When to shake and when to stir a cocktail?

Published: 12 December 2022

We’ve all heard the famous tagline “shaken not stirred” by Ian Fleming’s James Bond, but do we actually know what the difference is between a shaken cocktail and a stirred one?  

Both have similarities as they’re essentially combining and chilling ingredients, but stirring dilutes a cocktail slowly, where shaking does it faster and also changes the texture.  

If a cocktail is entirely or mostly spirits, you should stir. Stirring blends those ingredients that really work together well, and although a more time-consuming process, it helps preserve the flavours, minimising the amount of dilution and makes for a cocktail where you can really taste the ingredients. It also leads to a near clear cocktail, where shaking offers the opposite. 

Unlike stirring, the method of shaking a cocktail gives you an ice-cold temperature cocktail. Shaking will also aerate the drink, giving it a cloudy appearance. If not strained, you will often see ice chips floating around from being aggressively shaken. Cocktails that should be commonly shaken are ones that contain dairy, cream liqueurs, fruit, juices, eggs, or sour mix. 

A common rule of thumb is to shake if there's citrus, stir if there's not. Two very great methods, creating a diverse range of cocktails. Put your tests to skill and try out these classic cocktails. 

Related posts

6 Great Books for Beginner Bartenders


6 Great Books for Beginner Bartenders

Here are 6 great books that will help better prepare yourself as you start your bartending career in hospitality.

We acknowledge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of the lands where we live, learn and work