“It is rarely wrong to stir a drink, but often wrong to shake it.”
On the most recent episode of “The Cocktail Spirit” on the Small Screen Network, mixology expert and historian Robert Hess explains in no uncertain terms the correct circumstances under which a cocktail should be either shaken or stirred, using the classic Manhattan as an example.
The question about When to Shake and When to Stir still confuses many, more so when you see contradictory information about this in different recipes for the same drink. The rule to follow here is really quite simple. “Stir drinks that are made with transparent ingredients, shake drinks that include cloudy ingredients.” The reason for this is mostly due to aesthetics. Drinks served in a beautiful clear glass, look better when they themselves are clear and transparent. Shaking a drink will often make it cloud up, and make it unappealing. Often it will also put a scummy looking foam residue on the top which makes it even more unappealing. If the drink already includes cloudy ingredients (such as a citrus juice, cream, or egg white) then no amount of stirring will make it clear, so go ahead and shake it.