Look, we love whipping cream by hand: it's simple, it's thrifty, and it makes us feel like plucky homesteaders out west. The thing is, it's also hard work. Even if your bowl is perfectly chilled and your whisk up to snuff, you're still in for a solid five minutes of whipping like mad until your cream hits soft peaks. Or until your arm falls off. Whichever comes first.
That's why, when we need a cloud of fluffy, pillowy whipped cream -- but not enough to warrant our stand mixer -- we take a cue from bartender Jim Meehan. Remember that time everyone tried whipping cream in Mason jars? Meehan's trick is similar in theory (i.e. pour cream in a container and shake), but with the help of two surprising bar tools, it actually works -- and you can do it in 30 seconds, flat.
1. Measure the good stuff into a cocktail shaker.
For a single-serving drink, Jim Meehan uses a jigger to pour out exactly 3 ounces of cream -- but feel free to just eyeball it. We're talking whipped cream, not rocket science, here. The only caveat? Never fill your shaker more than halfway full, as cream will double in size when whipped.
2. Sweeten the deal.
Drizzle in a little simple syrup (for whipped cream, use equal parts boiling water and sugar). It's best to tread lightly, as you'll always be able to sweeten your whipped cream afterward.
3. Repurpose your cocktail strainer.
Jim Meehan's secret weapon is the spring of a Hawthorne strainer. Pull it off and throw it in the shaker -- once you get things moving, it'll act like a whisk and do the dirty work for you.
4. Shake it like a Polaroid picture.
Close your cocktail shaker and shake. Vigorously.
5. This is your moment of glory...
After 30 seconds, you'll have a shaker full of dreamy whipped cream. Go forth and dollop on everything.