A cocktail shaker is an essential item on every bar equipment checklist-especially on National Cocktail Day. Whether you're learning how to become a mixologist or working as a bartender, you need a cocktail shaker to prepare your mixed drinks with tonic water. Cocktail shakers help prepare drinks by combining the cocktail ingredients while regulating their temperatures.
Maybe you're interested in trying out some basic bartending drinks at home or are ready to sign up for some mixology classes. This article covers everything you need to know about cocktail shakers. We'll define the three types of shakers, give you instructions for using one, and provide our top 10 cocktail shakers list.
What Is a Cocktail Shaker?
A cocktail shaker is a bartending tool designed to prepare cocktails and mixed drinks. It's a closed vessel that lets you mix ingredients while keeping them chilled at the same time. Shaking your drink lowers its temperature quicker than stirring. It repeatedly exposes ingredients to the surface area of the ice at a rapid rate.
In addition to mixing and chilling, a cocktail shaker properly dilutes your mixed drink. The ice inside the shaker melts as it mixes with your ingredients, adding a bit of water to the concoction. This step is important because it balances the stronger flavors and alcohol content to provide a smoother-tasting beverage.
How Many Types of Cocktail Shakers Are There?
There are three types of cocktail shakers: Boston shakers, Cobbler shakers, and French (or Parisian) shakers. Most professional bartenders and mixologists opt for Boston shakers when preparing cocktails, while many people include Cobbler shakers in their home bar essentials. The French cocktail shaker is another type that shares many features with the Boston shaker.
Here's a description of each of the types of cocktail shakers:
Boston Cocktail Shaker
The Boston shaker is the popular choice for professional bartenders and mixologists. It has a large shaker tin combined with either a small shaker tin or a pint glass that fits inside.
The bartender jams the large and small tins together to create a natural seal. It’s necessary to purchase the strainer and measuring jigger separately. You’ll definitely want to purchase a Boston shaker if you’re starting a bar.
Cobbler Cocktail Shaker
The Cobbler shaker is ideal for beginners because it's easy to use and includes everything you need. This shaker type has a tin, a lid with a built-in strainer, and a cap to prevent spills when you shake.
Cobbler sets are also known as three-piece sets for this reason. They are ideal for serving small groups of people with one or two cocktails at a time.
French Cocktail Shaker
The French shaker is a hybrid of the Boston and Cobbler cocktail shakers. The pieces of a French shaker fit together well, so you're less likely to have problems with leaks like the Boston shakers. It has a shaker tin and lid like the Cobbler shaker but without the built-in strainer.
How to Shake a Cocktail
Some cocktails must be shaken to elicit the maximum amount of interaction between ingredients. That's when your cocktail shaker takes center stage in the drink creation process. Here are five steps for how to shake a cocktail:
1. Fill the shaker with your ingredients and ice
Start by adding your ice and ingredients into the shaker tin. Use the smaller cup or pint glass if using a Boston shaker. Use a cocktail jigger to measure your pour, including other liquid ingredients.
2. Seal the shaker properly
With a Boston shaker, place the large shaker tin on your small tin or pint glass. Tap it firmly with the palm of your hand to make sure it's properly sealed. For a Cobbler shaker, place the cap on top and give it a gentle tap to shut it.
3. Shake your drink
Get a good grip on your shaker to avoid spilling the drink on yourself and everyone around you. Shake vigorously over your shoulder to properly mix your drink. You'll want to shake it horizontally for about 10-15 seconds or until you feel condensation forming on the outside of the shaker.
4. Open the shaker
If you're using a Boston or French shaker, you might need to give it a smack on the side to relieve pressure. Then you'll be able to separate the two pieces and open your shaker. With a Cobbler shaker, remove the cap on your shaker.
5. Strain the drink into a glass
Use a Hawthorne strainer with a Boston or French shaker before pouring the finished product into the appropriate glassware. If you have a Cobbler shaker, the built-in strainer will filter your drink so you can transfer it directly into a glass.
Best Cocktail Shakers
We've broken down our top 10 cocktail shakers into categories for Boston, Cobbler, and French shakers. There are recommendations for each type of shaker with a product description. Decide on the best fit for your bar and you’ll be making cocktails with prosecco, rum, and whiskey in no time.
Here's our list of top 10 cocktail shakers and shaker sets, organized by each type of cocktail shaker:
Boston Cocktail Shaker Sets
1. Cocktail Kingdom Leopold Weighted Shaking Tin Set
Cocktail Kingdom's Leopold tins come from 18/8 stainless steel and offer a lightweight feel for making cocktails. The set has a design that makes separation easier after shaking.
Professional mixologists and beginner bartenders have given this set good reviews, and we couldn't agree more. It would make a good addition to any commercial or home bar setup.
2. A Bar Above Two-Piece Craft Boston Shaker Set
This shaker is durable enough for busy bars and perfect for entertaining guests at home. Professional bartenders and mixologists have tested this Boston shaker and given it their stamp of approval.
