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What Is a Glass Cocktail Shaker and How Do You Use It?

What Is a Glass Cocktail Shaker and How Do You Use It?

09/12/2016 10:30 AM |

The Singapore Sling passed into folklore after being created by a barman in the Raffles Hotel, while James Bond ordering a Martini, shaken not stirred, is the most notable reference to cocktails in modern culture.

References to alcohol being mixed with two or more ingredients were recorded in print more than 200 years ago, though the origin of the term cocktail is disputed and verges from the contentious to the fanciful. The publication of the first bartenders' guide in 1862 heralded a new age of innovation and creativity with the cocktail.

The Growth of Cocktail Culture

Prior to cocktails, the drink of choice was a highball. It was just a shot of hard liquor, initially whisky and then vodka, topped up with a mixer. Cocktails came about with the mixing of one or two shots of liquor with a variety of ingredients to hide the harsh taste, such as honey, cream, spices and flavoured sauces.

It is somewhat ironic that the growth in the popularity of cocktails occurred during the Prohibition era in the United States in the 1920s.

Traditional taverns went out of business and were replaced by speakeasies. These private establishments, where clients were entertained with jazz bands as flappers danced the Charleston and the Blackbottom, were popularised by word of mouth and needed a password to gain entry. The biggest attraction, of course, was that they sold alcohol.

With the closure of distilleries, apart from those licensed by the government to produce alcohol for medicinal purposes, hard liquor was either smuggled into the country or distilled in illegal breweries. This illicit bootleg trade made a lot of people extremely rich, and it became increasingly controlled by mobsters such as the notorious Al Capone.

The quality of this home-made liquor was inferior to the original products, so barmen resorted to new ways of disguising the taste. Hence the invention and proliferation of many new cocktails.

After the Prohibition Act was repealed in 1933, the consumption of cocktails continued, with cocktail parties becoming popular on the social circuit. The cocktail hour became fashionable prior to going off to have dinner in the evening. Cocktails became established choices in all the best bars, and the habit spread to Europe.

It’s a Modern Trend

Consumption of cocktails dropped off after the Second World War, but their popularity increased again from the 1970s. There are now dedicated bars where patrons sample the delights of old and new recipes, and the craft of the barman, grandly referred to in modern parlance as a mixologist, has elevated the status of many an individual.

Meanwhile, it became increasingly popular to mix your own cocktails at home, and no self-respecting host or hostess should be without a cocktail shaker.

Glass cocktail shakers are very handy, as they are often marked with measures to help you create the perfect drink. Add ice and shake for 15 seconds for optimum results. Mr Bond knew how to get it right, and with a little practice so can you.