Which cocktail shakers are best?
Fancy cocktails have become so popular in the last decade that they’re now staples at many bars and restaurants worldwide. However, you don’t have to be a modern-day mixologist to enjoy homemade cocktails, especially if you have the right cocktail shaker. If you have access to fine spirits and other top-notch ingredients, you can shake up everything from a classic margarita to a crisp, cool dirty martini. With so many options to choose from, the BrüMate 20-Ounce Stainless Steel Cocktail Shaker is the top choice for making professional-quality drinks at home.
What to know before you buy a cocktail shaker
Cocktail shakers come in several designs and degrees of difficulty to use by a home mixologist, but with the right one, making cocktails is a breeze.
How to use a cocktail shaker
Shaking your cocktails has a few intended purposes: to completely mix all the ingredients, chill the cocktail and dilute the spirits. Once you add your ingredients (spirits, cordials, sugar, juice and other mixers) to the tumbler, fill the tumbler with ice, tightly secure the lid and grab the sealed shaker with one hand on each end. Shake your ingredients for 15-20 seconds (or longer for more viscous ingredients) before straining the drink into a chilled glass. Congratulations, you’ve made a cocktail!
Types of cocktail shakers
There are three common types of cocktail shakers, each of which has its own advantages and drawbacks.
- Boston shaker: This is the industry standard for professional bartenders. It’s made with two tins with weighted bases, one smaller and one larger. It doesn’t have a built-in strainer, so it requires a separate Hawthorne-style strainer to pour the finished drink into its glass. It requires a bit more training or practice to master without getting messy, but it produces high-quality results.
- Cobbler shaker: This shaker consists of a large metal tin with a cap and a built-in strainer. It’s the most popular shaker for home bartenders, thanks to its ease of use and simple cleanup. However, it takes longer to shake and strain, and the strainer holes are typically larger, which may allow some unwanted materials into the finished drink.
- Parisian or French shaker: This less-common strainer is a two-piece hybrid of the Boston and Cobbler shakers. Like the Cobbler, it’s easy to use and clean, but it requires a separate strainer like the Boston. It’s visually stylish, but it has a higher chance of freezing shut. Parisian shakers are also less readily available to consumers.
Cocktails you can make with a cocktail shaker
Shaken cocktails typically incorporate more non-spirit ingredients, like citrus juice, flavored syrups, olive brine and other mixers. Popular shaken cocktails include the classic daiquiri, cosmopolitan, gin gimlet and whiskey sour.
What to look for in a quality cocktail shaker
Most cocktail shakers are made from metal, most often stainless steel. The metal interacts with the ice and liquid to accelerate the chilling and dilution and produce a frothy texture. Some cheaper shakers are made with plastic or glass, making them prone to breakage and giving them a shorter lifespan, whereas stainless steel is unbreakable and rust-proof.
The size of your cocktail shaker is relative to the amount of liquid you want to shake. Smaller shakers are perfect for a single drink while larger shakers are well-suited for making multiple drinks. A 16- or 20-ounce shaker is ideal for both scenarios, so they are quite common and easy to find.
Design and versatility
Whether you’re looking for a beginner’s approach or you have professional bartending experience will help determine which design best suits you. Parisian and Cobbler-style designs are a bit easier to manage for a first-timer, but they might not be ideal for more complex cocktails with non-liquid ingredients. On the other hand, a Boston-style shaker can be used to make drinks that incorporate solid ingredients like fresh herbs or whole spices. Look for a shaker that best fits the type of drinks you plan to put on your home cocktail menu.
How much you can expect to spend on a cocktail shaker
Quality Boston and Cobbler shakers run between $20-$50 with some higher-end shakers costing $60 or more. Parisian cocktail shakers are generally more expensive, usually between $30-$70.
Cocktail shaker FAQ
Can I use a shaker to make stirred drinks?
A. Yes, but a thick-walled mixing glass produces much better results both in dilution and mouthfeel.
Where can I find shaken cocktail recipes?
A. There is no shortage of cocktail recipe books available on the shelves of professionals across the world. Also, there are plenty of reliable recipes available online.
What are the best cocktail shakers to buy?
Top cocktail shaker
What you need to know: For a great entry-level shaker, this BrüMate shaker is one of the best you can find. Plus, it’s a customer favorite for its striking visual aesthetic.
What you’ll love: Triple-insulated construction keeps your drinks ice cold without condensation, and with several available colors, it’s easy to find one that matches your style.
What you should consider: Some users report that the leak-proof lid still leaks after repeated use.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top cocktail shaker for the money
What you need to know: For less than the cost of a high-end shaker, this set comes with extras that make drink-making easier.
What you’ll love: The set includes a stirring spoon for lightly mixing ingredients or making strong spirit-forward drinks and a jigger for accurate measurement of your drink’s components.
What you should consider: The shaker isn’t insulated, making it prone to condensation and freezing shut.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: If you’re a pro or semi-pro bartender, this set is a more user-friendly alternative to Cocktail Kingdom’s popular Koriko shaker tins.
What you’ll love: This shaker set is designed to separate easier than other Boston shakers, and the durable stainless steel is rustproof and dishwasher-safe.
What you should consider: Like similar shaker tins, this set requires a separate strainer. It’s also prone to condensation.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Matt Fleming writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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