Tools of the Trade
Our Resident Bartender’s review of the Poor Man’s Kitchen Kilpatrick Fine Strainer
Anyone who’s ever worked with me knows I’m obsessive with my mise en place. My knives and peelers must be placed in order on the cutting board. My shakers and strainers must be symmetrically lined back up as soon as an order is finished. I’m the girl who will sit at your bar and rearrange coaster stacks to the same height. I’m real fun at cocktail parties.
The plus side of my neurosis is that I’m always looking for ways to cut the clutter and make service more efficient. One afternoon while reading one of my favorite bartender blogs, I was introduced to a new tool that seemed so genius I couldn’t believe it wasn’t already on the market. I had to get my paws on one.
The Poor Man’s Kitchen Kilpatrick Fine Strainer is the market’s first all-in-one cocktail strainer and the lovechild of industry veterans George Carney and Ted Kilpatrick. By incorporating a layer of fine mesh directly onto the familiar body of the Hawthorne, they’ve simplified a two-tool, two-hand process into a one-handed process, resulting in fewer tools to keep track of, less cleanup and more bar space.
I wasn’t the only one intrigued by this mashup that’s “made by bartenders, for bartenders.” After starting a Kickstarter campaign as a pre-order to raise money for the initial production, 853 believers in efficient mixology pledged $41,057 to bring this project to life.
The proof is in the pudding, er, the mojito devoid of mint particles waiting to get stuck in your teeth on your first date. Let me assure you: This bad boy works.
The Kilpatrick strains out those tiny ice shards and herb flecks just as well as our old friend the tea strainer, but where it really excels is with thicker cocktails using fruit purees or egg whites. Straining an egg white drink through mesh is essential in getting that coveted silky froth, but it’s too easy to lose patience with a regular tea strainer. Its cone shape results in a pretty small surface area, leaving a busy bartender to tap endlessly on its edge to coax the cocktail through, wasting precious time we don’t have during Friday’s happy hour.
But when I whipped up a whiskey egg white sour and slapped my virgin Kilpatrick on top of my tin, I was simply able to rotate my hand a little more than usual to utilize the maximum surface area (the mesh plate makes up half of the strainer!), resulting in the speediest egg white strain in my 15-year career. Cleanup is as simple as a rinse under water and a tap or two to knock off any residuals.
It might take making a few rounds before your muscle memory stops telling your other hand to reach for the tea strainer, but soon enough you’ll be using that free hand to pat yourself on the back for purchasing this game-changing tool.
“By incorporating a layer of fine mesh directly onto the familiar body of the Hawthorne, they’ve simplified a two-tool, two-hand process into a one-handed process, resulting in fewer tools to keep track of, less cleanup and more bar space.”
- Briana Rupel, Restaurant Inc. Resident Bartender