My Bar – Shaking VS Stirring

shakerShaking VS Stirring – Bartending 101

Looking through a variety of different recipes online and seeing how many different drinks are prepared we see a handful of different methods on this subject. Many drinks are built in their serving glass and gently stirred, some are blended, some are floated for a layered appearance, and some are shaken.

However what is the major difference in shaking and stirring? If you’re simply going to strain it into an empty glass anyway why shake it at all? Why not just stir and be done?

These are just a few questions I used to have, but since I’ve learned the proper ways I thought it was time to let you in on the science that makes the difference here.

When should I Shake my Mixed Drink?

The time you need to shake a mixed drink is when it contains one of the following:

  • Fruit juice
  • Sour Mix
  • Eggs
  • Creme Liqueurs
  • Simple Syrup
  • Dairy Products

Straining this gives the drink a cloudy appearance that lasts for a few minutes after serving.

Common Shaken Drinks

 Bacardi Cocktail

The Margartia


When should I Stir the drinks?

Most drinks that are light in nature are stirred gently. Distilled spirits such as Whiskey or Gin can be “Bruised” by shaking and therefore it is highly recommended never to shake them. Most cocktails and mixed drinks are stirred however many fruity Martinis are best served in a shaker.

Also never shake carbonated beverages as it will flatten the drink.

Common Stirred Drinks


Rob Roy


How do you bruise alcohol?

Bruising is said to occur when a more delicate spirit is over shaken and its flavor is altered. The most common reasoning given for this is due to the extra water that is added to a drink when chunks of ice break off into the liquor causing it to melt and thus altering the flavor of the spirit. If you are feeling experimental feel free to shake some commonly stirred drinks and see if there is a noticeable difference to you. Afterall, mixology is a fun activity so unless it’s your career don’t take it too seriously, just have fun and experiment.

Where to find cocktail shakers?

You can find a cocktail shaker just about anywhere. Here is a selection of them from Amazon you can check out.

I prefer stainless steel ones over plastic myself, the one I have was about $15 and it is built well and does exactly what I need it to do. This is basically the one I use.

Remember though, just find one you feel comfortable holding or if you are ordering online and not a drink pro I suggest one with a measuring cup cap or a kit that comes with a jigger like this one.


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