Mixing cocktails can be far more than just a way to combine ingredients; it can rise to an art form. As with any other art form, there is plenty of room to take liberties in creating something that satisfies you, the artist. However, there are always guidelines and best practices.
So, do you know how to mix cocktails like a pro using basic bartending guidelines? Find helpful mixology tips and the answer to the age-old question – to shake or stir? – here below.
Shake up your drinks with fruit juice, dairy and mixers
Though the subject of mixing cocktails will always have its share of differing opinions, a fairly common rule is that if a drink features fruit juice, sour mix, syrup, eggs or dairy, you should shake it in a shaker with a fair amount of cubed ice. The shaking action draws water out of the ice to help balance your finished drink and helps thoroughly combine ingredients of varying density and viscosity. The result is a perfectly emulsified and aerated drink.
Popular shaken drinks include the Daiquiri, Tom Collins, and Whiskey Sour.
Fizzy drinks: To shake or stir?
The short answer here is, yes and no. When mixing multiple-mixer drinks that call for fizz (club soda, cola, etc.), you may want to combine and shake any other ingredients first and only then add the soda. Shaking up carbonated beverages in a shaker with ice and other ingredients may degrade the bubbles through over-handling. A refreshing Peach Bellini should never be shaken, for example.
Stir things up with traditional cocktails
While shaking drinks with mixers makes sense, the opposite holds true for cocktails featuring mostly alcoholic ingredients and perhaps a very light mixer. When James Bond called for such a cocktail, he may have given himself an unforgettably cool catch phrase, but he also may have given entire generations the wrong idea about how to mix cocktails containing mostly spirits such as vodka or gin.
According to widely accepted rules of bartending, a proper Martini is stirred to avoid bruising the liquor. Of course, sometimes you just have to break the rules to suit your needs, so order accordingly. Other stirred drinks include the Manhattan,
Build your way to an easier drink
A drink that is built in its own glass is the cocktail equivalent of a one-pot casserole: simple, efficient and, unless something has gone very wrong, incredibly satisfying. Built drinks offer the benefit of eliminating shakers or strainers and allow you to simply layer ingredients right in the serving glass. Just add the ingredients and ice in the order listed in the recipe to ensure balance. Voila!