- It’s easy to make delicious cocktails for you and guests if you own a durable, leak-proof shaker.
- An industry favorite, the Koriko Weighted Shaking Tin Set quickly makes cold, smooth drinks every time.
- See also: Where to buy alcohol online
With the right equipment, making your own cocktails at home is easier than you’d think.
If you’re making a cocktail with citrus juice, egg whites, or cream, you’ll need a cocktail shaker to fully combine all the ingredients. “Ultimately, shaking lightens a drink – both through dilution and aeration – so it works better for fresher, brighter drinks (sours, fizzes),” said Ryan Chetiyawardana, the Global Bar Innovator of international hospitality company Lore Group and founder of cocktail bar Silver Lyan.
Cocktail shakers come in two forms. A Boston shaker is what you see professional bartenders slinging at your favorite cocktail bar. It’s made up of two metal tins that are jammed together to create a natural seal, and you usually have to buy the measuring jigger and strainer separately. A cobbler shaker, on the other hand, has three pieces: a metal tin (sometimes with interior measuring lines), cap, and built-in strainer.
The bartenders we spoke to unequivocally recommend Boston shakers because they’re light, durable, and chill their contents quickly. After testing, we also prefer Boston shakers, but some people like cobbler shakers for their built-in parts and attractive look so we’ve included both styles to give you the full range of options.
As for how to shake, everyone develops their own style – just don’t be shy about shaking aggressively, and shake long enough (usually about 15 seconds) for the tin to frost up. According to Jarrett Holborough of 12 Cocktail Bar, “you can shake your cocktail any way as long as your ice is hitting all four sides of the tin.” Find more cocktail shaking tips and cocktail shaker FAQs answered here and learn how to use a shaker in this 5-minute video below:
To test the best cocktail shakers, we made daiquiris (a standard test for bartenders) and blood orange whiskey sours with each contender, comparing cocktail smoothness, temperature, and volume. We also evaluated the ease of use, seal tightness, and durability of each shaker. See our full testing methodology here. After many cocktails made and enjoyed, we determined the top four cocktail shakers for home bartending.
Here are the best cocktail shakers of 2021:
- Best cocktail shaker overall: Cocktail Kingdom Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins (Set of 2)
- Best cobbler cocktail shaker: BrüMate Shaker and Tumbler
- Best cocktail shaker on a budget: OXO Good Grips Cocktail Shaker
- Best cocktail shaker for beginners: Crafthouse by Fortessa Boston Shaker
We made one daiquiri and one blood orange whiskey sour (recipes below) in each cocktail shaker. For each cocktail, we noted and compared the following:
- Taste, consistency, and smoothness: Whether the ingredients were incorporated evenly and if the cocktail tasted balanced.
- Temperature: How cold the cocktail was after shaking.
- Volume: The final volume after shaking, to see the effect of the shaker on ice melt and dilution.
An example of our test results:
|Product name||Daiquiri||Whiskey Sour|
|OXO Steel Cocktail Shaker||
Cold, didn’t seem to mix all the ingredients super evenly – some sips were very rum-y while others were more citrusy
Volume: ⅝ cup
Really thick (too thick) and even foam, smooth, cold, again didn’t seem to mix all ingredients super evenly
Volume: 1 cup (lot of dilution?)
To test seal strength and overall durability, we filled each shaker with 5 oz. water and ½ cup of ice, created a tight seal or closed the lid (depending on whether it was a Boston or cobbler shaker), and dropped it on concrete ground from shoulder height three times. We noted if the seal broke, scratches and dings to the shaker, and other durability issues.
To test ease of use, we noted the size, weight, feel, comfort, and any leakage of each shaker.
Daiquiri recipe used:
- 2 ounces light rum (Bacardi)
- 1 ounce lime juice (fresh-squeezed)
- ¾ ounces simple syrup
- ½ cup ice
Blood orange whiskey sour recipe used:
- 2 ounces whiskey (Kikori)
- 1.5 ounces blood orange juice (Stirrings)
- 0.5 ounces lemon juice (fresh-squeezed)
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 1 egg white
- ½ cup ice
The best cocktail shaker overall
Beloved by bartenders everywhere, Cocktail Kingdom’s no-frills Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins create consistently smooth and cold cocktails. The tins fit together well to create a leak-free seal and they’re comfortable to hold and shake.
