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A great cocktail shaker is the key to unlocking a world of drinks. Martinis, mojitos, piña coladas, margaritas, and more call for one. But here's the thing: There are tons of shakers on the market today and they come in all different shapes and sizes—the two main styles being cobbler and Boston.
For those who may not be familiar with the different types of shakers, the cobbler variety is a household favorite made of three parts: a tin, cap, and built-in strainer for keeping dirty ice, fruit chunks, and other extraneous ingredients out of your drink. You don't even need a jigger because the cap often measures 1 fluid ounce, which is equal to one shot. Typically made from tin, stainless steel, or glass, having a cobbler shaker around adds cocktail credentials to your bar cart.
The Boston shaker, on the other hand, is preferred by professional mixologists. A set consists of 12- and 28-ounce mixing tins (either glass or tin) that create a natural seal when fit together. This mixes drinks much faster and is easier to clean, although it does require more skill and accessories, such as a strainer, which must be purchased separately.
Read on to find our recommendations for the best cocktail shakers.
Best Overall: Cocktail Kingdom Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins
Loved by bartenders
Not easy for beginners to pick up
The Koriko shaker from Cocktail Kingdom features two weighted tins that fit inside each other to form a tight seal. One tin, the one you make your drinks in, holds 28 ounces while the smaller one holds 18 ounces. You'll have to purchase a Hawthorne or julep strainer separately. You can mix enough for two cocktails in these tins, and when you’re done, they're dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
Did we mention that they're also super durable? Jeremy Powers, a bartender at City Club in Raleigh, North Caroline, says, “I once saw a bartender drop both of the cocktails he was shaking. Lucky for him, both shaker sets were Koriko. Neither lost their seal or spilled a drop, even after bouncing on the floor. I've never used anything else since.”
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Cocktail Kingdom Leopold Weighted Shaking Tin Set
Tricky for beginners
Can be slippery when wet
The interesting thing about this shaker set is that it’s weighted. This makes it feel more stable and secure in your hands, so it's is less likely to slip when you’re shaking it. Fans love it's incredible high-quality, plus it cleans up in a snap. When you’re done making cocktails, you can wash it in the dishwasher. Then, the small cup stacks inside the big cup for easy storage.
Jonathan Stanyard, a bartender at Seattle’s Feast, swears by this cocktail shaker. He says, "It's classic metal on metal, helping to cool the cocktail quicker, and has a weighted bottom with a little rim, which helps with the grip."
Anthony Escalante, the bar manager at Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix, agrees. He says, “This tin is a front-runner. It’s reliable, constituent, and one of the most popular brands in the bartending world.”
"Cocktail shakers get a lot of use in my kitchen for things well outside of making drinks. I use them to make whipped cream (just add cream, sugar, and a couple small forks to agitate, and shake), extremely fluffy scrambled eggs, eggs for omelets, and even emulsifying vinaigrettes without having to break out the blender. Just make sure your shakers are the weighted variety and fit snugly before attempting any of these things.” — Oliver Sovol, Bartender at Hotel Fontenot's Peacock Room in New Orleans
Best for Beginners: Tablecraft Boston Shaker, 24 Ounces
Measuring lines are great for beginners
Lines fade in dishwasher
Top can be tough to get off
A cocktail shaker and a jigger are both essential parts of a bartender’s arsenal. This stylish one combines both to take the memorization out of mixology. After all, who wants to remember the exact ratios of every cocktail?
The transparent walls of this shaker provide guidelines for measuring out the ingredients for a martini, mojito, Long Island iced tea, margarita, or cosmopolitan. There’s even advice on how to garnish each drink. The measuring marks are ideal for the beginner bartender, but more seasoned mixologists will certainly get great use out of this, too. It's convenient making one, two, or three drinks at a time, and the lid even doubles as a jigger.
Measuring aside, this shaker is made with thick, durable glass and features a strong-sealing top that won’t slip loose while shaking. Hand washing is recommended to avoid the measurement marks fading.
"Not only is this shaker attractive and helpful for home bartenders, but it's also very durable. The glass is nice and thick, and the lid seals like a dream, so you don't have to worry about cocktail remnants flying about your kitchen while you shake." — Taylor Rock, Associate Editor
Best Double-Walled: OXO Good Grips Cocktail Shaker
Double-walled finish keeps drinks cold
Coated in non-slip material
Hand wash only
Real bartenders may find this clunky
OXO is known for making above-par kitchenware, so it’s no surprise its cocktail shaker is top-notch. Note the signature finish: Non-slip plastic coating smartly placed anywhere you’re likely to grip, twist, or squeeze. The entire top half of the cocktail shaker is covered in the material, so you can close, shake, and open it again with ease.
Unlike the majority of cocktail shakers available, this one has a double-walled finish, so cocktails stay chilled and ice melts slower, even if you let your freshly shaken cocktail sit in the vessel for a bit. The double-walled construction keeps the heat of your hands away from your cool drink.
