Whether you’re a James Bond movie fan or not, chances are you’ve heard the famous quote “Shaken, not stirred” in one of your many bar adventures. It’s a cocktail technique that worked for the secret agent’s favorite drink, and the same applies to many other classic cocktails.
Whether it’s in a bar or at a party, there is always the excitement created by the sound of a cocktail shaker. The clanging sound of ice against the tins creates an atmosphere and offers guests something theatrical and impressive to watch.
Here are some of the best classic shaker cocktails to add to your future bar ventures this spring.
When to shake
Fact! The way you mix your cocktail matters. Shaking is one of the most important parts of making a cocktail, as it can make or break the taste of your drink before it even gets to the glass. When you shake cocktails, the action breaks up the ice, diluting and chilling the drink much faster than stirring.
A general rule of thumb is to shake cocktails if they have anything else in them besides booze. Shaken cocktails tend to use cloudy ingredients, e.g., juice, milk, egg whites, citrus, cream, etc. When shaking all of these ingredients, the cocktail changes in texture and a better balance of flavors is achieved.
If your cocktails contain mainly spirits, and you like them clear, it’s best to stick to stirring.
Different types of shakers
A three-piece cocktail shaker, known as the cobbler, was invented in 1884 in the US and was named after Sherry Cobbler, one of the first alcoholic beverages to require shaking. Popular amongst Japanese bartenders, the cobbler consists of a mixing tin, an inbuilt strainer, and a cap.
The all-in-one bar tool is easy to clean and doesn’t require you to learn any specific techniques, making it the perfect addition to your home bar.
This 2-piece cocktail shaker is made of a standard shaker tin and another tulip-shaped tin. Also known as the Parisian, the French shaker is a cross between the Boston and the Cobbler, and unlike the Boston, it’s more popular in Europe.
The pros of using a French shaker are that it’s easy to use and clean and has a sleek design. If you want to show off your bartending moves, the French is the perfect cocktail shaker for home use.
The Boston-style cocktail shaker consists of a mixing glass and a metal tin. Due to its size and simplicity, you can easily shake multiple drinks at once, which makes it the most favored among bartenders.
To sum it up, all of the above-mentioned cocktail shakers are indispensable tools for bartenders and do the same thing whether you’re a novice home bartender or an aspiring mixologist, so the choice comes down to personal preference.
The classics – a little on their history and recipes
Despite its unclear origins, we know for a fact that Margarita gained popularity in the 1950s and is still one of the most popular cocktails in the world. Its simple recipe and delicious flavor have a lot to do with it.
Although the classic Margarita cocktail requires tequila, triple sec, and lime juice, this popular happy hour cocktail can be easily customised to your taste and twist on ingredients.
Here is how to make one:
Three parts tequila
Two parts triple sec
One part lime juice
Place all ingredients into a shaker with ice.
Shake and strain into a chilled margarita glass over ice.
Garnish with a wedge of lime.
Sweet, refreshing, and delicious, the summer-favorite Daiquiri is one of the best classic shaken cocktails. The boozy-slushy (as it’s widely known) was invented in 1896 by an American engineer named Jennings Cox. Namely, while Cox was working in Cuba and entertaining guests at a party, he ran out of gin. So he grabbed rum (the most popular drink in Cuba at the time), and added sugar and citrus to make punch, and the rest is history.
A Daiquiri cocktail today can be frozen too and requires a blender, but it’s best when it’s hand-shaken.
Here is the classic recipe:
2 oz. white rum
1 oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. simple syrup
Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain the drink into a chilled glass.
Legend has it that the Cosmopolitan cocktail was invented in 1988 by bartender Tony Cecchini while he was working at The Odeon in Manhattan. The drink quickly gained popularity, but it wasn’t until the cocktail made its appearance on the TV show Sex and the City that it became mainstream.
Widely popular, the Cosmo is made of vodka, lime juice, triple sec, and cranberry juice.
Here is the classic recipe:
2 oz. vodka
¾ oz. triple sec
1 oz. cranberry juice
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
The story of the Whisky Sour dates back to 1872 when a former ship steward, Elliot Stubb, came up with the drink in a bar in Iquique (then part of Peru). However, it’s believed that sailors were drinking something similar decades before. A combination of bourbon, sugar, and lemon juice, this sophisticated mixed drink is perfect for any occasion.
