Your guide to mixing techniques


There is a need for accuracy when creating cocktails if you want to achieve balance and consistency. All of the recipes in this book have exact measurements but they are not set-in-stone. If you prefer a sweeter taste, it’s entirely up to you to experiment and alter the quantities.

Wet shaking

Cocktails that include fruit juice, citrus, dairy products, syrups or thicker liqueurs (but never anything carbonated!) usually need to be shaken. Pour your ingredients into the small tin, add as much ice as possible to the large tin, pour the ingredients over the ice and combine the tins giving them a gentle knock to secure them. Shake facing away from your guest, as accidents do happen. Be sure to separate your tins with large tin at the bottom.

Dry shaking

This method is used when the cocktail contains egg whites. The whites need to be shaken hard without ice for 10 seconds to allow the proteins of the whites to coagulate, aerate and create a foam. This method can be used before or after the wet shake. Fill your ingredients into the small tin, combine tins with a gentle knock to secure them. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds.


Cocktails that use spirits only or no citrus should be stirred. It stops the drink getting cloudy or frothy by introducing less air and creates a more viscous texture. Pour your ingredients into your mixing tin, fill two-thirds of the way up with ice cubes, use a bar spoon to stir the ingredients until your perfect temperature and dilution have been achieved. This can take some practice so remember to taste your drink as you go along. (Take a small amount of the cocktail on your bar spoon and pour it onto the back of your hand, you can now taste without contaminating the cocktail.)


This involves chilling a cocktail with a minimum amount of dilution and frothing. Add all your ingredients into the small tin, fill the large tin with ice, pour the ingredients over the ice and combine the tins giving them a gentle knock to secure them. Now gently roll the tins in your hand for 10 seconds.


Ideal for creating small bubbles in your drink which add a pleasing texture, preferably start with chilled ingredients as the method is ineffective at chilling. Pour your ingredients into the small tin, add two-thirds ice into the large tin and turn your Hawthorne strainer upside down so it fits snugly over the ice. Add your liquid into the large tin and return to the small tin multiple times. With practice you will be able to achieve great height and distance between the tins creating a fantastically theatrical serve.


Building is the technique of creating your cocktail directly into the final vessel. Perfect for drinks with carbonated ingredients. Pour your non carbonated ingredients into the glass, add ice to the top, (the more ice the less dilution, this seems counter-intuitive but more ice = colder drink hence the ice melts slower) top with the carbonated ingredient, stir gently as not to lose much effervescence or bubbles from the drink.


The idea is to release the flavours from fruit, berries & herbs. Add the fruit or berries to the bottom of the small tin, pour the ingredients over the fruit and lightly crush with a muddler to release the juices/flavours. Be wary when adding herbs, it may be better to “smack” them against the back of your hand to release the essential oils. Muddling can bruise them and introduce unwanted bitterness to your drink.

Strain/fine strain

Essential for creating a deliciously smooth drink, there is a school of thought that you should allow ice shards into some cocktails. We personally do not agree, it can add unwanted dilution and create a bitty texture. With one hand take your Hawthorne strainer and slot it into the tin (containing the cocktail), with your other grab the fine strainer. Take the index finger from your Hawthorne hand and place it securely across the top of the Hawthorne. Pour your liquid through the Hawthorne and the fine strainer into the vessel.

Salt & sugar rims

Cut a lime in half, turn your vessel upside down and gently rub the rim of the glass onto the upright half of lime (ensuring citrus juice does not run down the side of the glass). With your glass still upside down dip it into the required salt or sugar, turning ever so slightly and pull straight up.


When layering begin with the most dense liquid at the bottom of the glass, this is usually the one that contains the most sugar. Then hold a bar spoon upside down at a shallow angle over the drink with the edge of the spoon on the inner side of the glass, then slowly pour the 2nd liquid over the back of the spoon and on top of the drink.