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Ask A Bartender: Shaken or Stirred?

Friday, January 30, 2015


Shaken or Stirred? That is the question...

It has become widely accepted in the bartending community that there are certain drinks you just don’t want to shake. 

A straight gin martini, for example, is better served stirred. Why? If you like the taste of gin enough to drink a martini, then you don’t want to dilute the spirit too much. 

Shaking will batter the booze around making an ice-cold froth, rather than an ice cold drink. And, yes, it is possible to make a drink ice cold without shaking it. Shaking only makes the drink look colder. That being said, if you like your gin with ice chunks on a hot day, then by all means, shake your martini.

You should shake a drink when there are thicker liquids involved such as purees, juices and creams. Even this rule has caveats though: You don’t shake a screwdriver or a White Russian.

See slideshow below for places to drink during the Super Bowl

In the final analysis, you are always free to do whatever you want. This golden rule is even more apt when it comes to a task as trivial as ordering a drink at the bar. It is, after all, your drink. Try it both ways, then, think critically in order to ascertain what you liked best. In fact, think critically in all the drinks you taste- in everything you do. Even if you are not familiar with the vernacular of bartending, drink your drink slowly and think about it, sit back and enjoy it.

There is, of course, a time and a place that warrants getting drunk as soon as possible, and that’s fine. But if that’s truly all you’re after, the only thing you care about is the speed in which your drink is made.

When you go to a bar, the bartender will make your drink the way he or she is accustomed to making a drink anyway. There is no reason that you should coach them unless they are clearly incompetent or you, after years of experience, have learned exactly what it is that you want.

I’ll allow myself to be “walked through” a drink by any customer but it’s only those rare breeds, idiosyncrasies included, whom I enjoy it from. Don’t be condescending unless you have earned the right to be. And, if you are not over sixty-five years old, not a secret agent, not somebody who has solved a homicide or not a washed-up lounge singer, you don’t have that right.     


Related Slideshow: 10 Great Places to Watch Super Bowl XLIX

There is certainly an argument for staying in to watch the game this Sunday. If you're out and about though, this short list will guide you through some of the better bars for watching the Super Bowl in Portland. Every place on this list will probably be very busy. If you are looking for a quiet spot, a hotel bar out by the airport might be the perfect thing.   

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Yur's Bar & Grill

Yur's is a spacious neighborhood bar for the Northwest Portland crowd. Just a few blocks from the shopping strips of Northwest 21st and Northwest 23rd Avenues, Yur’s Tavern may be in the land of beautiful people, but don’t let that fool you. Yur’s is what keeps that neighborhood “real” and with plenty of space, big screen TVs and cheap booze it will certainly be keeping it that. 

Yur's Bar & Grill is located at 717 NW 16th Ave. 

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The Know

This is a small bar with only two TVs. I included it on the list for the Patriot fans. If this is your first winter here in Portland and you’re looking to not be alienated by the twelfth man, this might be a good place for you. You may even make some friends, if you’re cool enough. Just don’t take anyone home with you.  

The Know is located at 2026 NE Alberta St. 

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There is a Blitz on Hawthorne Street, but if you’re going to Hawthorne, check out number 5 on this list- there is no substitute. Blitz in the Pearl is a run of the mill Sports bar - cheap food and drinks (especially for the Pearl), a TV in every direction and plenty of other fans.   

Blitz Pearl is located at 110 NW 10th Ave. 

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Katie O' Brien's

The Cadillac of Sport’s bars. If you can get there early enough to grab a swivel chair at the bar, you’re in luck. If not, there is plenty of other- less luxurious- seating as well as a pool table and heated patio for halftime. 

Katie O' Brien's is located at 2809 NE Sandy Blvd. 

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If Katie O’Brien’s is the Cadillac of Sports Bars, Claudia’s is the Bentley.

Claudia's is located at 3006 SE Hawthorne Blvd.  

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Jolly Roger

Jolly Roger is an old neighborhood bar. It’s very cheap. There are plenty of seats and TVs. Yeah. 

Jolly Roger has two locations at 1340 SE 12th Ave., and 5627 SW Kelly Ave. 

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George's Corner Tavern

Feeling bad about life? Come to George’s Corner Tavern. If it doesn’t renew your faith in humanity, it will at least renew faith in yourself.

George's Corner Tavern is located at 5501 N Interstate Ave. 

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52nd Avenue Sports Bar

With very cheap food and draft specials, a friendly bartender and a lot of TVs, this cozy bar will be packed to the brim on Sunday. 

52nd Avenue Sports Bar is located at 5201 NE Sandy Blvd. 

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Rialto Room

Sick of seeing beards and flannel? Wanna see some leather jackets and hair gel? Rialto Room is, first and foremost, a pool hall. They also have an off-track betting kiosk next door. I’m sure if you wanted to make the game a little more interesting, you could meet some obliging folks. Even if you’re not betting, there are plenty of TVs and it’s a good place to watch the game if you’re not adverse to the smell of Axe.   

Rialto Room is located at 529 SW 4th Ave. 

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Belmont Inn

Big screen TVs, a good selection of beer and pool tables. Ask the bartender to make you a mojito. There are plenty of other bars in the vicinity if you get bored.

The Belmont Inn is located at 3357 SE Belmont Ave. 


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