1. Chill the Shaker First - you can do this by sticking it in the fridge/freezer or filling it with ice cubes. If you choose the method of using ice cubes be sure to empty out the melted ice and start with fresh cubes for each drink.

2. When you shaker is nicely chilled add your ice for the drink - I fill the shaker about half full to allow room for the drink ingredients.

3. Shake vigorously with some rhythm - sing, hum or have some good music on in the background, it helps establish a rhythm and it gets you in the mood for cocktail hour too! Remember, some drinks - like a classic gin martini - should be stirred not shaken so keep that in mind. Shaking is fun and part of the ritual of making a martini but stirring can be fun and it's retro - remember those old Thin Man movies and the classic glass cocktail pitcher with a glass stir stick?

4. If your drink is a blended drink like a daiquiri or a colada you're not going to shake at all you're going to use a blender and crushed ice and blend to the consistency of a slushy - think the consistency of that Cherry Icee you loved as a kid. (BTW, blended drinks can cause "brain freeze" so remember to be careful with those first sips!)

5. Unless you're muddling some ingredients, muddle before adding ice and shaking.  I know this sounds like advice you don't need, but you'd be surprised the number of people who try to muddle with all the ingredients present. If there's too much liquid, you won't get the result you're looking for.

6. If you are muddling remember to make use of a cocktail strainer to keep those chunkier elements out of the drink. Remember it's a drink not dinner. Anything that needs to be chewed should be skewered on a martini pick or added to the rim as garnish.

One last reminder, your cocktail will stay colder if you chill your ingredients as well as your martini shaker. Warm ingredients melt the ice quicker and water down the cocktail. Now go forth and shake, shake, shake yourself happy and enjoy!

 Updated 8-2016

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