Another smart feature is the jigger cap, which features indentations that measure out 3/4, 1, and 1.5 ounces. Keep in mind this shaker is hand wash only.
“Before the invention of the cocktail shaker in the mid 1800’s, the favored method of mixing drinks was tossing them back and forth between two glasses,” says Tony West, food and beverage manager at the iconic Driskill Hotel in Austin. “Supposedly, the shaker developed when someone (possibly an innkeeper) came up with the idea of putting the two glasses together. The result was much less mess and a bit of a show for bar patrons.”
Best Style: Elan Collective French Cocktail Shaker Set
Full set of tools included
On the smaller size
"While I will always be a fan of a cobbler shaker and love my mixing glass, I will always default to using a Parisian shaker,” says "Ghostbusters" director and founder of Artingstall’s Brilliant London Dry Gin Paul Feig. “To me, it’s the best combination of a Boston shaker and a cobbler. You get the solid seal of a cobbler—even better, sometimes, since I have several cobblers that leak when you shake aggressively—and the extra distance between top and bottom results in a great mix when you give it a good shake. It’s also simply the most elegant looking of all shakers and fits comfortably in your hands.”
This set comes packed with a high-quality 22-ounce brushed stainless steel Parisian shaker, double-sided Japanese jigger, and Hawthorne strainer. The jigger’s two ends have 2- and 1-ounce pourers.
“Use the best ice you can find when shaking a cocktail: thin, watery ice will make a thin, watery drink,” says West. “Good ice is frozen for many days and has a consistent shape and size. A cube one inch long on all sides is ideal. Be sure to shake for twenty seconds. The outside of the shaker tin should be frosty and cold to the touch.”
Best Copper: Kotai Copper Cocktail Boston Shaker Set
Boston shakers are tough for beginners
Strainer purchased separately
If you’re looking to add serious style points to your bar cart, opt for Kotai’s copper cocktail shaker. The attractive set comes with one 28-ounce copper-plated sturdy stainless steel tin and one 16-ounce glass with a tempered rim for extra durability. That tempered rim means the glass was heated and cooled to give it a strong, durable finish that won't crack or shatter.
If you’re a fan of delicious Moscow mules, display this shaker alongside the drink’s distinctive copper mugs. All you need is vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, and you'll be on your way to a good time. For mojitos, because the shaker is made from transparent glass, you can see what you’re muddling.
The tin is made from 18/8 stainless steel and finished without seams for a stylish, streamlined look. A strainer must be purchased separately.
“My advice to home bartenders is to take care of your tools,” says Christopher Struck, beverage director of ilili. “Hand washing and drying will extend the life of your tools, which you should absolutely invest in if you’re building out a serious home bar.”
What to Look for When Buying a Cocktail Shaker
Shakers come in a range of shapes and sizes. If you often craft cocktails for several people at once, consider a larger option that holds at least 28 ounces, which will give you plenty of room for your drink and a bounty of ice. If you just like an end-of-day martini, a standard 12-ounce shaker will do the trick.
While you may think any old shaker is fine, material makes a big difference. Lower-quality metals or coated metals will rust, tarnish, and chip over time, while higher-quality stainless steel will remain shiny and looking new after years of happy hours. Many folks like glass, but keep your situation in mind. Are you prone to dropping things? Maybe it’s best to skip the glass shaker.
The difference between a good shaker and a great shaker is the seal. After all, you don’t want your drink exploding all over you mid-shake. Testing out a shaker or reading the reviews will give you insight as to how strong the seal is.
How do you use a cocktail shaker?
Start off by filling your shaker with your cocktail ingredients, then add a generous amount of ice. Don’t skimp on the cubes, either. If you use less, the drink will dilute and warm more quickly. Seal the shaker and give it a generous shake until the sides are frosted over. This generally takes around 15 seconds. Strain to remove ice chunks and citrus seeds, and serve.
Is the top of a cocktail shaker an ounce?
If we’re talking about a cobbler shaker, the lid can often double as a jigger. These lids are usually an ounce, though larger cocktail shakers, like OXO’s cocktail shaker, will hold up to 2 ounces.
Which cocktails need to be shaken?
As a rule of thumb, any drink that requires citrus needs to be shaken. Why? When you activate the citrus via shaking, all of the bitterness is removed, leaving it light and frothy. Plus, citrus and spirits have very different densities. In order to properly integrate the two ingredients, you must agitate and blend by shaking. On the flip side, drinks that contain only spirits, such as a Negroni or Manhattan, are best stirred, although if you prefer yours shaken, it won’t ruin the drink.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Kate Dingwall is a freelance writer and sommelier whose work focuses on food, drinks, and travel. She is based in Toronto and holds a Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level III qualification. With a decade of bartending experience under her belt, she knows her way around a cocktail shaker.