How To Shake A Cocktail

how to shake a cocktail

Shaking cocktails is an essential skill for any aspiring mixologist or home bartender. It’s not just about combining ingredients; it’s a dance that infuses drinks with flavor, texture, and that satisfying chill. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, this guide will take you through the steps to shake cocktails like a true master.

The Basics of Cocktail Shaking

Why Shake?

Shaking serves several purposes in mixology:

  • Chilling: The ice in the shaker cools the ingredients rapidly.
  • Dilution: Ice melts slightly during shaking, subtly watering down the cocktail for a balanced taste.
  • Aeration: Shaking introduces air, creating a frothy texture in certain cocktails.

Essential Tools

Before diving into shaking techniques, ensure you have the right tools:

  • Cocktail Shaker: Choose between a three-piece cobbler shaker or a two-piece Boston shaker. We would recommend a Koriko Shaker which is used by the best bartenders in UK
  • Strainer: Necessary for separating the liquid from the ice after shaking.

The Shaking Techniques

1. Standard Shake


  • 2 oz spirit
  • 1 oz mixer
  • Ice cubes


  1. Add the ingredients to the shaker.
  2. Fill the shaker with ice cubes.
  3. Place the lid securely on the shaker.
  4. Hold the shaker with both hands, one on the top and one on the base.
  5. Shake vigorously for about 10–15 seconds.
  6. Strain the mixture into a glass.

2. Dry Shake

Used for cocktails with egg whites, like the classic Whiskey Sour.


  • 2 oz spirit
  • 3/4 oz mixer
  • 1 egg white


  1. Dry shake without ice for about 10 seconds to emulsify the egg white.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and ice.
  3. Shake vigorously for an additional 10–15 seconds.
  4. Strain into a glass.

Tips for Perfect Shaking

  1. Use Fresh Ice: Ensure your ice is fresh and free from any lingering freezer odors.
  2. Shake with Confidence: A good shake requires energy and confidence. Don’t be shy; give it your all.
  3. Temperature Matters: If the shaker frosts over, your cocktail is properly chilled and diluted.
  4. Double Strain for Clarity: If you prefer a crystal-clear cocktail, use a fine mesh strainer in addition to the shaker’s built-in strainer.

Practice Makes Perfect

Becoming proficient in the art of cocktail shaking takes practice. Experiment with different shaking times, techniques, and ingredients to discover your perfect shake. Whether you’re crafting a classic Martini or a contemporary craft cocktail, the shake is your signature move, so shake with style and shake with flair.

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