The best strainer for making horchata (and anything else)

All-Clad stainless steel strainer
The All-Clad stainless steel strainer, which has a superfine mesh basket, is perfect for straining out bits of rice for a smooth horchata.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

You see the directive in so many recipes (including our own): “Pour through a fine mesh strainer.” If you don’t have a strainer, you should, because it is an indispensable piece of equipment for serious and aspiring cooks. You’ll use it more than you think.

When it comes to filtering out all the rice and bits of canela from water to make horchata, you want a superfine mesh strainer that will make the smoothest agua fresca for the least amount of work. My go-to is the All-Clad stainless steel strainer because it’s tough enough to hold up to the most brutal tasks while being fine enough to filter everything but the pure liquid I’m after. In addition to straining out rice and bits of canela in your horchata, you’ll use it to strain out tiny raspberry seeds from homemade jam and sharp, chunky animal bones from chicken stock. You’ll use it as a spider to fish out short pasta one day, then use it to dust a cake with powdered sugar the next. The wire basket never warps or wavers, and the flat handle on the end gives it stability when pouring over a pot or sink. It will last as long as your pots and pans, thus earning its spot as a workhorse in your kitchen.