Shaken vs. Stirred Revisited: Temperature

I’m baaaaack.  (Think Schwarzenegger!)  After the recent consecutive holidays (World Gin Day & National Martini Day) I took a couple of days off.  But I’m back with more thoughts and, of course, more martini reviews.

Since I’ve had this blog going, I’ve had a number of conversations on Shaken vs. Stirred.  The two camps appear to be composed of dedicated committed adherents to their particular beliefs.  But all my discussions have been lighthearted and fun.   Ultimately we are all more alike in our love for Martinis than different in our choice of technique.

Past posts detail my thoughts on this topic and I don’t want to deprive you of the pleasure of reading each one in detail.  ( Shaken or Stirred?? and Shaken or Stirred, Part Two )  But I thought I’d elaborate on the main differences between the two mixing methods.

However in an effort to keep my posts a reasonable length, I’ve found that I’m going to have to separate these thought into manageable bites.  There will be a couple more posts coming along in the same vein very shorty.  But first up:

The conventional wisdom is that shaken cocktails are colder than stirred.  This is because there is more agitation when shaken.  Furthermore, shaking the drink also causes the ice to break up, increasing ice surface area.  If the barkeep is vigorously shaking, as opposed to just sort of waving the shaker around, there will be more shards of ice created, and more surface area.   As we know, thermal energy flow is a function of surface area, so more area – more cold.

But wait, thermal energy transfer is also time dependent.  Starting with the same mass of ice at the same starting temperature and Martini mixes at the same temperature, then the colder drink might well be the one that is mixed longer.   A barkeep who nicely sirs the Martini for 30-45 seconds may produce a colder Martini than one who is very busy and just shakes the mix for 5-10 seconds.  If you keep the mixing time constant, only then will the shaken cocktail certainly be colder than the stirred.

Of course, starting temperature of the ice is also very important.  The colder ice may trump the stirring / shaking time.  You can see my comments on Cold Ice in a prior post.

Advantage?  I’d call this a draw.
The ultimate temperature of your drink is very dependent on the Barkeep and his ice.  How much time she or he puts into mixing the Martini, the starting temperature of the ice, and how vigorously the mix if shaken.

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