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How to Stir a Cocktail 04:26

Jeff Leanheart

A basic and necessary technique for anyone making cocktails.

How to Stir a Cocktail 04:26

Jeff Leanheart

A basic and necessary technique for anyone making cocktails.

Prep Time Cook Time Total Time Serving Size

The Steps

  1. 1. Cocktails that are spirit-based and do not contain citrus or egg white need to be stirred. Stirring involves chilling every component in a smooth, rhythmic fashion. 00:23

  2. 2. Cocktail stirrers are usually metal with a small spoon on one end and a long, partially twisted handle on the other end. The twists provide an area to place the fingers and rotate the stirrer while stirring the cocktail. 00:49

  3. 3. To make a Manhattan: Add the whiskey, sweet vermouth, cherry liqueur, and bitters into a glass. 01:25

  4. 4. Break two ice cubes into smaller pieces by cracking them with the back of the stirrer. Add the shards into the glass, then fill to the top with whole ice cubes. 02:11

  5. 5. Insert the spoon all the way down to the bottom of the glass. Rotate the stirrer around the glass about 20 times clockwise then reverse and stir 20 times counter clockwise. 02:42

  6. 6. Place a strainer on top of the glass and pour the mixture into a martini glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry, if desired. 03:28

What You'll Need


- Martini glass
- Mixing glass
- Strainer
- Jigger
- Bar spoon


- Rye whiskey (2 ounces)
- Sweet vermouth (1 ounce)
- Cherry liqueur (3/4 ounce)
- Bitters (about 8 drops)
- Brandied cherry (1, optional garnish)

Chef Notes

The Martini and Manhattan are two of the most popular stirred cocktails.

Cocktails should not be jabbed at with the stirrer or be otherwise agitated. Stirring in a smooth motion moves the ice and liquid in an intact way which chills the mixture but doesn't dilute it. Controlling the amount of dilution is one of the key aspects in making a great cocktail.

Jeff prefers to use Abbott's Bitters which is a traditional formula including Tahitian Vanilla and Star Anise.

The finished cocktail should be transparent and clear, with no foam, bruised ice, or cloudiness.


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Chef Jeff Leanheart

New York City

Beverage Director Jeff Leanheart has been the creative cocktail force behind The Smith restaurant in New York City for more t... read more