Let’s be real: there are few things cooler than watching a professional cocktail bartender at work. There are elements of juggling, elements of dance, elements of high-class hospitality…it’s just straight up fabulous. In fact, perhaps the only person to ever shake a cocktail and still look like a total douche may have been Tom Cruise in the abominable film Cocktail – and therein lies the conundrum.

You want to shake some cocktails at your next party – but you don’t want to look like a Cruise doing so. Never fear! We have put together an idiot-proof tutorial on using your Boston Shaker like an absolute pro. Why the Boston Shaker? Because it’s our favourite and, in our personal opinion, looks the best – and we all know that looking good is halfway to feeling good, right?

Step 1 – Load up that Shaker

As it turns out, Step One is already enough to divide the cocktail nation. Ice or liquids first, that’s the question. Now, this one comes down to personal taste only. There is no hard evidence to suggest that one method is more effective or results in a more delicious cocktail. Believe us, we’ve tried…much to the detriment of the office bar and our test subjects.

That said, we like the look of liqueurs dripping over the ice, so aesthetically ice-first is nice. So. Open your Boston Shaker and fill 2/3s of your smaller pint with ice, then use your jiggers to decadently pour your spirits, liqueurs and mixers over the top.

Step 2 – Secure your Load

There is nothing more embarrassing than your shaker coming apart mid-move, so you have to close that sucker firmly. Once your ingredients are measured and ready, place the big pint on top of the little one, make sure it’s on properly and then give it a firm whack with the heel of your hand to seal it well.

Step 3 – Shake!!!!

In this situation, grip is everything. Make sure you’ve got both hands on your shaker, gripping it around the middle so you are effectively securing both pints. Feel free to wipe your hands before so you’re not slippery.

Now – shake! Over the shoulder is a nice move if you’re a beginner. It’s dead simple and still looks super cool, especially if you’re grooving to the background music. Shake for at least 15 seconds or until you feel condensation on the outside of the shaker.

Step 4 – Open Sesame!

Put your shaker down – large pint on the counter – and give the small pint a little smack on the side to break the vacuum inside the shaker. Make sure you keep a hold on the large pint as you do so, otherwise the operation might go sideways in the last moment, which would be decidedly uncool. Then lift the little pint to uncover your masterful creation.

Step 5 – Pour…

All that’s left to do now is to pull out your favourite cocktail strainer and decant your luxurious libation into a suitably fancy glass. If you’re so inclined you may garnish with something tasteful like a single slice of lemon peel or a hand-picked floret of fresh mint. Whatever you do, don’t pull out that paper umbrella you saved from the 80s. It’s a firm no.

Now, go forth and shake things up…like a boss.