There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it: For the majority of cocktails you make at home, you need a cocktail shaker.
Obviously spirit-forward drinks, such as a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned, necessitate stirring, but by and large, if you’re making a multi-ingredient cocktail, you’re going to need to shake it up. Don’t believe us? Check out one of our many cocktail roundups for proof. We’ll wait.
As we said. You’re going to need a shaker. There are, however, different kinds of shakers out there, so that’s why we’ve put together this guide to let you know what kind of shaker to get (and what our recommendations for those shakers are.)
While there are basically two types of shakers, there are literally thousands of options out there. Really. When you search “cocktail shaker” on Amazon, you are given straight-up thousands of different choices. Essentially all of them are eith Boston shakers and Cobbler shakers.
Boston shakers are made of two vessels, a smaller 16-ounce one that resembles a pint glass (but is not, in fact, a normal pint glass, as mixing glasses are created specifically for Boston shakers) and a larger 28-ounce metal tin. Depending on the bar and the bartender, you might also see a 16-ounce metal tin accompanying a larger metal piece. If you need to use a normal pint glass, you can, but you just have to remember that it was created differently. When using a Boston shaker, you will need a strainer of some sort, such as the Koriko Hawthorne Strainer from Cocktail Kingdom, to properly transfer your drink from shaker to glass. Boston shakers are also great, as you can use them to stir cocktails when needed.
If you need a standard metal Boston shaker set, look no further than Top Shelf Bar Supply. If you’re looking for something of a higher quality — maybe for a gift for the budding mixologist in your life — check out this set made by Crafthouse by Fortessa.
The second kind of shaker is the cobbler shaker — a three-piece outfit that features a shaker (varying in size), a lid with a strainer built in, and a cap. These are convenient to have at home as they’re easier to use (and if you’re not used to a Boston shaker, less intimidating) and come equipped with a strainer.
If you’re looking for a standard cobbler shaker, you can’t go wrong with Barware Styles, which comes with its own jigger for measuring. The Belmont by Viski, on the other hand, is good for when your home bar is as much a showpiece as it is a place for work and play. There are also mason jar shakers, which have come into popularity in the last few years.
Finally, one of our favorite cobbler shakers — for the fact that it’s heavy duty and perfect for camping — is the Stanley Happy Hour Shaker. Every piece locks into place and it comes with its own juicer, as well as four cups. If you like cocktails and the outdoors, this is the one for you.
Now, get shaking.
Article originally published March 19, 2017. Last updated July 17, 2018.