Regal Shake (and Regal Stir)

Words by Simon Difford

Regal Shake (and Regal Stir) image 1

What has become known as the Regal Shake refers to adding a freshly cut broad strip (a swath) of citrus zest into the shaker along with the ice and other ingredients when shaking a cocktail. This is removed, along with the ice, when straining the cocktail into the glass.

This technique has been deployed since the early age of bartending and features in cocktails such as the Japanese Cocktail in Jerry Thomas' 1862 The Bar-tender's Guide, and Bon-vivant's Companion, the first known book aimed explicitly at bartenders.

It's a technique bartender Theo Lieberman discovered in 2010 while working at Milk & Honey and Lantern's Keep in New York City and this is when what arguably would be better termed a "zested shake" was christened the "Regal Shake." The same technique can and is applied to stirred cocktails, which logic would dictate is termed a "Regal Stir."

The type of citrus fruit used will impact the cocktail differently, with lime and lemon zests more drying than orange or grapefruit. Indeed, different grapefruits: white, pink and red each contribute their own distinctive character.

Some argue that a Regal Shake is a shortcut to adding citrus oils using an oleo saccharum.

Theo Lieberman notably uses a grapefruit zest Regal Shake to make his Regal Daquiri. Others use lime zest in a Daiquiri, and as discussed on our best recipe Daiquiri page, some even shake a Daiquiri with a spent lime husk.

Classic cocktails employing this technique

Shaken/stirred with lemon zest

Japanese Cocktail (1860)
Deshler Cocktail (1916)
Tuxedo Cocktail No. 1 (1930)
Pablo Alvarez de CaƱas Special (1937)
Josephine Baker (1937)

Shaken/stirred with lime zest

White Lion (1862)

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