Cocktail Shakers

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Shaken, Not Stirred Say these words casually and gracefully when ordering a martini, and some part of every woman in the room will perk up. There is nothing quite so appealing as someone who knows what he wants and can articulate it with eloquence. Indeed, everyone in the room, man or woman, is enthralled by this air of confidence and immediately wants the same drink that you’re having. And if you can say, “Bond, James Bond,” when asked for your name, then you have no need of a cocktail shaker or the knowledge of how to use one. If, however, you are not so fortunate and must answer with likes of, “Harvey, Harvey Jones,” well, it’s probably wise to have this bartender’s mixing aid on-hand and be practiced in its proper use. Then, when she–you’ll recognize when you see her–orders a drink shaken, not stirred, you’ll deliver it, and your heart, with perfection. The common cocktail shaker has undergone a resurgence in the last decade or so. Shakers haven’t been as widely available in Australia and around the world in as many styles since during the Jazz Age in America when mixing skills were as important at the bar as on the dance floor. Today, there are shakers to suit any style. Choices range from custom glass in traditional Cobbler-style shakers to sleek stainless steel designs in modern ones. For an unbeatable style, look for the Art Deco styled bullet shakers that follow a classic and timeless 1930’s design. The primary elements of a cocktail shaker, after consideration of style, of course, include the chamber in which the liquids and the ice go, a secure lid or second chamber with a snug fit, and a strainer. Cobbler-style shakers, along with many of their modern counterparts, have a built-in strainer. Other styles require the use of an external strainer. Bond drinks vodka martinis, so his intention is a drink cooled to perfection without being watered down. There is nothing so flabby as a watery drink. The shaker produces a perfectly chilled drink without ice after a shaking of no more than 5 to 10 seconds. The act of shaking also blends drink ingredients in a manner more complete than stirring can, making for a consistently flavored libation. So practice, sample each result for temperature and flavor, and repeat as necessary. Then, when you hear, "shaken, not stirred," you'll be ready with an eloquent drink.