Call it double straining, or call it fine straining. Whatever the terminology, this basic bartending technique is simple: pouring the cocktail through a fine-mesh strainer, as well as the shaker’s own strainer. Doing so removes tiny seeds and herb flecks if you’ve been working with produce, and some bartenders pour out all shaken cocktails this way in order to strain out ice chips.
It’s hardly complicated. But it does take two different pieces of equipment and, unless you’re extremely dextrous, two hands. And at a fast-paced cocktail bar, it’s essential to streamline your work as much as possible. Years ago, industry professionals George Carney and Ted Kilpatrick—then the general manager and beverage director of The Roof at Park South in New York City, respectively—had an idea. Why not combine the structure of a classic Hawthorne strainer and the close weave of a fine-mesh strainer into one tool?
Four years later, Carney has taken the idea and run with it, and the Kilpatrick Fine Strainer is live on Kickstarter, ready for production. It’s an idea so elegant and functional it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been thought of before. “I thought it was genius and that it had to be made,” says Carney. “It was like [Kilpatrick] planted a seed in my head that kept growing.”
Carney, a 10-year industry vet who has worked behind the bar and in management, is also the owner of Poor Man’s Kitchen, which he describes as “a line of beverage syrups geared toward the home cocktail aficionado.” The products are now carried at Dean & DeLuca, West Elm and other specialty shops.
With one foot already in the retail world, Carney saw the potential to create and launch his fine-strainer. “I figured the strainer would be a great way to expand my brand,” says Carney. “And each connection, whether it was with the designers, the factory or the patent attorney, strengthened my resolve.”
Working with a company that essentially acts as a startup incubator, Carney has relied on its expertise in refining his concept and working toward production. Now all that’s left is the funding. “The Kickstarter is being used as a preorder to fund the first round of production,” he states on its page. “Everything is ready to go at the factory; they just need to get paid in order to start.”
Up since mid-February and very close to its $25,000 goal, the Kilpatrick Fine Strainer has gotten quite a bit of early attention and support, largely from the beverage industry. “The great majority of backers have been industry folks, and that’s exactly who my target audience is,” says Carney. “So I’m grateful they are behind the product and understand the need for it.”
So why has no one thought of this before? “Bartenders can get so caught up in drinks and the act of making them that they don’t see beyond it,” says Carney. “The focus tends to be solely on improving drinks. But when you shift your focus, you’ll see so much opportunity.”