The Best Cocktail Shaker: A Must-Have for Your Home Bar

Last Updated on March 17, 2024 by David Michael

The Best Cocktail Shaker: A Must-Have for Your Home Bar

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A cocktail shaker is the cornerstone of any home bar, allowing you to create delicious and perfectly mixed drinks. With so many options available in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best cocktail shaker for your needs. We guide you through the different styles of cocktail shakers and help you find the perfect one. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced mixologist, having a reliable cocktail shaker is essential for crafting impressive cocktails.

Here’s the quick list of my favorite Cocktail Shakers:

Cocktail Kingdom Leopold Weighted Shaking Tin SetJump to ReviewSee on Amazon
A Bar Above Two-Piece Pro Boston Cocktail ShakerJump to ReviewSee on Amazon
Barfly Double Wall Insulated Cocktail ShakerJump to ReviewSee on Amazon
Georg Jensen Sky Cocktail ShakerJump to ReviewSee on Amazon
Stelton Cylinda Line Cocktail ShakerJump to ReviewSee on Amazon
The Tending Box by Alessi – Parisienne Cocktail ShakerJump to ReviewSee on Amazon

Benefits of Using a Cocktail Shaker

When it comes to making cocktails with different densities of ingredients, a cocktail shaker is your best friend. It not only mixes the drink but also emulsifies the ingredients, resulting in a smooth and silky beverage. Drinks containing eggs, dairy, or thicker fruit juices particularly benefit from shaking. Additionally, the cocktail shaker cools and aerates the drink using ice, ensuring a refreshing and well-mixed concoction. With its built-in strainer, the shaker effortlessly strains the drink, leaving it perfectly chilled and ready to be enjoyed.

Different Styles of Cocktail Shakers

There are primarily three main styles of cocktail shakers available today, each with its unique features and advantages.

Boston Shaker: Simple and Rewarding

The Boston shaker consists of two pieces: a weighted metal tumbler and a second tumbler made of glass or metal. To use it, the two tumblers are fitted together to create a tight seal. While it may require some practice for first-time users, the effort is undoubtedly rewarded. The Boston shaker allows for excellent control over the cocktail-making process and is a favorite among professional bartenders.

Cobbler Shaker: Convenient and Beginner-Friendly

The Cobbler shaker is often referred to as the classic cocktail shaker. It consists of a tumbler with a tight-fitting lid that has a smaller cap. Cobbler shakers are commonly made of metal but can also be found in glass variants. The lid of the Cobbler shaker includes a built-in strainer, making it a self-contained solution for mixing cocktails. This style of shaker is particularly suitable for casual mixing and beginners, as it is easy to use, open, and clean.

French or Parisienne Shaker: The Hybrid Option

The French shaker combines features of both the Boston and Cobbler shakers. Similar to the Cobbler shaker, it consists of a tumbler with a lid, but it does not have a built-in strainer. The French shaker offers the versatility of the Cobbler shaker while allowing for more control over the straining process. With the French shaker, you have the flexibility to use external strainers for specific cocktail recipes.

Choosing the Best Cocktail Shaker for Your Needs

When selecting a cocktail shaker, it’s important to consider various factors to ensure it meets your specific requirements. Here are some key considerations:

1. Purpose and Frequency of Use: Determine whether you’ll be using the shaker for occasional entertaining or frequent cocktail-making. This will help you choose a shaker that suits your usage patterns.

2. Materials and Durability: Consider the materials used in the construction of the shaker. Stainless steel shakers are popular due to their durability and ability to retain cold temperatures.

3. Size and Capacity: Shakers come in various sizes, so consider the volume of cocktails you’ll be making. If you frequently entertain guests, a larger shaker may be more suitable.

4. Ease of Use and Cleaning: Look for shakers that are easy to assemble, open, and clean. Shakers with detachable parts or dishwasher-safe components can make the cleaning process hassle-free.

Based on our testing, customer reviews and expert recommendations, here are six highly recommended cocktail shakers:

Cocktail Kingdom Leopold Weighted Shaking Tin Set

My bartender friend John won’t do a shift without these Boston Shakers. The 18 and 28 ounce tins fit together tightly, and are easy to open. The flange at the bottom gives you something to hold onto, and helpfully prevents the shakers from getting stuck together when you nest them. The high polished 18/8 stainless steel is even dishwasher safe.

There is a learning curve to using a Boston shaker. Getting the right seal and opening the shaker takes a little practice, but is easily mastered. We feel it’s worth the time to learn to use a Boston shaker.

Cocktail Kingdom Leopold Weighted Shaking Tin Set

A Bar Above Two-Piece Pro Boston Cocktail Shaker

This two piece Boston style shaker is made from stainless steel. The larger 28 ounce tumbler is weighted. The smaller 18 ounce tumbler is not weighted. This is the configuration that most prefer as the unweighted tin is a bit more flexible. That bit of flex means opening a stuck shaker is much easier. This is a high quality shaker. It forms a tight seal. Made from food grade 304 stainless steel, this set is also dishwasher safe.

Boston shaker tumblers can also be used as a cocktail mixing glass with the addition of a mixing spoon.

