Barfly: To shake, or not to shake

Barfly: To shake, or not to shake

There are 4 comments on the Marin Independent Journal story from Nov 3, 2010, titled Barfly: To shake, or not to shake. In it, Marin Independent Journal reports that:

Somehow the young bartender had ended up at my bar. I didn't ask him how, and he didn't tell me.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Marin Independent Journal.


San Rafael, CA

#1 Nov 4, 2010
Lets hope the egotistical baristas read this

Novato, CA

#2 Nov 4, 2010
I wonder where this guy works. It sure as hell aint my bar, DeBorbas. The guy in there has a tough enough time with a screwdriver. And I think it's great that Mr. Burkhart has a second degree black belt. Just one thing. There's always some guy out there with a tenth degree black belt.

Hartsdale, NY

#3 Nov 11, 2010
Sometimes it's good to do things in a way that tradition mandates, and sometimes it's not. In the case of classic cocktails, we who currently mix and enjoy great cocktails owe a great debt to Jerry Thomas, Hugo Ensslin, and the many who elevated bartending to a true craft.
That said, not everything the classicists did was correct.
In the case of shaking or stirring drinks, modern craft bartenders who make more than Screwdrivers, Wallbangers, and LI Iced Teas have come to recognize that stirring drinks like Manhattans (drinks of the boozy variety that contain no opaque juicy ingredient) ultimately produces a better quality cocktail because of its texture, mouthfeel, and body.
Shaken cocktails have a much more airy, frothy texture and mouthfeel, and lighter body. Drinks without fruit juice need not be shaken, and their ingredients (booze, and sometimes simple syrup) tend to have rich, velvety textures and greater body that are ruined in the shaking process, which is why they're better shaken.
That said, if a customer wants a shaken Manhattan they should get a shaken Manhattan.
a fellow barkeep

United States

#4 Nov 11, 2010
The actual reasoning for one not shaking a manhattan has more to do with the resulting mouth-feel of the drink. In shaking a drink, you are forcing air throughout the cocktail creating a different consistency than stirring. Also, in shaking a manhattan, you dilute it more, you form ice crystals at the top of the glass and you get it too cold, all of which make it more difficult to taste the intricacies of cocktail. As a rule of thumb, shake drinks that involve juice- stirring them won't emulsify the juice properly. Stir spirit-only cocktails. Try 'em side by side and you be the judge.

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