In last week’s blog, we settled the debate sparked by James Bond about whether to shake or stir a Martini. But it got us thinking – choosing the right option is just the beginning – and shaking and stirring are not actually that simple!
Think you know how to use a cocktail spoon like a pro? You might want to think again! Let’s take a look at this surprisingly difficult and subtle art…
As we’ve also covered in this blog in the past, shaking combines ingredients vigorously, fundamentally changing the mixture by aerating the drink. Whereas stirring chills and dilutes in a controlled manner.
The first thing you’ll need is a mixing glass – we have a selection of three here, which all offer practicality and style to the discerning bartender. Ideally, the glass should be chilled before mixing, but we understand that’s not always possible, so you can always fill up your glass with ice and stir until it gets cold.
Then, you’re going to need to select your weapon of choice… we mean spoon! Beaumont cocktail spoons come in different lengths, with different handy accessories such as mashers and forks. The spoon you should use depends on the size of your glass and what you find most comfortable.
Now for the tricky bit! When you’re holding the spoon, you want to hold it near the top – high enough to give you leverage and full control. Grips can vary but most of the time you’ll see practised bartenders with their index and middle fingers on the front of the handle, and their thumb supporting from the back. Then, place your ring and little finger on the back of the spoon (the side your thumb is on) so the spoon is wedged between your fingers, giving you control over its movement. A controlled but fairly gentle grip is what you’re looking for.
Get used to holding the spoon and practice stirring without a glass. The movement is all in the wrist, so get used to pushing and pulling the spoon towards and away from you. You should be trying to work out where the spoon is most balanced in your hand.
Then to develop your technique further, put your spoon in a glass without ice. Move the spoon around the edge of the glass, trying to keep the back of the spoon against the inside of the mixing glass – this will keep the mixing process smooth so you don’t aerate the drink too much. Keep going, gradually getting faster. When you can move the spoon around the glass with minimal clinking noises, you’re ready to mix!
Now you’re all set! With your cold glass, pour in your ingredients, fill it up with about two-thirds ice and stir for any time between 30 and 75 seconds, depending on the drink. The colder and harder your ice is, the better for the drink, as you definitely don’t want your ice cubes breaking up and diluting your flavours!
If only the mixing was as simple as the drinking!