Shaking vs. Stirring

Shaking vs. Stirring

At Death & Co, we’re strong proponents of learning by doing — that is, by activating not just your brain, but also your body and senses. Before starting a project — and certainly before you can get good at something — you must comprehend it and understand its purpose. Then, with practice, you’ll gain fluency and mastery of  techniques. 

Knowing what cocktails should be shaken vs. stirred is a simple example of understanding, then doing. Keep this quick guide in your back pocket when thinking about your next round of at-home cocktails. 

If a cocktail has any fruit (citrus or otherwise), egg, or cream, it should be shaken—vigorously. These ingredients are usually very viscous and must be integrated into the drink with a good deal of effort. Conversely, if a cocktail is mostly spirituous—with vermouth, bitters, or small amounts of sugar or other modifiers—it should be stirred.

Another way to look at it is through the lens of intention. With a shaken drink, you’re looking to agitate and “liven up” the ingredients by creating lots of tiny air bubbles, which results in a light layer of froth on top of the drink and a slightly effervescent texture. When stirring a drink, you want to integrate the ingredients without adding any air bubbles, resulting in a texture that’s smooth and silky over the tongue.

Excerpted from Death & Co Welcome Home, available here.

(Photo credit: Dylan & Jeni)

This letter was sent from the Fellows at Death & Co

Since its opening in 2006, Death & Co has been a must-visit destination for serious drinkers and cocktail enthusiasts, and the winner of every major industry award.

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