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Dave covers some great ground here. As he says, it’s a matter of personal taste. I’ll add a couple of other thoughts . . .

– If you have juice, dairy or, God forbid, eggs in your drink, you should shake and not stir. The frothy texture enforces the integration of the ingredients.
– Shaking gives a drink a sharper, more vibrant flavor. For this reason, drinks that are bitter to start with are generally stirred to avoid enhancing the bitter flavor and to create a smoother texture and taste (I just learned this the other night).

Finally, whether you shake or stir, you should be conscious of how much water you’re adding to the drink. As Dave says, adding water is good and helps mix the drink. Keep in mind, though, that water tends to suppress sweet tastes more than bitter ones. So, the more water that dissolves in the drink, the more a bitter taste will be enhanced. Think about that when you’re slowly drinking a Negroni. It gets even more bitter as the ice melts.

Oh, I should add that Dave is right, I generally like shaken over stirred, especially for drinks dominated by a single ingredient – like a Martini or Manhattan. I like the little ice chips floating on top.

It’s cool when you learn something new from reading your own blog (assuming it is not due to Alzheimer’s). Your first point I grasped only last night with the Cognitive Deficit, realizing that I usually shake when there is juice in the drink. I did not know that about bitter vs. sweet.

I went to a mixology class last night and discussed shaken vs stirred with the bartender there. He summed it up simply as: “the difference is just appearance and texture.” He added that with juices, dairy or eggs you “have” to shake, as mentioned in the previous comment. Shaking gives a more cloudy appearance to the drink because of the introduction of air and also adds small ice chips to the final product. This does change the taste of the drink somewhat, although this can be more of a psychological thing rather than a major change in taste.

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