A top-down view of a fancy cocktail with ice and garnish

The Moment When a Mixed Drink Tastes Perfect: Some Science

"Monkey Wrench. Shaken, not stirred"

Actually, you would probably stir a monkey wrench. The classic cocktail, that is -not your favorite Monkey Wrench Ranch Water (which doesn't need a stir, but we'll get there). Stirring and shaking both aim to accomplish 3 things other than simply mixing the recipe: dilution, chill, and aeration. Let's sip into it.

Dilution: friend or foe?

Nobody likes a watered-down drink and everyone can tell you what too much dilution tastes like: water. And while many people like to think they want their drinks as stiff as the bartender will serve them, a cocktail that's not diluted enough is going to be hot, hard to smell, and not enjoyable to sip. Water in the perfect amount turns out to be around the 20% dilution mark for most recipes and for most, there's only a brief moment when that's the case. That's because the ice in your drink is constantly melting and adding liquid water, diluting it as you're drinking it. Don't get us wrong: we've enjoyed plenty of cocktails from start to finish, but if we're being sciency about it, there are always 2 or 3 sips right in the middle that taste perfect. Thanks, water!

Chill: let's check your temperature.

Look, the right temperature to drink your drink at is whatever is most enjoyable to you. But you probably like your cocktails below 32 degrees just as you like your Napa Cabernet Sauvignon at 62 degrees. So if you're making a cocktail, shaking with ice will chill it quickly to or below water's freezing point, while stirring will chill it down but slower and probably not as much. Again, different drinks call for different temperatures, but a Monkey Wrench Seltzer Cocktail is best right out of the fridge and stays perfectly enjoyable until the can is empty. Recycle the can, human, we ain't terraforming Mars anytime soon.

Aeration: sensational textures.

It's all about mouthfeel. For a cocktail, aeration may be a subtle thing, but it's essential when the recipe calls for it and it's done properly. Generally, stirring a drink won't aerate it much, so when a libation calls for that smooth and soft feel on your palate, shaking is your choice of preparation. Basically, you're putting air in your drink. Or carbon dioxide. That's what gives a Monkey Wrench its distinctive effervescent fizz. Aerating by a different method, the carbonation provides the bubbly mouthfeel you've come to demand from your canned beverages.

So you can stir or shake your cocktail and let it chill, dilute, and aerate to a perfect couple of sips. Or, you can pluck a Monkey Wrench from your fridge, crack it open (no wrench required), and enjoy. Of course, different occasions call for different drinks, but that's why we offer a variety of full-flavored recipes in convenient mixed cases! Check them out.

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