Its two weighted shakers come from professional-grade stainless steel 304 and are safe for dishwasher cleaning. This set won't freeze or spill when you pour out your drink, making it perfect for experienced bartenders.
3. Barfly Shaker Cocktail Set
The experts from Barfly have designed their cocktail shaker set from heavy-duty 18/8 stainless steel to maintain its shape and provide durability. It makes the perfect addition to your bar supplies list when you're opening a bar, or it can make tasty drinks for your home bar.
This set provides 18 and 24 oz. tins, but avoid washing them in your dishwasher. The bottom offers insulation to keep your cocktails cold and hands warm while shaking.
4. Mixology & Craft Cocktail Shaker Boston Shaker Set
Here's a durable Boston shaker set that comes from stainless steel. Mixology & Craft designed it to last and stay strong against rust and leaks.
The set arrives in a compact tube container and includes some classic cocktail recipe cards, just in time to prepare some refreshing summer cocktails. It also includes a strainer and a Japanese jigger, and you can use the container to organize and transport it.
Cobbler Cocktail Shaker Sets
People new to making cocktail drinks at home usually own a Cobbler shaker. It's a three-piece set ideal for making a few cocktails, not a large amount required for commercial bar and restaurant operations.
However, some bartenders use a Cobbler for the hard shake, a style created by Japanese bartender Kazuo Uyeda and popularized in the United States by Eben Freeman.
5. Elevated Craft Hybrid Cocktail Shaker
Elevated Craft's shaker has an insulated double-wall design to keep your drinks cold. It has a high-capacity jigger top with a twist and lock feature.
This shaker prevents spills and helps you get your standard pour correct for your mixed drinks. The shaker comes from Pro-Grade 18/8 stainless steel for durability and has concave curves to eliminate the need for a two-handed grip.
6. Cresimo 24 Oz. Cocktail Shaker Set
Here's a three-piece mixing set with everything you need to create flavorful cocktail drinks. Cresimo's cocktail shaker set includes a stainless steel shaker with 24 oz. capacity and a built-in strainer.
You'll also receive a double size 1.0/0.5 jigger tool, a twisted bar spoon, and a cocktail recipe guide. You can wash it in the dishwasher without worrying about rust or warping.
7. OXO Steel Cocktail Shaker
OXO’s 18 oz. Cobbler shaker has double-wall stainless steel construction and a conical design for improved handling. It includes a jigger cap with 1 oz., 0.75 oz., and 0.50 oz. measurement markings.
This shaker features a built-in strainer and is insulated to keep its contents cold. Once you have this set, you’ll be testing out your margarita recipe before you know it.
8. Shaker 33
You can create professional cocktails with this Cobbler shaker in your own home. It's available in many colors and styles, offering leak-proof protection and lid-locking technology.
This design has a dual pouring system with two sides for straining. It has large holes for quicker pouring on one side and small holes on the other side for a finer pour.
French Cocktail Shaker Sets
9. The Elan Collective French Cocktail Shaker Set
Our pick for the best French shaker offers a stylish set that includes a 22 oz. stainless steel Parisian shaker. There's also a Hawthorne strainer and a Japanese-style jigger.
It functions similarly to a Boston shaker, with two tins that form an air-tight seal for mixing drinks. You also receive a card with recipes and tips to get you started.
All pieces come from durable stainless steel and are dishwasher safe. Its sophisticated appearance makes it the perfect accessory for your bar layout.
10. Viski Parisian Cocktail Shaker Set
The 25 oz. French shaker from Viski is a good choice if you want an eye-catching piece to go with your bar supplies. It comes from gold-plated stainless steel and brings a taste of French royalty to your bar collection.
It's durable and easy to clean, and the cylindrical shape offers a good grip for vigorous shaking. You could also purchase it as a gift for a bartender or mixologist and pair it with a bottle of rum, tequila, or vodka.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cocktail Shakers
Which Shaker Is Best for Cocktails?
Many professional bartenders and mixologists choose the Boston cocktail shaker. This shaker has a metal or stainless steel shaking tin and a mixing glass tin, but doesn't have a built-in strainer.
What Does a Cocktail Shaker Do to Alcohol?
A cocktail shaker mixes and chills drinks. Shaking cocktails with ice dilutes, aerates, and chills the drink. If you use egg whites or dairy, it adds a foam to the top of the contents.
What Is the Capacity of a Cocktail Shaker?
The average Boston shaker holds 28 oz. and the average Cobbler shaker has a capacity of 18-20 oz. Consider how many people you’re making cocktails for in one session. That’s why professional bartenders and mixologists typically choose a Boston shaker. A Cobbler shaker is better suited to prepare drinks for a small group of people.
Shake for Best Results
Whether you’re a professional bartender or just having a few friends over for cocktails this weekend, you want the best cocktail shaker in your bar collection. Shaking is a vital part of the process of creating delicious cocktails.
Decide which shaker is best for your needs and you’ll be delivering high-quality mixed drinks to your bar patrons or party guests in no time. A good cocktail shaker can help you enjoy the process of following cocktail recipes and raise your interest in learning mixology.
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