If James Bond has taught us anything – apart from how to bring down bad guys and bed hot chicks without ever getting a hair out of place – it is that there is a massive difference between a shaken drink and a stirred drink. Now, 007 does not like a stirred drink, that much we know; but that really does beg the question: Is ‘shaken’ really any different (or any better) than ‘stirred’?
As it turns out, there are actually pretty clear guidelines about when to shake or stir a drink. The very basic bartending doctrine is that stirring is appropriate for spirit-only drinks, while anything containing a mixer should be shaken…unless, of course, the mixer is carbonated, in which case shaking would be a bad, bad move. Naturally, this casts a bit of a bad light on old Mister Bond, who is clearly being a difficult customer demanding a shaken martini despite the fact that we have just learned that this drink falls firmly into the stirred category.
Why is 007 being so difficult? What happens to drink once it has been shaken? What could possibly be the big deal?
Well. Take out your mixology textbooks, open to page 31478 and it will all become clear.
Firstly, shaking a drink is the best way to ensure that all ingredients are fully integrated. This is particularly important when using components that have the potential to separate, curdle or just generally get a little gross if not combined properly. Think egg, dairy, cream liqueurs or even just slightly thicker juices – stirring won’t get you anywhere with those.
Secondly, shaking can bring on some cool special features, like foam and froth. Not only do these taste nice, they also look good and are somewhat integral to a classic cocktail feel.
Thirdly, shaking will literally chill your drink right out. When you give your all on the cocktail shaker, the ice inside is going to get chipped and become one with your concoction. This has a couple of solid benefits: it makes your drink cooler and, as the ice fragments melt, it will dilute your drink to (ideally) create the perfect balance.
Essentially, like most things in life, ‘Shaken vs. Stirred’ comes down to personal preference and whether or not you are a traditionalist who enjoys following the rules. However, no matter how you like your drinks prepared, Bespoke Barware has the tools you need to make the drink that’s perfect for you – shaken or stirred.