How To Pull Off A Whip Shake For Cloudlike Drink Textures

Do you want a "chaser" for that "three-finger" pour of Jameson in your shot glass? Truly, the lexicon of bartender lingo is enough to make Merriam-Webster sweat. But, today, we're deep-diving into one particular bartending term that every professional and home mixologist should really know about: The whip shake.

Shaking adds dilution, chills the drink, and aerates the cocktail — all of which are crucial to creating the correct texture of a cocktail. To that end, your technique makes all the difference. Standard shakes, short shakes, and dry shakes are the ones you're most likely to spot at a cocktail bar. There's even a fabled, mythical "Japanese hard shake" that, per the lore, other bartenders outside of the country simply cannot do. 

But, the whip shake is very real, and it's one of those bar techniques that was invented by bartenders, for bartenders. It's largely a New York thing; most bartenders outside of the city don't really use it, and there's a reason why. The whip shake was invented by hometown hero Michael McIlroy of the world-famous cocktail bar Attaboy in Manhattan's Lower East Side. Here's how to execute their lionized move.

Add a few ice cubes and get to shaking

The whip shake is used for cocktails served over crushed or no ice. Less ice means more air space in the shaker, resulting in an extra frothy cocktail. To execute the whip shake, add a small handful of crushed ice or a few ice cubes to the shaker. Then, using an abrupt, staccato, "whipping" motion, keep shaking the cocktail until the crushed ice has completely dissolved. Use a whip shake to make any drink where frothiness is the goal, like Mai Tais, Zombies, and Ramos Gin Fizzes. It's a great technique for pretty much any drink that includes egg whites or pineapple juice.

According to Erik Lorincz, former head bartender at the American Bar at London's Savoy Hotel, "The best way to see (if you've successfully shaken your cocktail) is when you finish shaking, pour the drink into the glass and check the ice left in your shaker," via "Your ice shouldn't be shattered, and you should find nice rounded ice cubes." While this is a solid strategy, it isn't always possible to apply. In the case of the whip shake, there should be no ice left in the shaker at all, if you did it right.