Do I Need a Cocktail Shaker?

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The Spruce Eats / Zackary Angeline

If you have any interest in mixing up cocktails at home, you’re definitely going to need a shaker.  Shaking is a crucial step when making many of the world’s most popular cocktails. That’s right, margaritas, daiquiris, Moscow mules, and many of the world’s most beloved cocktails require shaking to be made properly.

Why shake cocktails?

Shaking a cocktail with ice accomplishes three significant objectives. First, it fully mixes and emulsifies the ingredients and achieves a uniform consistency. Secondly, as the cocktail is shaken, the ice chills it and melts, diluting the drink slightly. And Finally, as the ice moves back and forth in the shaker with the ingredients, it introduces tiny air bubbles into the drink, which improves the texture of the cocktail and helps soften the bite of citrus juice. If not properly shaken, cocktails just don’t look or taste right.

Cocktail Kingdom Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins RW tests

The Spruce Eats / Kate Dingwall

What kind of cocktails need to be shaken?

The rule of thumb used by most bartenders is that if a cocktail contains citrus juice, dairy, or egg whites, it needs to be shaken and not stirred.  Vigorously shaking cocktails with these ingredients instead of stirring them ensures that they are all properly mixed together. Stirring a cocktail just doesn’t agitate the ingredients enough to form a properly homogenous mixture.

What are the different styles of shakers?

The two most common styles of cocktail shaker are the Boston shaker and the Cobbler Shaker.  The style of cocktail shaker that most drinkers are familiar with is the Boston shaker. This style of shaker is comprised of two metal tins, one smaller than the other that fit together and create a seal. They’re a simple tool that’s easy to clean, which is why they’re what professional bartenders tend to prefer behind the bar. The only complication is they require a separate strainer for straining the drink.

Tablecraft Cobbler Shaker with Measurement Guide RW tests

The Spruce Eats / Elise Wojczyk_Wang

The second most popular type of shaker is the cobbler shaker. Instead of two tins, the cobbler shaker consists of one large tin, a lid with a built-in strainer, and a cap that fits over the strainer when shaking. Cobbler shakers are often preferred by beginners because the strainer is already part of the shaker. No need to purchase a separate strainer. It’s a great choice for people who may just want to dip their toes into the world of mixology before diving in headfirst

Cocktail Kingdom Set of Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins

Cocktail Kingdom Set of Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins

Cocktail Kingdom

When looking for a shaker, the biggest consideration is which type of shaker is the best fit for your needs. Out of the many Boston shaker sets available, the Koriko from Cocktail Kingdom has a reputation as an industry favorite. It’s easy to see why this shaker is preferred among mixologists—It’s one of our favorites, too. It’s well-designed, simple to use, and best of all, easy to clean. Boston shakers like the Koriko also have the added benefit of being large enough to make multiple portions of a cocktail in the same shaker at the same time. No wonder professionals love it.

Tablecraft Stainless Steel Top Cobbler Shaker 24 Ounces

Tablecraft Cobbler Shaker with Measurement Guide


For beginners, we recommend the Tablecraft Cobbler shaker. Cobbler shakers are often preferred by beginners because the stainer is built into the shaker itself. Beyond the included strainer, the Tablecraft does a lot to make home bartended easy for beginners. It comes with a handy guide printed on the side that provides recipes and measurements for a handful of popular cocktails. Like the Koriko, it’s also easy to use and clean. Just be careful not to lose the cap!

Should I buy a cocktail shaker?

So, you’re going to need a shaker. Whether you prefer to go the more professional route and pick up a Boston shaker set, or you opt for the all-in-one cobbler shaker, shaking a cocktail is a skill that every home mixologist should have in their arsenal. After all, what kind of host would you be if you couldn’t mix up the perfect margarita?

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Dylan Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based writer who specializes in spirits, cocktails, and coffee with hands-on experience visiting distilleries and bars all through the US, Europe, Mexico, and the Caribbean. He is also a long-time hospitality professional with experience tending bar, opening cafes, and working in specialty coffee.