Stirring Cocktails

Why stir?

Chills ingredients – Stirring happens with ice which makes the ingredients cold. So, stirred recipes, like shaken recipes, can be served up or on the rocks (with or without ice).

Combines ingredients – Gently combines ingredients together without changing texture or aeration.

Adds water – Through ice-melt during stirring.

How to stir?

Fill your mixing jug with the ingredients required to be stirred by the recipe.

When all ingredients are added and you are ready to stir, and not before, fill your mixing glass with ice…and we mean FILL!

Take your stirrer and rotate it around the inside circumference of the mixing glass, spinning the pieces of ice as a single block NOT churning them together like you’re making porridge, grits, scrambled eggs, or any other food you eat with a spoon!  

How long this stirring goes on for depends on a few key things:

  • How warm / wet your ice is – yes, ice can be warmer or colder and yes, it can be wet! If you take ice straight from the freezer it will be colder and take longer to melt than ice you’ve had out in a bowl in your kitchen all evening.

  • How big your chunks of ice are – bigger lumps of ice with less surface area will both melt and chill the drink a little slower.

  • How strong the drink is when you start – the higher the alcohol content of your ingredients, the longer you will have to stir for to add enough water from the melting ice to balance the cocktail.

  • For example, (stay with us here!) a very dry Martini, with only a tiny splash of Vermouth will start off at a much higher alcohol strength (ABV) than a Fifty-Fifty Martini, which is made with half gin and half vermouth. Vermouth is far lower in alcohol strength than gin, and so the Fifty-Fifty will start at a lower strength and therefore need less water added to it during the process of stirring to reach the optimum point of dilution! Well done, you made it!

The process should last for around 20 seconds, depending on all the variables mentioned above.

Throughout the process you will want to smell and taste your drink to determine when it’s ready. As water is added during stirring, aromas are released, so smell is actually a great way to tell when a drink is done. Tasting the drink along the way, using a straw as a pipette, or just using a spoon allowing you to pinpoint the perfect level of dilution. This level of control is one of the key reasons to stir certain drinks instead of shaking them.

When you reach that perfect dilution point you’ll know it because all the flavours are released onto your nose and palate and the alcohol isn’t burning your mouth. Your eyes shouldn’t water while sipping on a stirred cocktail!

Pouring Dry Martini

Time to serve – Grab your strainer and use it to hold back the ice as you pour the ingredients into your preferably pre-chilled glass.

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