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Shaken Or Stirred? Settling The Great Gimlet Debate

gimlet shaken stirred

Should a gimlet be shaken or stirred? This question has plagued mixologists and cocktail connoisseurs alike and has sparked a flurry of conversations. Let’s settle this debate once and for all by exploring the nuances and merits of both methods and the changes they bring about to the drink. 

What Does Shaking Do?

Shaking is particularly employed for cocktails that use ingredients like egg whites, syrups and fruit juices that benefit from aeration and rigorous mixing. Since lemon cordials are used in the making of gimlets, this would be a perfect way to integrate the gin with the syrup. Shaking also helps in elevating the texture and flavour profile of the drink. 


This is done by combining the ingredients along with ice in a cocktail shaker and vigorously shaking the mixture before straining it into a cocktail glass. By doing this, the gimlet is aerated, creating a nice frothy and refreshing texture. 

There are benefits to shaking the ingredients of a gimlet in a cocktail shaker. Since ice is combined in the shaker, it ensures the rapid chilling and dilution of the drink and loans it a refreshing taste. Shaking also creates tiny air bubbles that lend the drink a velvety texture, which adds to the drinking experience. And lastly, shaking forcefully releases the aromatic compounds from the ingredients, which intensifies the fragrance of the gimlet.

When a gimlet is shaken, what you get is a cloudy-looking drink, which adds to the visual aura of the drink. For garnish, lemon twists and wedges can be added on top of the froth, building up the visual appeal of the gimlet.

gimlet shaken

What Does Stirring Do?

Stirring is generally used when bartenders want to retain the cocktail’s integrity and clarity. When a gimlet is stirred, it creates an emphasis on the gin’s botanical components and the subtle flavours brought about by the lemon cordial. 

This is done by combining the ingredients along with ice in a stirring glass and gently stirring them with a spoon, after which the mixture is strained into a cocktail glass. The result is a smooth and silky texture. 

Like shaking, there are benefits to stirring the ingredients of a gimlet. Stirring allowed for a more controlled dilution compared to shaking, leading to the creation of a drink that has a fuller and more robust flavour profile. Since the mixture is stirred and strained, the drink’s clarity is intact. Since there is no aeration involved, the drink makes for a silkier and smoother feel in the mouth.

As for garnishing, you can add a delicate twist of lime to maintain the elegance and simplicity of the drink. Remember, the star feature of the cocktail is the clarity presented by the stirred gimlet. 

gimlet stirred

A Matter of Preference

The final consensus is that both methods work well when serving a gimlet. It’s only a matter of preference. If you prefer your gimlet with a frothy texture, then ask for it to be shaken. And if you prefer a smooth, silky texture, then ask for it to be stirred. Moreover, what ingredients you use will also define whether the ingredients should be shaken or stirred. For instance, a gimlet that uses homemade lemon cordial will benefit from the aeration provided by shaking whereas the stirred version will allow the botanical components of the gin to shine. 

There is no right or wrong way to savour a gimlet. While each method introduces its unique characteristics to the cocktail, experiment with both methods and find out whether you prefer the bold and refreshing character of a shaken gimlet or the subtle elegance of its stirred version.

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