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How to Shake a Cocktail


Shaking a drink is perhaps the most recognisable of all techniques utilised by bartenders.

The technique is used for all drinks containing egg, egg whites, dairy and citrus juice. As with stirring, the idea when mixing a cocktail this way is to ensure it is fully mixed, chilled and diluted.

Shaking is a process that is violent enough to integrate ingredients that would not be mixed any other way. A result of this process is also a beautifully aerated drink with a noticeable difference in texture. However tricky shaking might look, it has been proven that given you have a few variables right the actual technique doesn’t matter all that much. Make sure you have good quality, dry ice, shake long and hard enough and you can make a drink just as good as your local bartender. 

  1. Add your cocktail ingredients to the smaller of your shaker tins, starting with syrups and juices first, this way if you make a mistake you only discard the cheapest ingredients. If using egg, or egg whites it is good practice to put these in separate tins to avoid the juice curdling the whites. 
  2. Add ice to the larger of the tins, this ensures you don’t spill or splash the liquid in your tin. Fill the tin at least 2/3rds of the way. Either pour the liquid into the larger tin over the ice, or quickly up end the larger tin over the smaller one. The tins should create a straight edge down one side, this is important to be able to separate them after shaking. Lightly seal the tins by gently tapping on the bottom of the tin. They do not need to be forced.
  3. Hold the tins with your dominant hand on top and your non-dominant on the bottom, making sure the largest tin is on the bottom. This is a precaution that means if the tins do become undone whilst shaking, the liquid will spill over the shaker, not the guest.
  4. The idea of shaking is to force the liquid from one end of the tin to the other, passing through the ice. Try and use a wide range of movement to allow this to happen.
  5. Shaking hard, keep this going for 10 – 12 seconds. Given you are shaking hard enough, after this amount of time the cocktail will be chilled and diluted to the correct amount, shaking for longer will create any changes.
  6. Separate the tins by hitting the base of your palm about an inch below where the tins meet.
  7. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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