There are different ways to prepare a mixed drink; some you stir and some you shake. The recipe will usually tell what method to use.

Shaking is a basic bartending technique that every bartender/mixologist must learn from the very beginning. Properly shaking your drinks will greatly improve them and will help the ingredients and flavours blend well.

Shaking also makes the drink get colder faster and helps you achieve a level of dilution of the drink. Shaking is also one of the bartending techniques that you can personalise and entertain your guests with.

Now you see why it’s important to master it.

What you need

Two-piece cocktail shaker. This consists of

  • A large, flat-bottomed cone (also known as a “can”), made of stainless or silver-plated steel.
  • A smaller, flat-bottomed cone; usually a glass (for the Boston shaker) or a metal (for the French shaker)

Or the three-piece cocktail shaker, which consists of

  • A flat-bottomed conical base
  • Built-in strainer
  • Lid

If you are using the two-piece shaker, you’ll most likely need a strainer for straining the drink after shaking it. The three-piece already has a strainer in it, so you won’t need another.

How to shake
  • Add the ingredients into the glass (for the Boston shaker) or the base (for the three-piece shaker)
  • Fill the base with ice.
  • Cover the lid (for three-piece shaker) or up-end the base over the glass quickly (when using a Boston shaker)
  • Turn both parts against each other to seal them
  • Raise the shaker over your shoulder, and with one hand on each part, shake vigorously
  • Shake for ten to twelve seconds
  • After shaking, tap the meeting point of both parts to break the seal
  • Strain the mixed drink into a glass; if using the Boston shaker, place a strainer over the base can and strain
  • Dispose the ice left in the shaker and rinse for the next drink

When you have mastered shaking on a basic level, go on to develop your own signature shake, combining your unique way of positioning your hands, frequency of shakes and pauses, direction, etc.