Shaken vs. Stirred: We Know How to Make a Cocktail the Right Way
While 2005 was a momentous and historical year for many reasons, one often overlooked development in the film industry changed the course of how martinis are ordered the world over. In “Casino Royale,” a relatively young James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, ordered the Vesper instead of his traditional vodka martini. When asked if he wanted the cocktail shaken or stirred, he replied, “Do I look like I give a — ” He, umm, declined to answer the question. But for the first time in the history of Bond films, the British spy didn’t order a “vodka martini, shaken not stirred.”This cultural disruption leads us to the all-important question: which drinks should be shaken and which should be stirred. Being the cocktail aficionados we are, we took a deep dive into the two techniques.
The Difference Between Stirred and Shaken
Mixologists will use both techniques to mix the ingredients, but they have different effects on the cocktail. Stirring a cocktail mixes and cools the components as they pass over the ice. The liquid ingredients gently swirl and combine.
Shaking speeds up the process. The liquids mix rapidly inside the cocktail shaker while absorbing some of the water from the ice, which is why water is rarely added to shaken drinks. The shake also aerates the liquor and ingredients, making them appear cloudy. The process is much more efficient when preparing multiple cocktails, but that shouldn’t be a factor in the shaken vs. stirred decision. The taste should be the final arbiter.
What Drinks Should Be Shaken?
While you can always stir a little longer if you don’t have a cocktail shaker handy — a cocktail shaker is an essential piece of barware, so make sure you get one — drinks with complex ingredients are generally shaken. Anything that contains dairy products, heavy liqueurs, fruit juices, syrups, or sour mix, should probably be shaken to ensure top-to-bottom consistency. Here are a few of our favorite shaken cocktails:
Apple Pink Lemonade
This refreshing summer drink combines delicious Crown Royal Apple Whiskey, our homemade strawberry syrup, and locally-sourced fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Shake the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into an empty glass and garnish with a wedge of apple. Don’t put your shaker away because it will be time for the second round of Apple Pink Lemonades in no time.
If the martini has a rival, it is the Classic Manhattan. At Sourced, we let you pick the whiskey — Bulleit Rye, Johnnie Walker Black, or Crown Royal — because they all taste amazing and each creates a slightly different interpretation. Add sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters to your shaker with a scoop of ice and shake away. Then pour into an empty martini glass. The traditional garnish is a cherry skewered with a toothpick floating in the glass.
Blueberry Gin Tea
We provide you with a bottle of Tanqueray London Dry Gin and a blueberry-based cocktail syrup that we source and mix locally. Measure out the ingredients with the jigger we send with your kit into a shaker full of ice, give it a thorough shake, and pour it into an old fashioned tumbler or into one of our high-quality branded cups (also included). You’ll taste the blueberries and subtle notes of Earl Grey tea. You can serve Blueberry Gin Tea chilled from the shaker or on the rocks.
What Drinks Should Be Stirred?
Most stirred drinks can also be shaken, but the reverse of that is not true. Many shaken drinks should only be shaken. You can usually stir drinks with lighter ingredients since they mix easier. An example of this would be our Lavender Gin & Tonic. The ingredient mix on this signature cocktail — Tanqueray London Dry Gin, tonic water, and flavored ingredients — are light enough to stir in a mixing glass or pitcher.
Tips For Shaking Your Cocktails
Here are a few tips from our expert mixologists for making your shaken cocktails appear picture-perfect.
You may have seen bartenders put a great deal of pomp and circumstance into the way they shake their cocktail shakers. This is mostly for show. The ingredients inside a shaker don’t particularly care whether they’re being juggled in the air or just shaken back and forth. The longer you shake your drink, the more the ice will melt, so give it a few thorough shakes and pour.
Wash Your Shaker When Changing Cocktails
Nothing will ruin a cocktail like uninvited ingredients. Consider the difference between tequila and vodka. If you use your shaker to make a tasty margarita, like our Smoky Mezcal Margarita, and then make a Dutch 75, which contains Ketel One, right after, your vodka drink will taste off. Thoroughly wash your shaker.
Secure the Lid and Cap
Make sure when you put the top of the shaker back on, it fits snuggly. If you also have a pouring cap, make certain it’s thoroughly secured. To ensure that you don’t have a spill, use your index finger to hold down the cap while your hand reinforces the top and bottom. Don’t throw or flip your shaker unless you know you have the right type to do that.
Pour Through the Spout
Most cocktail shakers have a covered spout for convenient dispensing of the cocktail. Line up your glasses or Sourced branded cups, fill them with ice if the recipe calls for it, and pour through the spout. This will help you avoid spills, prevent excess ice from falling into the glass, and it makes for a nice presentation for anyone who’s watching.
Was Bond Right?
So, was James Bond right to ask for his vodka martinis to be shaken, not stirred. Yes and no. Vodka martinis can be shaken or stirred. Other cocktails, like the ones we listed in this article, should always be shaken for the best results. Sourced Craft Cocktails will send you instructions for preparation for any of our home delivery cocktail kits. If you’re having an event, have a trained Sourced mixologist take the guesswork out of the prep. Order Sourced today!