Using a cocktail shaker is much more than just a cool-looking way to mix a drink. It actually performs several important functions:
- Shaking with ice helps chill the mixture before pouring it into in a glass, so it’s ready to drink and doesn’t melt the ice in the glass as quickly.
- Shaking with ice also helps bruise or crush any herbs or other aromatics that you have added. This process helps release oils and other flavor-intense elements to produce a better-tasting cocktail.
- Most shakers have a built-in strainer in the lid that helps keep your drink neat by preventing the larger chunks of ice and ingredients from getting into the serving glass.
- Shaking also helps incorporate thicker liquids into the mixure more effectively, such as fruit juices, dairy products, egg, etc., producing a smoother cocktail. (Try my mai tai and see for yourself!)
Because all of the recipes in this section use various aromatics that will benefit from this process, shaking will generally be preferable to stirring. (Stirring is thought to be a better approach for some spirits considered more delicate, like gin and whiskey.) If you don’t yet have a cocktail shaker, purchase one that’s high quality and feels good in your hands, and shake it, baby!