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How to Stir Your Cocktails to Perfection

How to Stir Your Cocktails to Perfection

Shaking, throwing, fixing: the terms to describe mixing a drink can often sound more like an odd sporting event than the method of creating a beautiful cocktail. Why would you ever want to throw a perfectly good Vodka Martini? Conversely, one term we can all get behind is stirring. If you’re new to the world of mixology and are mixing your first drink, it’s a good place to start.

The Equipment You Need to Stir a Cocktail

Professional bartenders and mixologists will always use a bar spoon to stir. The Drop Stainless Steel Bar Spoon (30cm) is an elegant, Japanese-style spoon with a gorgeous, twisted stem. If you’re going to be using taller glasses for long drinks, opt for the 40cm option

You’ll also need either a mixing glass or a cocktail shaker to fix your drink in. This Stemmed Mixing Glass makes a beautiful addition to your bar and is always perfect for swirling. Or opt for any cocktail shaker with a flat base, choosing the style based on your preferences. You can also stir the cocktail directly in the glass you’ll drink from, which is the preferred method for most who are drinking at home.

How Do You Stir a Cocktail?

It may sound obvious, but there are a few notes on stirring a cocktail that will ensure a professional mix every time. Stir your cocktails slowly and smoothly, avoiding doing anything too vigorous that would cause splashes. Add ice to your glass before pouring in the spirits and mixers to avoid overfilling with liquid.

When stirring, place your bar spoon directly into the ice. You can be a bit more tentative and only go an inch into the ice or push your spoon almost to the bottom of the glass. It’s entirely up to you! Keep your arm still as your stir, moving only your fingers for a gentle, patient stir.

When and Why Would You Stir a Cocktail?

There are some reasons why you’d stir a cocktail. The most obvious is to mix the separate ingredients together, like in a Gin and Tonic. If you’re not making a layered drink, you need to combine those spirits and mixers somehow!

Stirring also chills and dilutes the drink, letting the ice in the glass work its magic. This can change the mouthfeel and slightly alter the taste, creating a more palatable finish. 

How Long Should a Cocktail Be Stirred? 

In general, a cocktail should be stirred for around thirty minutes. You can, of course, stir for longer, and bartenders will have different lengths for different drinks and palettes. A Martini, for example, is often stirred for upwards of a minute, and some Old Fashioneds can be stirred for five minutes! Just remember that the longer you stir, the more diluted your cocktail will become.

Learn More About How to Make Cocktails

If you’re keen on learning how to make delicious cocktails, you’re in the right place. Our experts at UrbanBar have created a range of online Educational Spirit Courses designed to teach you the ins and outs of mixology. Take a look and start stirring, shaking, and throwing your way to a professional mixologist.

Image: Maksym Fesenko /

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