includes water) - which not only never really caught on, but really is a very strange thing. Don’t get me wrong, when I am in a jury and a bartender would do something unusual, I would also raise my eyebrows, unless the bartender is doing it deliberately and is explaining why is her doing his specific procedure (and: no b.s. please)!

You can probably already predict, where I am going with this: I like ice shards in my drinks. It gives a cocktail a really cool texture and an experience: this small fractions of ice are melting on your tongue and have a physical effect. It is similar to small (non-painful) needles pinches. It makes often a drink more exciting. 

Now for all hard-shakers out there, there is thought a problem: When I am shaking hard and long (how shaking supposed to be), my cocktails become not only very cold, but the “un-double-strained” cocktail becomes almost to a slushy (at least for a part). Not only does is “slush” the effect, but it also further dilutes the drink. 

My current solution for it is, to partly double-strain the drink. This partly solves the issue - but there is still the issue, that some of the ice shards are so fine, that they immediacy melt (either way in the glass, when the guest is waiting for a bit too long - or in the mouth - mostly even without “tongue-contact”. And there might be not enough perfect sized ice shards - and eventually there might be too big ice pieces which escape from the hawthorne strainer, which are “crunchy” but wouldn’t be seen as professional in a bar. 

What is the perfect solution? 

A triple strainer: a strainer which has 3 coarsenesses of material. 

First of all: I don’t like to bring it to you, but stainless steel strainer are not great. I know, I know, they look professionally. But stainless steel is first of all not totally non-reactive. There is still a fraction, which can slightly react to high acids (e.g. lemon and lime) and e.g. egg white (who-ever still uses egg-white *sigh). Maybe more importantly: ice is melting on thermo-conductive material like stainless steel- hence especially very fine ice shards are partly directly melting back into the drink!

I usually prefer strainer made out of a silicone material.

WXJ13 3 Pieces Plastic Nylon Mesh Strainer Colander with Handle, Kitchen  Double-Ear Fine Mesh Strainer for Baking Kitchen Strainer(3 Inch, 5 Inch, 7  Inch) : Buy Online at Best Price in KSA -

I know, that a lot of people think, that they are cheap (and they are). But nothing is as non-reactive as this material. And I will probably use the silicone mesh but would choose a stainless steel rim and handle (which would look better and professional). And then I would choose to make the silicon mesh replaceable - which would be really ideal. 

 Second: Use a system of three strainer combined within one - and have them with 3 different strainer coarseness. So the top strainer mesh is coarse (and prevent to thicker pieces of ice to get into the drink. the second strainer has a mesh, which stops the perfect size of ice shards, and the lowest strainer is very fine and prevents all the super fine “slush” to get into the drink. 

Procedure: so you are double straining the drink with the combined 3 mesh strainer and then disassemble (big word for taking just the three combined strainers apart) and add some or all of the ice shards of the middle strainer back in the drink. 

What do you think of my idea? Would love to get your feedback. 


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