Bartending 101: Mixing Techniques

When mixologists mix cocktails, they are trying to take different ingredients and combine them to make a new taste or flavor. Some ingredients do not mix easily so knowing the right way to mix a cocktail is essential when bartending. Have you ever ordered a drink and it was too strong or it didn’t taste like there was any alcohol? Maybe the drink wasn’t made correctly or maybe the right mixing technique was not used.

There are many ways to mix a cocktail but here are a few to know whether you are bartending at a restaurant or you’re making a cocktail for a friend.

Not sure what mixing technique to use?

Remember…the less ingredients mean the less mixing is needed. When your recipe only includes clear ingredients, stir. If your recipe includes juices, syrups, liqueurs, or similar ingredients, shake or blend. Let’s take this recipe for example:

SHAKEN OR STIRRED? – Looking at the ingredients, is a martini shaken or stirred?

Classic Martini

  1. Chill the glass: Before you build your Martini, put your Martini glass in the freezer to chill.
  2. Build the drink: Place the gin or vodka and dry vermouth in a mixing glass.
  3. Stir and strain: Add cubed ice and stir for 30 seconds until the Martini is chilled. Strain the drink into your chilled Martini glass.
  4. Garnish the drink: Pare a lemon peel, and express (pinch) the back of the lemon peel over the martini. Rub the lemon peel around the rim of the glass and drop it into the glass. Alternatively, garnish with speared olives.

Famously ordered “shaken, not stirred” by Sir Ian Fleming’s fictional James Bond character, the classic martini is best served stirred! Fleming himself preferred his martinis shaken because he felt that stirring a drink compromised on flavor. And thus, a common cocktail misconception was born!

SHAKEN OR STIRRED? – Looking at the ingredients, is a Classic Daiquiri shaken or stirred?

Classic Daiquiri

  1. Gather your ingredients
  2. Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice
  3. Shake well
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and enjoy!

BLENDED OR STIRRED – Looking at the ingredients, is a Bahama Mama Cocktail blended or stirred?

Bahama Mama Cocktail

  • In a large freezer-safe bowl combine orange juice, pineapple juice, coconut-flavored rum, creme de banana liqueur, and spiced rum. Stir to combine.
  • Place mixture in the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 24 hours.
  • For serving, use a 10 – 12 oz glass and place ½ oz of grenadine in the bottom of each glass.
  • See below instructions for chosen blending method. (One 36 oz blender jar will make 3-4 drinks).
  • Pour the blended cocktails over the grenadine in the glasses, garnish with fresh pineapple and maraschino cherries (optional)
Conventional Blender
  1. After the drink mixture has frozen completely, fill blender jars half full of ice cubes.
  2. Fill the other half of the blender jar with the frozen drink mixture.
  3. Blend on high until the mixture is thick and all the ice is broken down.

Now that you have a bit more info, go forth and shake – or stir – your cocktail! Cheers!

For other cocktail recipes to try out these mixing techniques with check out The Tasting Room!