¾ oz. bourbon whisky
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
½ egg white (optional)
¾ oz. Simple syrup
½ orange wheel for garnish
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake for 20 seconds, add ice, and shake again for another 15-20 seconds. Strain over ice into an old-fashioned glass and garnish with a skewered orange.
One of the first Prohibition-era drinks, served at the Detroit Athletic Club around 1915, Last Word is one of the strongest shaken cocktails combining equal parts of gin, Maraschino liqueur, Green Chartreuse, and lime juice.
The rich and pungent drink was long forgotten after World War II, only to be rediscovered in the Zig Zag Cafe in Seattle by Murray Stenson in 2023. Since then, Last Word has been the cult drink in Seattle and quickly became known to the rest of the world.
¾ oz. gin
¾ oz. Maraschino liquer
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
¾ oz. Green Chartreuse
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Pour through a cocktail strainer into a cocktail glass. Serve straight up.
A classic cocktail served in London and Paris in the years after World War I, Sidecar’s original recipe combines equal parts cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice. The drink is named after the motorcycle sidecar that was still a novelty at the beginning of the 20th century.
Today, this shaken cocktail is served mainly as a digestif or aperitif, but you can serve it anytime you want.
2 oz. cognac
¾ oz. triple sec
¾ oz. lemon juice
Mix the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Sugar rim a cocktail glass (optional). Strain into the cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Another Prohibition-era gin-based cocktail, Bee’s Knees features lemon juice, honey, and gin. It’s a variation of the Gin Sour, substituting the sugar syrup with honey syrup. The mixed drink is sweet and refreshing and makes the perfect spring/summer cocktail.
2 oz. gin
¾ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. honey syrup
Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Pour into a coupe or rocks glass over ice.
The original recipe of this gin-based cocktail was created by Harry MacElhone in 1919 at Ciro’s Club in London. Though he used crème de menthe and triple sec at first, he substituted it with gin and Cointreau years later at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.
An elegant drink, the White Lady is a popular refreshing cocktail for a hot summer’s day.
Here is the original recipe:
¼ oz lemon juice
¼ oz Cointreau
½ oz dry gin
Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake well. Serve straight up in a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon zest twist.
One of the newest cocktails on our list of shaken, not stirred, the French Martini hails from 1980s New York, when Keith Mcnally, a bar owner, created the drink. Don’t let the name fool you. French martini is a vodka-based cocktail.
It’s called French because its key ingredient is the Chambord, a black raspberry liqueur made in France, and has the name martini because it’s often served in a martini glass. Sweet and fruity but also strong, elegant, and sophisticated, a French martini is the perfect choice for special occasions and parties.
4 oz vodka
3 oz fresh pineapple juice
1 oz Chambord liqueur
pinch of fine-grain sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled martini glass and garnish to taste.
Once a therapeutic drink among sailors who suffered from scurvy, today one of the most popular shaken cocktails in the world, the Gin Fizz that we know today is believed to have originated in New Orleans and was the most consumed drink between the 1900s and 1940s.
It was so popular that bars would hire “shakers” to take turns shaking the cocktail. A refreshing drink, the gin fizz is a simple combination of gin, lemon juice, sugar, and fizzy water, best served chilled.
2 oz. gin
½ fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
3 – 4 oz. club soda
lemon slice for garnish
Place all ingredients but the club soda in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into a glass over ice. Add club soda. Serve with a garnish of lemon slice.
Aviation is a gin-based cocktail created by Hugo Ensslin while working at a bar at the New York City Hotel, The Wallick. The citrus floral cocktail combines gin, Maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, and crème de violette, which gives the drink its distinct violet/blue color, from where the cocktail gets its name. Similar to Gin Sour, Aviation combines refreshing, sweet, and sour flavors, ideal for the spring/summer season.
2 oz gin
1/4 oz Maraschino liqueur
1/4 oz creme de Violette
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
brandied cherry for a garnish
Add all ingredients but the garnish in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.
Shake cocktails at home like a pro
Looking for refreshing and quenching shaken cocktails to add to your pool party drinks menu? Try any of the above-mentioned classic cocktail recipes. You can thank us later.