I was just wondering everyone's thoughts on using a shaker for iced drinks. What are the benefits? What are the downfalls? Not sure it's something we'd use in our store, but I think it's good to explore new options, especially with Summer right around the corner.

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At my old store we did espresso over ice (no toddys) and we found shaking to be the best way to get uniformity in temp. I hate pouring hotshots right over ice because of the lukewarm bleh that sits on the top of the drink. If you're gonna shock the espresso then you might as well commit! 

My process for cold drinks was to combine everything in a large graduated mixing cup, top with a cup full of ice, then either stir well or dump back and forth a couple of times before straining (Hawthorne strainer) over fresh ice into the to-go cup.

Actually shaking the drink has some benefits - getting things 100% completely mixed and a little frothing improves texture. The problem I found was more with larger drinks. In order to get the full benefit of shaking, you need to have a higher proportion of ice-to-drink than you probably want to serve. If you're dealing with 16oz or bigger drinks, that means a huge shaker. The big ones I found were not as solidly sealed as the regular ones, which lead to a couple of messy accidents.

I found the "stir vigorously with lots of ice" approach to give results that were almost as good.

With small drinks, I'd definitely say try shaking them. When you do, make sure you prepare a pair of identical drinks, shaking one and just stirring or dumping the other. Taste double- blind with a couple of friends and see if anyone can tell the difference or has a preference.

For grins, here's a video of my favorite cocktail guru discussing shaking vs stirring, and demonstrating good technique for both.

Shaken is the way to go!  We shake all of our iced espresso/milk based drinks and it leads to a creamier, more frothy drink.  Oh, and it looks more impressive to the customer to see the barista taking this extra step.  We just measure the ingredients in a graduated measuring cup, fill a cocktail shaker with ice, shake and strain over ice in the serving cup.  Makes a much better drink than just stirring the ingredients together.  The downside is there is more stuff to clean up and it can be more time consuming but for us the end product justifies the the added time and cleaning. 

At Starbucks, we shake all of our iced tea beverages. Seattle's Best (one of our subsidiaries) used to shake a few of their espresso-based drinks. I'm not sure how they operate now since the brand refresh.

It adds to the process of making a drink, but as Brady said before the texture is unbeatable. It looks freaking cool, too! Never hurts to test it and see.

We've got a pitcher rinser next to our bar. Would this be a good way to rinse out the shakers or is it health code that they go through a dishwasher?

zack burnett said:

Shaken is the way to go!  We shake all of our iced espresso/milk based drinks and it leads to a creamier, more frothy drink.  Oh, and it looks more impressive to the customer to see the barista taking this extra step.  We just measure the ingredients in a graduated measuring cup, fill a cocktail shaker with ice, shake and strain over ice in the serving cup.  Makes a much better drink than just stirring the ingredients together.  The downside is there is more stuff to clean up and it can be more time consuming but for us the end product justifies the the added time and cleaning. 

We rinse 'em in the sink after every use and store them in the under-counter fridge between uses.  We wash them thoroughly as needed.

Emily, we use pitcher rinsers to clean residue off of pitchers and shakers. As a corporate sanitation policy, we run all of our smallwares (spoons, pitchers, shakers, etc) through a sanitizing cycle every 2 hours. Just to be safe.

Thank you for the information!

Alexander Stephen Root said:

Emily, we use pitcher rinsers to clean residue off of pitchers and shakers. As a corporate sanitation policy, we run all of our smallwares (spoons, pitchers, shakers, etc) through a sanitizing cycle every 2 hours. Just to be safe.

We shake, shake, shake...blends it nicely. Don't shake too hard though, gets a little bubbly!

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