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The Difference Between Shaking Cocktails With and Without Ice

Do you know the difference between shaking cocktails with and without ice?

Well, let's take a look at the difference ice can make to your cocktails.

What ice does to our cocktails

Firstly, including ice to your cocktail shaker will allow the mixture to be chilled.

Ice also allows the cocktail to dilute to improve the texture of the cocktail.

Using the right ice can highly improve your cocktail, it is important to use the right ice when creating different drinks.

Ice is an essential ingredient for nearly every cocktail.

Types of ice

There are four main types of ice: ice cubes, shaved ice, cracked ice and ice ball.

Each of them has a purpose in different types of cocktails.

For example, shaved ice should be used when spirits form the main ingredient of the drink.

However, when eggs, milk, wine, vermouth or other mineral waters are used, use lumps of ice.


1. Ice cubes

Ice cubes are used in all types of drinks.

They are a popular choice for beverages such as sodas, juice and drinks on the rocks.

Also, these ice cubes do not melt very easily due to their large surface area.


2. Shaved ice

Shaved ice is very finely crushed meaning it gives the cocktail a nice texture.

Shaved ice is commonly found in soda machines.

This style of ice is perfect for frappes and slushies, also cocktails such as snowcones!


3. Cracked ice

Cracked ice is the ice you find in a bag in the supermarket.

It is quite small, smaller than cubed ice but not as small as shaved ice.

Cracked ice is ideal for cocktails such as daiquiris and margaritas.

 4. Ice balls

Ice balls are typically served with a straight spirit or in a stirred cocktail.

They melt at a much slower rate reducing the dilution.

Famously, Japanese bartenders hand-carve ice into these sphere shapes!

To create this shape at home, you can buy sphere ice moulds here.


Cocktails without ice

Ice is essential for making cocktails!

Although it is preferably needed, it can be done without.

If it is not possible to use ice, you can dilute and chill the cocktail ingredients in advance.

Add half the drinks volume to water and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Refrigerating won’t make the cocktail as cold as shaking it with ice would however it is something that can be done.

Dry shaking:

Dry shaking (shaking without ice), is key for creating egg based cocktails. 

Many bartenders shake the cocktail mix first without ice before shaking it for the second time with ice.

The theory behind this is that shaking without ice at a higher temperature, allows the drink to emulsify producing more aeration and then a thicker foam on top of the final cocktail.

Some bartenders place a spring in the strainer for the first shake as this acts as a whisk inside the shaker.

To create all that foam and froth, we recommend dry shaking!