Friday, August 29, 2014

Shaking Techniques


There is a time to shake and a time to stir. Shaking breaks up the ice cubes into the alcohol. It rapidly cools the drink and also waters it down. If you or your guests like to enjoy a cold Martini, by all means shake. Keep in mind that a watered down Martini still contains the same amount of alcohol as it did before shaking but the alcohol taste will not be as strong. Likewise if the drink is very cold, it will also make it harder to detect the flavors. This is a good thing in most Martini recipes because the original Martini was a pretty harsh drink that you’d want to finish before it warmed up.

Stirring Versus Shaking:

Some drinkers really like to taste more of the alcohol. They don’t want to see ice crystals floating on the top of their Martinis or Manhattans. They will request a stirred cocktail—not as cold or watered down, which is called “bruising” A liquor like gin or whiskey is called “bruised” when the flavor profile (the botanicals in the gin or the combination of malt and oak in whiskey) is spaced-out with water. A cocktail that is shaken with too little ice or for too long will be less interesting to a drinker who wants to experience the tightly-packed flavor of a quality gin or the subtly blended whiskey. Usually “bruising” is not a problem with vodka since the point of vodka is to be as flavorless as possible, but some drinkers still don’t like the pieces of ice that break off of the cubes as a result of vigorous shaking.

Shaking Versus Muddling:

Some fruits are so soft that it isn’t necessary to muddle them. Just the action of shaking raspberries, blackberries, orange wheels, or any assortment of jellies or cranberry relish on ice with alcohol will be enough to break down these soft fruits and get you the result you need—a fruit-infused liquor that is cold. This is especially important when you intend to strain off the ice and fruit and pour the liquor into a cocktail glass. Muddling in this case would crush the fruit into such fine particles that you would be unable to prevent pouring peels and seeds into the cocktail glass. Simply shaking instead of muddling makes it easier to strain a liquor clear of the ingredients you used to flavor it.

Tips For A Good Shake:

Fill the shaker to the top for drinks that require straining. You want to get the liquor as cold as possible for drinks like Martinis. If you are going to pour all the contents of the shaker into a glass, it might be best to build the drink in the glass you will use first before transferring it to the shaker. This way you won’t have too much ice and liquid to fit in the glass when you are done shaking. Shake rapidly (up and down, or toward you and away) keeping the motion of the ice mostly vertical within the shaker. One shake is a combined up-down motion; do this between 10 and 15 times until the outside of the shaker feels frosty. Shaking any more than this breaks up the ice unnecessarily and can weaken the drink. Then pour, strain. garnish and enjoy.

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