Almost all cocktails come with a recipe that tells you to add the ingredients into a shaker and go ahead to shake them vigorously. However, there is much more to shaking cocktails than you think. Here are all the mistakes you’re making when you shake a cocktail and how to avoid them.
Using the Wrong Shaker
A lot of people start their cocktails with a tin and a pint glass, but that unfortunately isn’t the best choice. People are initially attracted to shaking with a pint glass mostly because they can see the ingredients and how they come together.
The problem with that is the pint glass is pretty heavy and it’s hard to crack the seal after shaking. It is best to go for a pair of metal shaking tins which are easier to use and open.
Stainless steel shaker tins are highly recommended, not just because they hold the temperature better, but also because they’re less work as they are not as heavy to shake.
You’re Shaking the Wrong Drinks
Before shaking cocktails, the rule to follow is to ensure that there is juice in it or it’s opaque. The exceptions to this rule are milk or cream or tomato juice.
You’re Adding Your Ingredients in the Wrong Order
Build your drink starting with the cheapest ingredient first and ending with expensive booze. That way, if you get distracted and have to start over, you won’t have to throw out your liquor.
You Forget to Dry Shake
If you’re using egg white in a cocktail, it’s best to dry shake the ingredients without ice. Whether you choose to do this before adding ice or after, it is entirely up to you. But either way, dry shaking froths the cocktail and incorporates the egg white completely.
You’re Using the Wrong Ice
Ice does more than cool down your drink as it rattles around in the shaker. If you’re using ice that doesn’t hold its form as well, it’s not going to aerate your cocktail as well. The ideal ice for your cocktails would be a firm ice cube from a one-inch silicone mold.
Ice straight from the freezer is also preferable to ice that’s been sitting out all evening. As ice sits, it sweats, which adds extra water and dilution to the drink as you shake. You can control dilution more accurately with drier ice straight from the mold. Test it by touching it. If it sticks to your fingers, it’s dry.
You’re Holding the Shaker Wrong
Shaking a cocktail horizontally is more effective than doing so vertically. The motion of shaking up and down is only moving the ingredients together and it won’t provide any type of dilution. It’s also not really aerating the cocktail that well.
You can place your non-dominant hand on the bottom and your dominant hand on top. Keep the tins at 9 and 3 on the clock, and shake over your shoulder away from your face.
For safety, be sure the small tin is facing behind you, away from anybody around. In case, for some reason, the tins should open up, it will get on you instead of your guests.
Not Shaking Long Enough
If you don’t shake it enough or don’t add enough ice to certain cocktails, they can have too much citrus and you will end up with an unbalanced drink. The same goes for any time of cream cocktail.
As such, it is best to shake for at least 10 seconds. Tthis amount of time usually cools the drink to the perfect range between 23 and 18 degrees. As with the amount of ice you use, it’s also better to over-shake than come in under.
If you are however making use of smaller ice, it is best to shake quickly since it melts faster. If you’re using larger cubes of ice, you want to shake slightly longer to dilute properly.