do you use a shaker for old fashioned 4
do you use a shaker for old fashioned 4

Have you ever wondered if you should use a shaker when making an Old Fashioned cocktail?

This age-old question has sparked debates among bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts alike.

While some argue that shaking can dilute the flavors, others believe it helps to meld the ingredients together.

In this article, we will explore the different perspectives on using a shaker for an Old Fashioned and discover which method yields the best results.

So sit back, grab your favorite whiskey, and get ready to mix up a classic cocktail. Cheers!

History of the Old Fashioned

Origin of the cocktail

The Old Fashioned cocktail has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. It is believed to be one of the oldest known cocktails.

The term “cocktail” emerged during this time as a mixture of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. The Old Fashioned was born out of this classic recipe and has since become a staple in the world of mixology.

Evolution of the Old Fashioned

Over the years, the Old Fashioned has evolved and adapted to different preferences and trends. Initially, it was made with whiskey, sugar, water, and bitters.

As time passed, variations emerged, such as adding fruit garnishes or using different spirits, like brandy or rum. Despite these changes, the Old Fashioned has managed to maintain its essence as a timeless and sophisticated cocktail.

Traditional Old Fashioned recipe

The traditional Old Fashioned recipe calls for a few simple ingredients: whiskey, sugar, water, and bitters. To make it, you start by muddling a sugar cube with a few dashes of bitters and a splash of water in an old-fashioned glass.

Then, add ice cubes and whisky and stir gently until well mixed. Finally, garnish with an orange twist or a cherry, if desired. This classic recipe showcases the simplicity and elegance that defines the Old Fashioned.

Understanding the Old Fashioned

What is an Old Fashioned?

An Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that embodies the timeless elegance of the early cocktail era. It is known for its simple yet refined taste, relying on a few key ingredients to create a harmonious balance of flavors.

The Old Fashioned is often enjoyed as a sipping cocktail, meant to be savored slowly to appreciate its depth and complexity truly.

Key ingredients of an old-fashioned

The key ingredients of an Old Fashioned are whiskey, sugar, water, and bitters. The type of whiskey used can vary, with bourbon being the most common choice.

The sugar adds sweetness, while the water helps to dilute the cocktail. Bitters like Angostura or Peychaud’s provide the finishing touch, adding depth and complexity to the flavor profile. These simple yet crucial ingredients make the Old Fashioned a true classic.

Importance of mixing technique

The mixing technique plays a significant role in creating the perfect Old Fashioned. It is essential to approach the process with care and attention to detail. Proper mixing ensures the flavors are well-balanced and the cocktail has a smooth and consistent texture.

The technique used can impact the overall taste and presentation of the Old Fashioned, making it a crucial aspect to consider when preparing this iconic cocktail.

Do You Use A Shaker For Old Fashioned?

Shaking vs. Stirring

The difference between shaking and stirring

Shaking and stirring are two different techniques used in cocktail making, and each affects the resulting drink. Shaking involves vigorously combining the ingredients in a shaker tin with ice, which creates a colder and more diluted cocktail. Stirring, on the other hand, gently mixes the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, resulting in a smoother and less diluted drink.

Pros and cons of shaking an Old Fashioned

Shaking an Old Fashioned can have both pros and cons. On the positive side, shaking can help to incorporate the ingredients more thoroughly and bring out the flavors of the bitters and other elements in the cocktail.

Additionally, shaking can impart a frothy texture and a slightly chilled temperature to the drink. However, the downside of shaking an Old Fashioned is that it can result in a more diluted beverage and may disrupt the delicate balance of flavors for which the cocktail is known.

Pros and cons of stirring an Old Fashioned

Stirring an Old Fashioned is often considered the more traditional method, preferred by purists who value the original taste and character of the cocktail. The critical advantage of stirring is that it creates a smoother and more concentrated drink, harmonizing the flavors harmoniously.

Stirring also ensures minimal dilution, ideal for those who prefer a more potent and less watered-down Old Fashioned. However, stirring requires more patience and finesse, as it takes longer to achieve the desired results than shaking.

Using a Shaker for an Old Fashioned

Benefits of using a shaker for Old Fashioned

Using a shaker can offer several benefits when making an Old Fashioned. Firstly, it provides a convenient way to mix the ingredients thoroughly and evenly, ensuring that all components are well-integrated.

The shaker’s design helps to create aeration and adds a pleasant frothiness to the cocktail. Additionally, the shaker allows for quick chilling of the drink, resulting in a refreshing and colder Old Fashioned.

Proper shaker technique

To achieve the best results when using a shaker for an Old Fashioned. Add the ingredients – whiskey, sugar, water, and bitters – to the shaker tin.

Fill the tin with ice and secure the lid tightly. Hold the shaker with both hands and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds to ensure thorough mixing and proper chilling. Finally, strain the cocktail into a glass filled with fresh ice and garnish as desired.

Common mistakes when using a shaker

While a shaker can enhance the Old Fashioned experience, some common mistakes should be avoided. One standard error is over-shaking the cocktail, which can lead to excessive dilution and a loss of flavor balance.

It’s essential to shake enough to combine the ingredients and chill the drink, but not too much. Another mistake to avoid is failing to properly secure the shaker lid, as this can result in messy spills and accidents. Take care to ensure a tight seal before shaking.

Do You Use A Shaker For Old Fashioned?

