The Art of the Shake: Shaking the Perfect Cocktail

There’s a bit of finesse that needs be summoned to make an excellent cocktail.

There’s a bit of finesse that needs be summoned to make an excellent cocktail.

Do you remember the first time you ever made coffee? It was probably something you had seen a parent or friend do a hundred times: pour water in the machine, put coffee in the filter, press ‘brew’, drink. Having seen it done a few times, you might of thought, “Oh, that’s easy. I can do that.”

But how did that first cup of self-brewed coffee taste? Probably a little on the strong or weak side. You suddenly realized that there’s a bit of finesse that needs be summoned to make an excellent cup of coffee.

In a similar way, anyone can shake a cocktail. We all just take it for granted, never even thinking twice that there might be an art to the process. But once you learn how to properly shake a cocktail, you’ll find that there’s more to the action than you would have ever thought.

Raspberry and Lemon Martini

Raspberry and Lemon Martini

How to Shake a Cocktail

This isn’t the end-all be-all of cocktail shaking methodology, but it’s worked for us:

  1. The first step in shaking a cocktail has nothing to do with shaking a cocktail. (Very Zen, yes?) Your first order of business is to prepare any garnishes that might be needed post-shake. You don’t want your perfect shake to be lost because you then have to spend 3 minutes rinsing mint leaves or slicing limes.
  2. Next, add ice to your cocktail shaker. Generally, we recommend 5-6 ice cubes per drink. (And, yes, you should always mix drinks one by one. But that’s just our idealism.) Ice helps chill the shaker prior to the actual alcohol and cocktail mixes going in.
  3. Which brings us to: add your alcohol, cocktail mixes, etc.
  4. Put the lid on your cocktail shaker, ensuring a tight, waterproof seal. There’s no need to force the lid on so tightly that you’ll have to pry it off with some tool. You’re shaking a cocktail here, not canning preserves for a fallout shelter.
  5. Shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds. Shake with enough vigor that the ingredients are thoroughly chilled. (There’s no need to shake with such passion that all of the ice cubes crack into slivers and shards, thereby diluting your drink.)
  6. Remove the cap and slowly strain your cocktail into the appropriate serving glass. Remember to always hold onto the lid with at least one finger so that you don’t end up with a martini deluge on the kitchen counter.

Looking for a great cocktail mix as you make gourmet drinks at home? Try Amoretti Lemon Drop Martini Cocktail Mix.

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