Pros: Doesn’t leak, light and sturdy construction, frosts up quickly, practical size, affordable
Cons: Strainer and jigger not included, exterior may get uncomfortably cold
The Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins look deceptively simple, but as is the case with many of the best products out there, straightforward, thoughtful design and durable construction lead to top results.
In our cocktail making tests, the tins evenly mixed all the ingredients, taking the harsh edge off liquor and bringing out the subtle brightness of citrus juices. The final daiquiri and whiskey sour were mellow, balanced, and delicious.
The two tins fit well together with little effort, no aggressive jamming necessary. They never leaked while shaking, and even after I dropped them a few times from shoulder height, their seal stayed intact. These drops led to light scuffing and tiny dings, but nothing substantial. The tins were also the easiest to pop open after shaking.
It only takes a couple seconds of shaking for the tins to frost up, and the contents get really cold: it made the coldest daiquiri and the second-coldest whiskey sour of all the contenders. The tins themselves are lightweight and comfortable to shake, but they can get uncomfortably cold since there’s no added insulation.
If you’re looking for efficiency and ease of use, Koriko’s tins deliver. Keep in mind that you still need to buy a strainer and jigger separately. They also come in gold-plated, copper-plated, and matte black versions if you like those styles, but they’re not dishwasher-safe.
The best cobbler cocktail shaker
The sturdy BrüMate Shaker is triple-insulated to provide a condensation-free shaking experience and keep your cocktail cold in case you don’t drink it right away. It also doubles as a tumbler and comes with a lid for convenient enjoyment.
Pros: Doubles as drinking vessel, triple-insulated, built-in strainer, variety of colors
Cons: Doesn’t come with jigger, strainer doesn’t always catch small pieces of citrus and ice
The Brümate Shaker and Tumbler was the most durable and substantial cobbler shaker we tried that also didn’t leak. It gets its contents really cold and decently integrated (though not as much as our Boston shaker picks).
I loved that the triple-insulated walls kept the exterior comfortably dry as I shook the shaker. Usually, frost is an immediate indication of whether the drink is getting cold enough. It’s hard to tell by feel alone with the Brümate, but in our temperature tests, it got just as cold as drinks made in non-insulated shakers.
Unfortunately, the cap doesn’t double as a jigger, like with some cobbler shakers, but there is a built-in strainer. All the parts fit together well and don’t leak during shaking or pouring. For my whiskey sour test, the strainer didn’t catch the smallest pieces of lemon and ice. It’s not the biggest deal breaker if you don’t need the most perfect drink every time; just know your cocktail may have stray ice or citrus from time to time.
This shaker is great for casual or outdoor drinking if you want to drink directly from the vessel rather than pouring it out into a new glass. Because of the insulation, it’ll stay cold, and it comes with a lid to protect your drink. The bottom is reinforced with a non-slip grip material to prevent spills whether it’s set on a kitchen countertop or outdoor deck.
If you drop the shaker while shaking, it will break apart and spill the contents on the floor. However, the actual parts are strong and won’t suffer any damage.
The best cocktail shaker on a budget
Low-cost materials and a flawed jigger design prevent the OXO Good Grips Cocktail Shaker from reaching full effectiveness. It makes a cold, integrated cocktail, but we’d only recommend it if you don’t want to spend more than $10 or don’t make cocktails often.
Pros: Affordable, lightweight, easy to shake, double-insulated, built-in strainer
Cons: Materials aren’t durable, strainer doesn’t always catch small pieces of citrus and ice, jigger design is messy and doesn’t include useful measurements
It can be pricey to build a bar cart of equipment and ingredients. Whether you’re a casual entertainer who doesn’t anticipate daily happy hours at home or you’re new to cocktail making and don’t want to splurge right away, OXO’s Good Grips Shaker is a solid, budget-friendly option. If you’re more serious about home bartending, we recommend investing in one of our other picks.
