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The Art of the Perfect Pour: Part 1

With over two centuries of development and tradition, a proper cocktail deserves a respectful pour and finish. Made right, a cocktail is a satisfying experience from the first shake or stir to the last sip and sigh. Here are a few tips on mixing and finishing to help you find that perfect pour.

When to Move, When to Groove

Common blunders include shaking a drink that should be stirred, and stirring a drink that needs more vigor. Though some traditionalists may argue otherwise, there is a very simple guide to shakes and stirs.

Q: Does your drink contain citrus juice, dairy, or eggs?

Yes? Cool—put those paws to work and shake like your life drink depends on it (it does).

• Juice, dairy, and egg do not play nice with friends. Unless you hope to taste each ingredient in your drink separately, shake shake shake.

Special note: Egg whites are especially resistant to mixing. Try using a dry shake with no ice to help it blend before performing a normal shake.

No? Neat—relax and give your drink a gentle stir.

• Be sure to rotate the spoon so the rounded back stays flush to the glass the whole way around. This keeps your ice intact and the drink undiluted.

Become a Shake-King

A classic Boston shaker is a recipe for disaster in the untrained hand. Luckily, a proper shake is as simple as 1-2-3.

1. Place the metal shaker at a slight angle over the rim of the glass and give the tin a good smack. That little angle is key to a strong seal.

2. Turn the shaker so the glass faces up, put one hand firmly on the tin bottom, and place your other hand firmly on the bottom of the glass. Now SHAKE!

3. Give the shaker a quick rap with your palm where the glass is sealed inside for a clean separation.

To see the process in action, we turn to 4EG’s Krissy Finley. Take note of how she confidently seals and shakes to cocktail perfection!

Coming Soon

With the keys to a proper shake and stir in your toolkit, you are almost ready to mix up your own drinks. A great drink, however, deserves a great finish. Return here next week to learn how to prepare garnishes and unlock their full potential. With patience and practice, you will soon have your perfect pour.