Creating the perfect shisha cocktail - Part 2

August 15, 2021

Image of man aerating shisha cocktail in hookah bowl

In last month's blog article, we looked at some of the more common ways that you can mix multiple shisha flavours or brands in the same bowl. For this month we're going to step things up a bit by explaining some advanced mixing techniques, as well as some tips and tricks you can use when making shisha cocktails.

Shisha cocktails: Layering

As the name suggests, layering is when you fill your hookah bowl with layers of different shisha flavours or brands. The benefit of using the layering method is that the flavour profile will change throughout your shisha session, with the top flavours being more noticeable at the start and then progressing to the bottom layers. Layering also gives you control over the potency of flavours, so you can use weaker flavours as the top layer and harsher, more potent flavours towards the bottom of the bowl. This is a direct result of the proximity of the shisha to the heat source (hookah charcoal), with the bottom layers taking longer to heat up and combust. For laying it's best to stick to 2 different shisha flavours/brands with a 50/50 split, as 3 or more flavours/brands is pretty much the same smoking experience as blending.

You can also take advantage of gravity with the layering technique by placing a wetter shisha as the top layer and allowing the glycerine/molasses/sugar syrup to drip down into a drier shisha base as it heats up and becomes less viscous. Your first thought is that this wouldn't be much different to using the blending method with a wet and dry shisha combination, but by layering you're adding a dry absorbent barrier to prevent the glycerine/molasses/sugar syrup from running down the hookah stem. This is really handy when you have wet shisha and don't have access to a phunnel bowl.

Shisha cocktails: Aerating

Aerating is a tricky cocktail technique to master, but it has its benefits. Aerating is similar to the sectioning method, with the distinction being how tightly or loosely you pack certain shisha flavours. The science behind the aerating technique is that the looser you pack shisha, the more airflow is possible, and therefore the shisha burns faster and delivers a more potent smoke flavour. To take advantage of this, pack the sections of shisha looser that you want to be more noticeable, and pack the shisha tighter that you want more subtle. How do you do this? You can weigh out your shisha first so that tighter packed flavours weigh more relative to the volume of the hookah bowl they take up. Then use a stoker or toothpick to aerate the looser section and fluff up the shisha. You can also place the shisha coals asymmetrically so that you have more heat above the looser packed sections. This is a bit of wastage with the aerating method since the sections won't burn evenly.

Shisha cocktails: Tips & Tricks

The next time you're thinking about making some shisha cocktails, remember these helpful tips and tricks:

  • When blending, pack the different shisha flavours into the bowl first to work out the correct quantity, then dump it onto a plate to perform the blending
  • The blending technique is best suited for contrasting shisha flavours/brands
  • The sectioning method is best suited for complimentary flavours/brands
  • Use the layering or aerating techniques when you want to alter the potency of flavours
  • Use the layering technique when you have a really wet shisha and need to stop the glycerine/molasses/sugar syrup from running down the stem pipe

If you've enjoyed this blog article, be sure to check out Creating the perfect shisha cocktail - Part 1 if you haven't already.

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