The shaker is comfortable to hold and the top section is coated with a non-slip material, making it even more difficult for your hands to lose their grip as you’re shaking. Since it’s made from plastic instead of the usual stainless steel, it’s light and easy to shake.
Surprisingly, this shaker, despite being made of plastic, also got the contents really cold. The final cocktails didn’t taste as smooth or balanced, and that’s likely because there isn’t enough space for all the ice and ingredients to move around in the small shaker. Still, they didn’t taste bad at all.
The cap has handy (in theory) measurement markings for ¾ oz., 1 oz., and 1.5 oz. I would’ve found it even more useful if it had a ½ oz. marking, which is also common in recipes. In addition, the 1.5 oz. mark sits too closely to the top edge of the conical cap, meaning you have to be extra careful and slow as you pour ingredients in or they risk spilling out. Lastly, if you do choose to use the cap as a jigger, it could make the rest of the shaker slightly sticky once you flip it over and reattach it as a cap.
The best cocktail shaker for beginners
Enter the world of cocktail making confidently with the Crafthouse by Fortessa Boston Shaker Set, which is designed by a professional bartender with typical user pain points in mind. It comes with an effective Hawthorne strainer, which means less shopping around for individual parts.
Pros: Designed by an expert, doesn’t leak, frosts up quickly, sturdy construction, includes strainer
Cons: Jigger not included, harder to pop open than the Koriko
For the uninitiated, the Crafthouse tins feel approachable since they’re a little smaller than average, ergonomic, and conveniently include a well-made strainer.
Like the Koriko tins, this Crafthouse set helps make consistently smooth, cold, and delicious cocktails. It’s a little heavier and thicker than the Koriko, but I liked that the bottoms have ridges to provide a better grip while shaking. The tins fit into each other well but were slightly harder to release from each other than the Koriko set.
The tins frost up within a couple seconds of shaking and get really cold, in fact yielding the coldest whiskey sour of all the contenders (29°F). It also produced a nice, even layer of foam that wasn’t too thin. While shaking, there was no leakage, and the tins didn’t break apart in my drop tests.
The included Hawthorne strainer was also excellent: the coils fit inside and the wings fit over the large tin comfortably, and all the tiny holes strained the contents completely. You can complete the set with the jigger, which is two-sided and has all the appropriate and common measurements.
What else we tested
What else we recommend and why
Barfly Basics Cocktail Shaker Set: We loved the look and sturdy construction of this complete Boston shaker set (includes a jigger, bar spoon, and strainer), though the shaker tins are less flexible and more difficult to pop open. They made smooth and cold drinks that tasted a bit brighter and citrus-forward than other contenders and didn’t leak during shaking or pouring.
Huckberry Elevated Cocktail Shaker: This 25-oz. cobbler shaker is large, rugged, and able to make up to four drinks at a time. Its measuring cap only measures in 1 oz. increments, and it was the only cobbler shaker we tried that had a screw-on top, which guaranteed against leakage. Though it mixed drinks evenly, we think it’s ultimately best for travel or group situations due to the design.
What we don’t recommend and why
OXO Steel Cocktail Shaker: OXO’s sturdier steel shaker option leaks a lot during both shaking and pouring, unless you hold it closely and carefully at the seam. It’s too much of a sticky mess to deal with when you can get more versatile, leak-proof options at the same price — like the Brumate.
What we’re testing next
Cresimo Boston Cocktail Shaker Set: The Cresimo set is popular on Amazon and looks like it could be a Koriko dupe thanks to the similar specs and design. Adding even more value, it comes with a jigger and strainer.
Rabbit Twist-to-Lock Cocktail Shaker: We’re interested in taking a closer look at the twist-to-lock function, which solves the leakage issues of most cobbler shakers. It’s made from double-walled stainless steel that should keep the outside condensation-free while making an icy-cold drink inside.
Cocktail shaker and home bartending FAQs
Why do you need a cocktail shaker in the first place? Can’t you just stir the drink?
“As a general rule of thumb, cocktails that contain only spirits are stirred,” said Charles Joly, a Diageo World Class bartending champion, official bartender for the Oscars and Emmys, and founder of Crafthouse Cocktails. “Stirring chills, dillutes, combines ingredients, and adds texture, but that last point is the big difference. Stirring doesn’t aerate the cocktail like shaking does.”
