One of the two foundational techniques for mixing drinks, stirring is employed for classics such as the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Sazerac, and — James Bond be damned — Martini. Read any stirred cocktail recipe and you’ll encounter notes like “stir until chilled” or “stir for 15 seconds.” But as any seasoned pro will attest, there’s so much more to mastering this technique than that.

Even though stirring and shaking essentially serve the same function — making the drink cold, combining ingredients, and adding dilution — they’re also complete opposites. Stirring is a delicate process that teases the aromas and flavors out of alcohol, while shaking is more vigorous, adding texture and molding the drink into one unified package. Not to mention, mixing glasses are an open vessel, allowing bartenders to check in on a cocktail while making it. The vault that is the cocktail shaker, on the other hand, remains closed until the moment a drink is ready to serve, so there’s less room for error. Whether one chooses to stir or shake, today’s guest explains that the ultimate guide to good mixology is your palate.

Rejoining us for today’s episode is the L.A.-based Sebastian Hamilton-Mudge, a former bar owner and global brand ambassador of Plymouth and Beefeater gins, and co-founder of Candra, an online educational drinks platform and creative and consultancy agency. Listen on to hear Tim and Sebastian talk about everything from over-diluting versus under-diluting to using chopsticks as a bar tool. It’s all right here on the “Cocktail College” podcast.

(Check out Candra’s guide to stirring a perfectly diluted Dry Martini every time here!)

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