Mixology Tip - When do you Stir and when do you shake a cocktail?Ever wondered why James Bond likes his Martinis shaken? Today, we’re going to answer one of the classic questions in Mixology – stirred or shaken?

The rule of thumb is when your cocktail is all spirits, it should be stirred. Still some folks (like James Bond) want them shaken. Today we’re doing a side-by-side comparison using my favorite cocktail, a Manhattan!

So how’d it go?

Stirred: Crystal clear, you an easily see through it.  The top is clear and doesn’t have any foam or bubbles.This cocktail tastes exactly how I’d expect – rich & thick.  It’s delicious – but then again, it is my favorite cocktail!
Shaken: You can immediately see there is a slight foam on top, and it is murky looking.  Overall, the visual presentation is just not great.In terms of taste, I would say there is a difference between this and the stirred cocktail.  Mainly I notice an added bitterness that wasn’t as apparent in the stirred version.

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Check out the Manhattan Recipe Here


I would definitely follow the rule and not shake your Manhattan. If a customer asks specifically, then of course, give them what they ask for, but I would avoid handing the shaken Manhattan to a guest.

Click Here to view the Transcript

Hi everyone, welcome back to A Bar Above, for another video tip that we have for you today. Today we are hoping to answer the classic question in bartending and mixology: do you shake or do you stir? Traditionally, if it’s spirits only that’s going to be served in the glass to the customer, the rule of thumb is to stir. I know you’ve seen as many Bond Films as I have, and you know he prefers his martini shaken.

So we’re going to do another side-by-side comparison with a different cocktail – one of my favorites – the Manhattan, just to show you what’s going on with the spirit and let you decide which one you want to serve your guest. In these two glasses, I have exactly the same cocktail: 2 oz Maker’s Mark 1oz Punt y Mes sweet Vermouth 2 dashes Angostoura Bitters I’m going to go through the same exercise. I’m going to stir this one down and I’m going to shake that one up. You really want to add a lot of ice to this drink if you’re going to be stirring it to get it nice and cold as possible. There we are. Let’s give it stir. I remember hearing once that you want to hear a total of 40 times, 20 in each direction. I don’t know about you, but I can never keep track. So I usually do about 10 seconds, and that’ll give you a nice cold chill on your Manhattan or the drink that you’re mixing. Great. I hope you weren’t counting…

Here we are. So one of the things I want you to pay attention to is the texture of the cocktail as it comes out. I’m not sure if you can see it but the spirit itself is nice and crystal clear. It has a nice thick, viscous quality to the cocktail that is fantastic- that is exactly what we are looking for with a stirred drink. So the next drink – the same exact drink we’re doing, is a Manhattan, and we’re going to shake this one up. Once again you’re going to want to make sure this one is pointed straight back, so that way if it ever opens up, that it’s going to go behind you and not in front of you and not towards the customer. One of these days we might actually see that on film, but until then let’s go ahead and finish this one up. Great. As with any cocktail that you shake, you’re going to go ahead and fine-strain this one to get all of the ice particles out and if you have any juice, to get any juice particles out.

I’m not sure that you guys can see this at home, but – just the difference in color that we’re seeing between the two cocktails. The stirred cocktail is nice and crystal clear, you can see all the way through it. Has kind of a nice kind of red, kind of a brown kind of color to it. Where the shaken cocktail you can see across the top of it has this kind of nasty looking foam. Foams in cocktails typically are a good thing, but with a spirit cocktail you don’t really want to see that. Also with the color difference. This one is much more murky – you can’t see through it all the way. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to serve that to a customer. It doesn’t look so appetizing.

So there you have it side by side comparison between the two. Now let’s go ahead and do a taste test, which everyone knows to be my favorite part of this review. So first we have the stirred one. Nice and rich and kind of thick and viscous. [Tastes the shaken cocktail ]This one is much more bitter. Kind of beaten up. Definitely has a different taste profile as well. So there you have it. We have the side by side shaking vs. stirred comparison. Like I said I’ll let you guys make up your own mind on what you think you’d serve your guests.

Please feel free to leave your comments down below and also visit ABarAbove.com for more information and for more products. We are actually putting together a training series right now for Intro Mixology which I am really excited about. It’s something I’m really excited about – it’s one of my passions and something I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time now. There’s going to be some great information on there – all of the information I was looking for when I was first starting out, entering the field of mixology. So stay tuned for that, once again at ABarAbove.com and until then I’m going to go ahead and enjoy this cocktail. Wishing you guys a great shift – Cheers!

Chris Tunstall

Co-Founder of A Bar Above and career bartender and mixologist. I love experimenting, creating cocktails, and drinking Green Chartreuse.