cold, hard data

[by john]

the cocktail world has gone slightly aflutter lately (i wouldn't go as far as 'wild') about the shaking of ice. yes, the act that is so routine to your average barkeep that they hardly give it a second notice. and yet, after so many times of not noticing it, one develops a style, and one wants to claim (via pseudo-science or not) the superiority of that style.

exhibit one: a long video of a recent seminar by a japanese bartender, who is a proponent of using many kinds of ice and the japanese 'hard shake' style. he affably parries questions from the audience about using one technique over another with 'because that is the best way i know'. concrete explanation is missing, but i can sense that while a small fraction of the audience is skeptical, the rest is willing to believe the arcane wisdom from this strange land.

exhibit two. a few recent attendees of tales of the cocktail made an honest scientific plunge into the debate of shaking efficacy. entropy, thermocouples, excel graphs and all. while i cringe a bit at their longwinded explanation of freezing-point depression and their excel statistics (mike may whip up a polemic later), i laud them for tackling the myths (dare i say religion?) of shaking, and doing so with science. they found that shaking style doesn't matter, shaking time doesn't matter, but maybe your shaker (all metal/pre-cooled/boston shaker) might matter. empiricism, baby!

exhibit three. twitter! ok, maybe just a single tweet tonight from the drinkboston writer, lauren. drink's bartenders are apparently into ice wars. with thermometers.

here's hoping the trend continues. it keeps us science-minded folk feeling useful and in touch.

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