Why are some cocktails shaken & others stirred?

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We’ve all heard the iconic James Bond line “Vodka martini. Shaken, not stirred”, but most people don’t realize what made the line so cool back when it was first uttered.

In that line Bond is asserting his hip preference to go against the grain. Martinis are traditionally made with gin instead of vodka, and traditionally they were stirred.

Though many bartenders shake all their drinks these days (people have come to expect it), traditional bar tending wisdom dictates that cocktails containing only alcohol (like a martini, which is gin or vodka, plus vermouth) should be stirred, while cocktails containing other ingredients (like herbs and juices) should be shaken.

Stirring gives the bartender more control over the amount of ice that melts into the drink (water is the hidden ingredient in all iced cocktails), while shaking helps muddle solid ingredients, more evenly blend in viscous ingredients, and aerate juices, which is believed to release more of their flavor.

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