Blending, mixing, mudding and shaking are terms with which every cocktail maker will become familiar – essential methods that, if applied to the wrong cocktail could be disastrous, and yet so simple once learned. Hints on serving storing pre-mixed cocktails are given, with guidance for the cocktail party.

Apart from the cocktails which contained eggs or fruit, which should be blended, all other cocktails can be either stirred or shaken. To most purists a Martini should only be stirred, but James Bond insists that his should be shaken, which, in view of most dedicated barmen, will only bruise the spirit and detract from the flavor. The different effects of shaking and stirring are that a shaken cocktail will produce a colder and more cloudy drink in appearance than if stirred. The appearance of the stirred cocktail will be clear. It is always best to follow the method stated in the recipe as there is no doubt that alternative methods will have been tried and the method suggested has proved to be the most successful.

Blending

Many recipes require that the ingredients of your cocktail should be place into a blending jug, or liquidizer, for a few seconds to that they are all blended into one consistency. This same result cannot be achieved by merely shaking the cocktail. Blending gives a cocktail a frothy consistency as a result of the air that has been incorporated into the cocktail. Most recipes containing eggs, and all recipes which contain fresh fruit, will need to be blended. One of the secrets of blending is to blend for the shortest time possible. Over-blending will reduce your cocktail to a watery slush. Another useful hint is not to put whole cubes of ice into the blender but to break the cubes up and cracked ice.

Mixing

Cocktails which contain clear ingredients usually require mixing. This is done in a plain clear glass beaker or mixing jug with a small lip for pouring. The capacity of this should be approximately 2 pints. Place four ice cubes into the mixing beaker and then pour on the ingredients to be mixed. Stir this mixture gently with the long handled muddling or mixing spoon until the contents have become chilled. You will know when your cocktail has become chilled by a film of condensation appearing on the outside of the beaker or jug. If you have to stir a drink that contains anything fizzy then stir only very gently. This will help to preserve the effervescent of the drink.

Muddling

If you wish to make an Old Fashioned or a Mint Julep then you will need to know a little about ‘muddling’. At the end of your stirring or mixing spoon is a rounded knob and this is what is known as the ‘muddler’. You will use the muddler when making a Mint Julep to crush the leaves of mint together with the sugar, or for the Old Fashioned when you crush the sugar with Angostura Bitters before you add the liquor. After adding the rest of the ingredients to either of the two cocktails you then use the reverse end of the spoon to stir your cocktail.

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