Boston Shaker Set

Barfly Double Wall Insulated Cocktail Shaker

I use this cobbler style shaker all the time. This is a great shaker if you’re not sure which to get. The insulated tin keeps the exterior from getting too cold to handle, and prevents condensation from forming. This has a silicone gasket to keep things from leaking. Built in strainer means you’re holding everything needed to fix a drink. The high quality stainless steel is dishwasher safe, the other colors need to be hand washed. Any left over drink will stay cold until you can top off your glass.

Barfly double wall insulated cocktail shaker

Georg Jensen Sky Cocktail Shaker

Georg Jensen is synonymous with high style and quality. The Sky cocktail shaker is a luxury shaker made in a mirror finish stainless steel. A bit smaller with a 16 ounce capacity, it still is able to handle two drinks at a time. The organic form is surprisingly ergonomic. The manufacturer recommends hand washing this shaker.

Georg Jensen Sky Cocktail Shaker

Stelton Cylinda Line Cocktail Shaker

Stelton makes some of the best form follows function Scandinavian design products. The Cylinda cocktail shaker designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1967 is an outstanding example. Made of high quality stainless steel with a satin finish, this classic Cobbler style shaker is as beautiful as it is functional. This shaker has an ingenious removable strainer. This is a good sized shaker, about 25 ounce capacity. I recommend hand washing this shaker to protect the gasket in the lid. I personally have owned this cocktail shaker and the matching drink mixer and ice bucket for over 25 years, and they still look as good as new. I Highly recommend Stelton, they have been at the forefront of quality and design for decades.

Stelton Cylinda Cocktail Shaker by Arne Jacobsen
Stelton Cylinda Cocktail Shaker by Arne Jacobsen

The Tending Box by Alessi – Parisienne Style Cocktail Shaker

Everything I own by Alessi is top quality. This French style cocktail shaker is no exception. Mirror finished stainless steel with a hand knob on the smaller part of this shaker. At 16 ounces this is on the smaller side. My favorite use is serving the cocktail in the smaller part – it makes a perfect stemmed cocktail glass.

Alessi The Tending Box GIA26 - Parisienne Design Cocktail Shaker, with One Lower and One Upper Glass with Knob, in 18/10 Stainless Steel, 50 cl

Remember to choose a cocktail shaker that aligns with your preferences and budget while prioritizing functionality and durability.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a cocktail shaker is an essential tool for any home bar enthusiast. Whether you opt for the simplicity of a Boston shaker, the convenience of a Cobbler shaker, or the versatility of a French shaker, each style has its advantages. Consider your specific needs, such as ease of use, cleaning, and the types of cocktails you’ll be making, when selecting the best cocktail shaker for you. With the right shaker in hand, you can elevate your mixology skills and craft impressive cocktails with ease.

Happy shaking and enjoy your adventures in mixology. Cheers!

Test out your new shaker with some recipes that use a cocktail shaker; check out our recipes for:
Whiskey Sour
Sidecar
Chocolate Martini

If you’re looking for a bar set check out our post Best Bar Sets For Your Home
Need some inspiration for what to make? Check out our cocktail index: Mixologist Playground – Our Cocktail Recipe Index

FAQs

1. How do I clean a cocktail shaker?
Cleaning a cocktail shaker is simple.
After each use, disassemble the cocktail shaker and rinse it with warm water to remove any residue. Use a brush or sponge to gently scrub the interior and exterior of the shaker. If there are stubborn stains, you can create a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap to clean it thoroughly. Rinse the shaker again with warm water and dry it with a clean towel or let it air dry before reassembling it for storage.

2. Can I use a cocktail shaker for non-alcoholic drinks?
Absolutely! Cocktail shakers are not limited to alcoholic beverages. They can be used to mix a wide variety of non-alcoholic drinks, including mocktails, refreshing fruit punches, and homemade lemonades. The shaking process helps to blend the ingredients and create a well-balanced and flavorful drink.

3. What is the difference between a cocktail shaker and a blender?
While both cocktail shakers and blenders are used to mix drinks, they serve different purposes. A cocktail shaker is primarily used for combining ingredients and chilling the drink by incorporating ice. It is ideal for creating shaken cocktails with a smooth and balanced texture. On the other hand, a blender is designed to blend ingredients together, creating a more uniform and blended consistency. Blenders are often used for frozen cocktails or drinks that require the incorporation of ice or frozen fruits.

4. Are cocktail shakers dishwasher-safe?
The dishwasher-safety of cocktail shakers depends on the materials they are made of. Stainless steel shakers are generally dishwasher-safe, but it is recommended to check the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure. However, shakers with glass components or delicate finishes may require hand washing to maintain their integrity. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for the appropriate cleaning method.

5. Can I use a mason jar as a cocktail shaker?
While it is possible to use a mason jar as an improvised cocktail shaker, it’s important to note that mason jars may not have the same functionality as dedicated cocktail shakers. They may not provide a tight seal, which can result in leaks during shaking. The glass may not have been designed to withstand the force of shaking with ice. Additionally, mason jars usually lack built-in strainers, making it necessary to use external straining methods. For the best cocktail-making experience, it is recommended to invest in a purpose-built cocktail shaker.

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