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Feb 2, 2007 09:37 PM

What does"bruised"mean?

I have heard this term often. But what does bruised liquor tastes like that is not right? How can you tell your liquor is bruised?

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  1. In my opinion, the notion that you can "bruise" liquor (a concept most often advanced by advocates of stirring vs. shaking certain cocktails like Martinis) is hokum. I shake the heck out of most drinks I intend to strain into a chilled cocktail glass (exceptions: drinks with bitters, which can turn the drink unattractively cloudy, and drinks with carbonated ingredients like Champagne, which can go flat). I don't think the liquor suffers, and in fact the shaken drink gets better chilled, mixed, slightly diluted (a necessity in most cocktails), and aerated.

    1. Usually the term "bruised" is used when talking about gin in martinis, or that other clear spirit that shall remain unnamed. It is used as a way to describe reactions and changes that go on in mixing a cocktail by shaking with ice vs. stirring the ingredients with ice.

      Shaking can make the spirit taste sharper, with more bite, by causing aldehydes in the spirits to combine with oxygen; this oxidizes them, changing their taste.

      There is no such thing as "bruised" liquor if you mean damage to the spirits from shaking.

      4 Replies
      1. re: JMF

        Exactly- the term bruising is an old wives tale. That said, I don't think most drinkers can even tell the difference between shaking and stirring.

        1. re: jpschust

          Try it some time. Make two drinks the exact same but stir one and shake one. Try the stirred one first, then the shaken. Then see what differences you can find. You might be surprised.

          1. re: JMF

            I've done it with vodka, gin, bourbon, and tequila. The taste difference is minimal if at all, and I've even got a pretty sensitive pallette. The items that are really going to change the flavor of a mixed drink are much more than if you shake or stir it.

            1. re: jpschust

              Well I disagree. I can taste that spirits become sharper when shaken. Also the texture is different. Just recently I was at an event where the same drinks were served stirred and shaken and the differences were obvious on many levels.

      2. The reason you don't want to shake your martinins is because that results in greater dilution from the ice melting. Stirring results in less melting. This is the stated reason, in any case. As to whether or not there is any scientifc evidence to support these beliefs is another question.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Josh

          Whether you shake or stir, the point of mixing with ice is to chill the drink and add water. Chemically, the exact same amount of ice will melt whether you shake or stir, to get it down to the temperature you want your drinnk.

          1. re: Alcachofa

            Isn't there more friction at work during shaking than stirring? It would seem to me that greater friction would lead to greater melting of ice.

            1. re: Josh

              Perhaps the shaking results in a faster *rate* of melting. All I meant was, if you have a group of liquids at, say, 60 degrees, exactly the same amount of ice has to melt in order to chill it to, say, 30 degrees.

              I don't disagree that shaking will definitely give the drink a different "texture" or whatever.

        2. I think the biggest variable to a drink isn't the fact of if you shake or stir (btw for me, I shake anything with citrus or egg, stir everything else) It is really the ice. The amount of dilution you get from bad ice is considerably more than larger ice cubes. Larger ice cubes meaning cubes 1.5" square or so. Bad ice meaning shell ice that you typically see coming out of commercial ice machines.

          1. I thought it related to the cucumber in the Screaming Vicking.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bkhuna

              I didn't catch that reference at all, though I guessed you meant Viking. Urban Dictionary to the rescue (Definition 1):


              That Cheers show ruined a pretty good Boston bar.

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Yup, that's what I meant to type. Mi spehl chucker muhst bee brokun.