Frosty Shakers – The Importance of Dilution
Many times, the difference between an okay cocktail and a great one can be traced back to the shake. With most shaken cocktails, we’re aiming for 30% dilution, meaning we want the ice to break down into water and make up around 30% of our final product. This ensures our booze is softened and flavors are mixed together so that there isn’t any residual harshness to the drink.
So how do we get that dilution?
We achieve our ideal dilution with a really hard, long shake. A good rule of thumb is a long 10 second count, depending on how hard and fast you shake. If you shake very hard and very fast, you may not need the full 10 seconds, but for the novice this is a good starting point. The amount of ice you’re shaking is also important. Shaking without enough ice will not allow you to achieve proper dilution. Too much ice, and you’ll be splashing your ingredients all over the kitchen. Most of the time, I fill my shaker up about 75% of the way with ice and make sure I have a really good seal between the shakers before I get to it. If there’s one part of cocktail making that can be attributed to having a “green thumb” for great drinks, it’s the shake. Everything else should be standardized; the measurements, the glass, the garnish, these are all the same from person to person. Where you make the cocktail your own is in your shake. So make it a good one! If your shaker doesn’t look like it’s just come back from north of The Wall, you probably need to keep shaking!