How to Stir a Cocktail

Jamie demonstrates the proper way to stir a cocktail.


Berkana 3 Apr 2009
2:00 am

Hello Jaime,

You explained that one should stir the drink when using clear ingredients, but you didn’t explain why stirring keeps the drink clear. I understand that shaking incorporates more air, but the air should bubble out after shaking, and any air that absorbs into the drink (akin to carbonation) shouldn’t affect the transparency of the drink any more than carbonating a drink affects transparency—which is not at all. Could you do a side-by-side demo using the same ingredients to show the effectual difference between stirring and shaking?

Also, how can you tell when a drink has diluted enough? I’ve seen folks stir the Old-Fashioned for 3-5 minutes while adding ice claiming it needed to dilute enough, and I’ve seen others stir briefly, claiming that alcohol lowers the melting point of the ice and dilutes pretty rapidly to begin with. How can you tell how long is long enough without sampling the drink all the time the way Chris Doig (from does?

Berkana 3 Apr 2009
2:05 am

A follow-up on my previous comment:

I pondered this problem a bit, and I think I figured out a potential answer to my own question about how shaking might cause a drink to cloud up. The air won’t bubble out quickly enough to pour clearly if the drink has any viscosity because shaking would form ultra fine bubbles that remain suspended and slowly bubble out over an hour or so, while forming foam in some cases.

None the less, a video side-by-side demo to show the difference between stirring and shaking would be nice.

Robert Hess 3 Apr 2009
4:22 am

Yes, you’ve basically answered part of your own question in that some ingredients “hold their air” more than others. A “extra dry vodka martini” (ie. no vermouth), will clear up pretty quickly if you shake it, but a properly made dry Martini (ie, gin, with plenty of dry vermouth), will stay cloudy for quite a while. In my seminars, I typically will serve a stirred martini, and then promptly put it into a cocktail shaker and shake it, which clearly shows the difference. This is something you can easily do at home. Either a martini or manhattan works well for this experiment.

As for dilution… it basically comes with experience. In a drink like the Old Fashioned, it is less criticall to get it diluted enough, since the drink is served to the customer with ice, and if it is not quite diluted enough for their tastes, they just stirr it a little more. Typically, the perfect dilution occurs at the same time that the perfect chill is delievered.

Nik 6 Nov 2009
11:48 am


I was wondering where you got your barspoon and mixing glass (looks like a laboratory beaker to me)


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