We know that there are often two types of “shaking” that involve cocktails, the one that happens before the drink is served, and the one that occurs a little later out on the dance floor. But we’re going to talk about the shaking that happens behind the bar! (Although, technically, it does happen on the bar as well, but anyway…).
Over the past couple of weeks on the blog we’ve covered which cocktails you should stir, and how you should stir them, so we thought we’d give the limelight back to most bartenders’ favourite method of combining ingredients – shaking! So, we’re going to look at what you should shake and how you should shake it.
As we’ve mentioned before on the blog, the general rule is that you should shake drinks with cloudy ingredients such as fruit juices, egg white or cream. These ingredients can be difficult to incorporate into a drink so require a more vigorous action than stirring. Shaking also thoroughly chills the drink and gives it a rich texture.
Now, let’s get shaking! First, you’ll need a Beaumont shaker (because if you’re going to shake it, you should shake it with style). Next, the ice. The harder the ice the better. You’ll need enough ice to fill up anywhere between ½ and ¾ of your shaker.
Put your ingredients into the smaller part of your shaker and put the ice into the larger part. You can then tip out any excess water that may be in with the ice. Pour out your ingredients into the larger part, combine the two parts and (if you’re using a shaker that requires it, e.g. Boston Can) smack down on the smaller part to make sure it’s wedged in.
There’s actually a lot of room for creativity when it comes to shaking, everyone can have their own style. But the general principle is the same, you want to flick the ice from one end of the shaker to the other so that it flies through the ingredients and hits the other side of the shaker. This means that, however you shake it, the shaker should be horizontal with the smaller part closer to you for maximum safety and control.
Remember, shaking should be a vigorous action, and as Harry Craddock famously said in The Savoy Cocktail Book, you’re trying to wake the cocktail up, not rock it to sleep! You should also keep in mind that there are 3 main kinds of shakes. A super short shake (a simple one-two) will chill a shot, a short shake of 5 seconds works for most juice-based cocktails, and egg white or dairy cocktails could be shaken until you can’t shake anymore! However, it’s not an exact science. The length of a shake varies between bartenders. Egg-whites should always be kept apart from the other ingredients until just before shaking.
Once you’re done shaking, hit the top part to allow it to pop out so you can pour your drink. Don’t rush this part, there’s lots of liquid that can get left behind so make sure to get every drop. Depending on what you’re shaking up, you will likely need a strainer, you can find Beaumont’s extensive range here.
Now you’re all set! If you can’t impress your friends by shaking it on the dancefloor, now you can wow them with a more sophisticated and skilful kind of shake!