The 5 à 7 tradition is alive and well.

The 5 à 7 tradition is alive and well.

Shaken or stirred?

Stirring seems so simple, but when it comes to cocktails, merely spinning a spoon won’t get you that well mixed drink you crave. There’s an art to stirring cocktails and with a little practice, you’ll be an expert.

The famous question that leaves many a person puzzled. Shaking is the process of chilling and diluting a drink with ice by moving it back and forth swiftly in a shaker. The rapid rattling causes the ice to break down more quickly, thus releasing more water into your drink. This is great for mixed drinks with juice or dairy, but doesn’t work as well when the drink is carbonated.

While shaking ingredients is a more thorough method of mixing, shaking clear ingredients (such as vodka, gin and whiskey) destroys the silky texture and body of the ingredients, leaving them cloudy, foamy and pretty unappetizing. Stirring, on the other hand, helps maintain the clarity and flavor of your distilled spirits.

Create a stir

Once you’ve decided to stir things up, make sure you have the proper tools. Start with a bar spoon—a long spoon with a twisted handle. The length of the spoon ensures you can mix drinks in even the tallest of glasses, while the twisted handle allows for the spoon to rotate easily in your hand. This means a more fluid motion, and a better mixed drink.

Once you have a bar spoon in hand, chill a mixing glass and pour your ingredients in. Insert the bar spoon, and, with it pinched between your middle and index finger, move it around in a circular motion, focusing on keeping the back of the spoon against the glass. This method helps cool the drink down, while still maintaining its clarity.

Remember: Don’t just give it one spin around!  Stir for about 30 seconds to ensure all your ingredients are combined well. For more complicated drinks with a whole lot of ingredients, such as mojitos, you can use your spoon to lift up fallen ingredients and distribute them throughout the cocktail.

Finally, garnish your masterpiece and enjoy!