Shaker Recommendations

Types of shakers

A few options are available when choosing a shaker for making an Old Fashioned. The two most common types of shakers are the Boston shaker and the cobbler shaker.

The Boston shaker consists of two metal tins that fit together, while the cobbler shaker is a three-piece set with a built-in filter and a lid with a cap. Both types can be effective, so the choice depends on personal preference and comfort.

Considerations when choosing a shaker

When selecting a shaker, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, consider the material – stainless steel is a popular choice due to its durability and ability to chill the cocktail quickly.

The shaker’s size is another aspect to ponder; more giant shakers can accommodate more ice and ingredients but may be bulkier. Additionally, consider the ease of use and cleaning, as well as the overall aesthetic appeal of the shaker.

Popular shaker brands

Several reputable brands offer high-quality shakers well-regarded by professionals and cocktail enthusiasts. Some popular options include Koriko, Cocktail Kingdom, and OXO.

These brands are known for their exceptional craftsmanship, durability, and functionality. It’s worth exploring different brands and reading reviews to find the shaker that best suits your needs and preferences.

Shaker Alternatives

Mixing glass

For those who prefer a more traditional approach to making an Old Fashioned, a mixing glass can be a great alternative to using a shaker.

Mixing glass allows for a gentler, more controlled stirring technique, resulting in a smoother, less diluted cocktail. This method is favored by purists who want to savor the true essence of the Old Fashioned without the added elements that shaking can bring.

Stirring spoon

A stirring spoon is an essential tool when opting for the stirring method. It allows for precise and delicate stirring, ensuring the ingredients combine seamlessly while maintaining the desired temperature and texture.

The spoon’s long handle helps reach the bottom of the mixing glass and prevents excessive hand contact, keeping the drink colder for longer.


While not directly related to shaking or stirring, a muddler is handy when preparing an Old Fashioned. It muddles the sugar cube and bitters, creating the cocktail’s base.

A muddler typically has a long wooden or metal handle and a crushing end, allowing for effective ingredient mashing and flavor extraction.

Do You Use A Shaker For Old Fashioned?

Expert Opinions

Mixologists’ perspective on using a shaker

Mixologists, skilled cocktail-making professionals, have varying opinions on using a shaker for an Old Fashioned. Some mixologists believe shaking can enhance the drink by incorporating aeration and creating a lighter texture.

Others argue that stirring is the only acceptable method for an Old Fashioned, as it maintains the cocktail’s original character and flavor profile. Ultimately, mixologists bring their expertise and creativity to the table, resulting in diverse perspectives.

Bartenders’ perspective on using a shaker

Bartenders, experienced in crafting cocktails in a fast-paced environment, often have a pragmatic approach when using a shaker for an Old Fashioned. Many bartenders prefer stirring as it allows for more control over dilution and consistency.

However, shaking can be a viable option when there’s a demand for speed and efficiency. Bartenders understand the importance of delivering a well-balanced and satisfying drink, and their perspective is rooted in practicality and customer satisfaction.

Cocktail enthusiasts’ perspective on using a shaker

Cocktail enthusiasts passionate about mixology may have a more experimental and open-minded perspective when using a shaker for an Old Fashioned. They enjoy exploring different techniques and methods to create unique classic cocktail variations.

Some may even argue that shaking and stirring have their merits and can result in equally delicious Old Fashioneds. Cocktail enthusiasts value creativity, personal preference, and the joy of discovery when crafting their favorite drinks.

Personal Preference and Experimentation

How personal preference influences the choice

Personal preference plays a significant role in decision-making when using a shaker for an Old Fashioned. People have different tastes and expectations when it comes to their cocktails.

Some may prefer a lighter and more bubbly drink achieved through shaking, while others may appreciate the smoother and more concentrated flavors achieved through stirring. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to decide which method aligns with their preferences and desired drinking experience.

Experimenting with both shaking and stirring

To truly understand the impact of shaking and stirring on an Old Fashioned, it can be fun and enlightening to experiment with both methods.

Prepare two versions of the cocktail – one shaken and one stirred – and compare the taste, texture, and overall experience. Take note of the differences and nuances between the two, and let your palate guide you in determining which method suits your preferences more closely.

Finding the perfect method for your taste

Finding the perfect method for your taste when making an Old Fashioned requires a bit of trial and error. It’s essential to explore different techniques, experiment with various ratios of ingredients, and adjust the process to your liking.

The journey towards your ideal Old Fashioned is personal and subjective, with no right or wrong answer. Trust your instincts, refine your technique, and enjoy discovering what brings you the most satisfaction.

Do You Use A Shaker For Old Fashioned?


Factors to consider

Several factors must be considered when deciding whether to use a shaker for an Old Fashioned. These include personal preference, desired taste and texture, individual expertise, and the overall drinking experience you seek.

Each method – shaking and stirring – has pros and cons, and weighing these factors before deciding is essential.

It’s also worth noting that experimenting with different techniques and tools can lead to exciting discoveries and a deeper appreciation for cocktail making.

Exploration and discovery

Ultimately, choosing a shaker for an Old Fashioned is a matter of personal exploration and discovery—part of the joy of cocktail-making lies in the journey towards finding and perfecting your preferred method.

Whether you shake or stir, what matters most is the enjoyment and satisfaction you derive from your Old Fashioned.

So, channel your inner mixologist, embrace your creativity, and savor the process of crafting this iconic and timeless cocktail to suit your unique taste. Cheers!