To Shake or Not to Shake… And Perfect Cocktail Shaking
Why it is important to shake accurately?
A cocktail is a drink, usually an alcoholic one, made by mixing two or more drinks together, says Cambridge Dictionary. So, can’t we just mix the ingredients and enjoy our cocktails? Do we really need to have a shaker to make our cocktails at home? What is the importance of cocktail shaking?
There are many reasons why we need to shake the ingredients of a cocktail accurately before serving. Not all cocktails are shaken, some are stirred but that is something different you can read about here.
Firstly, not all ingredients are kept in a refrigerator and shaking your cocktail with ice is the best way of chilling it. Depending on the amount of drink you’re mixing, you need to fill your shaker with enough ice to chill your cocktail.
Important note: You’ll see lots of videos or recipes putting the ice in the shaker before and then the other ingredients. Especially if you’re new to homemade cocktails, it’s important that you put the ice last, not first!
When you start making cocktails, you’ll understand why I make here an important note. Organisation skills are vital for mixing and if you are not fast enough, you’ll end up with a shaker of melted ice. You really don’t want that =)
Secondly, stirring will never give you the result of shaking the cocktail with all your strength. Some ingredients will have very different density and texture, therefore shaking is the best solution to have a smooth mixture. Also, recipes with more ingredients need shaking.
Other facts for the importance of shaking cocktails is dilution and aeration. I believe that these will give you an idea about why fresh-made cocktails always taste better than ready-made ones. Frothy cocktails like Espresso Martini like to be shaken well.
Tips for perfect cocktail shaking
- No harm to repeat that add ice the last, not the first.
- Fill your shaker with lots of ice, just at the level of your drink is fine.
- Shake your drink on a horizontal line, not vertical.
- Keep your shaking time depending on the sizes of the ice you use. Small ice cubes will melt quicker than large ones and they will make your cocktail watery.
- Prefer metal shakers to glass ones to have your drink colder and benefit from the lightness of the container. No glass breaking is a bonus for clumsy people like me =)
- Pour your mixture in the serving glasses as fast as possible to keep the coldness and aeration at the highest level when served.
In the end, like many other things in your life, you’ll find your own balance, system, technique and whatever you need to enjoy the most of it. Hope all this information will be useful for you and please let me know your comments and techniques in the comments.