Stir: Cocktails containing only spirits, like a Negroni, Manhattan, or martini (“Yes, James Bond was wrong, you do not shake a martini,” emphasized Ivy Mix, partner at FIASCO! Wine and Spirits and head bartender and co-owner of cocktail bar Leyenda).
Shake: Cocktails containing citrus, egg white, and other non-alcoholic ingredients, like a daiquiri, whiskey sour, or Cosmopolitan.
What’s the difference between a Boston shaker and a cobbler shaker? Which one is better?
A Boston shaker has two parts — two tins that you push together to create a natural seal. The measuring jigger and strainer are distinct parts and may be sold separately or as part of a larger Boston shaker set. A cobbler shaker has three parts — one large tin, a much smaller top piece that is screwed on or placed on top and contains a built-in strainer, and a cap. Sometimes the cap or smaller top piece has interior measurement markings so it can double as a jigger.
Functionally, cobbler shakers are more likely to leak and they’re smaller, making it harder to shake and “whip in sufficient amounts of air,” according to Chetiyawardana. But because they have a built-in strainer and you don’t need to learn how to create a natural seal, they may be more approachable and convenient to use for some people.
Boston shakers could have a learning curve because you must place one tin in the other at the correct angle in order to create a tight seal. However, well-designed and sized Boston shaker tins should fit perfectly in each other and are also easy to release. They’re also really durable, and in our durability tests, they suffered the least damage. When dropped on the ground, they hold all the contents in. Even if you have a too-vigorous shaking session and the shaker slips from your hands, your cocktail will still be safe. Like most professional bartenders, we prefer the Boston shaker.
How do you shop for a cocktail shaker? What are the most important features?
Material: Stainless steel is the standard. It’s durable and relatively lightweight, and when shaken with ice, it helps get your drink very cold, very quickly. It’s also easy to clean and dishwasher-safe.
Size: Consider how many people you’re making cocktails for in one session. The average Boston shaker tin holds 28 ounces and the average cobbler shaker holds 18-20 ounces to serve one drink. If you regularly entertain, it could be worth looking for a shaker with a larger capacity. And, if you have small hands, look for more narrow tins.
Included accessories: To make a cocktail, you need a shaker, jigger, and strainer. Does the set you’re buying have all three parts? Are you comfortable shopping for a jigger and strainer separately, or would you prefer if they came in the set? A cobbler shaker partly solves this problem because it has a built-in strainer and sometimes the cap has measurement lines.
How do you shake a cocktail shaker? How long do you shake it?
Be vigorous. “The key is you want to shake it awake, not rock it to sleep…I recommend channeling your inner quarterback and really getting some movement in there, being sure to put a hand on the top and the bottom of the shaker so nothing explodes,” said Mix.
Our experts recommended anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds and explained that the exact duration can depend on the ingredients, amount of ice, and specific cocktail. The biggest thing to remember is that you need to shake until the outside frosts up.
For a Boston shaker, insert the small tin into the larger tin at an angle so that you create a flat line on one side. Apply some pressure to seal, and hold the shaker with two hands. “I like to keep my pointer and index finger on the top of the outside tin and my thumb over the top of the tin closest to me,” said Joly.
What brands do bartenders like and use?
“Cocktail Kingdom is tried and true and I also love Charles Joly’s Fortessa Shaker,” said Mix. Holborough also cited Cocktail Kingdom, while Joly recommended Eric Lorinz’ Birdy shaker. Chetiyawardana favors Japanese and German brands in general.
Some final tips and tricks
- If using a Boston shaker, shake with the small tin facing you. In case of any leakage, the liquid will land on you instead of your audience.
- If you want to make a cocktail but don’t have a shaker on hand, you can always use Tupperware or a jam jar, said Chetiyawardana. “A shaker simply gives you comfort and control.”
Dry shake: Shaking cocktail ingredients together without ice, typically done for cocktails containing egg white or cream. The higher temperature lets the ingredients mix together better and create more aeration, resulting in a thicker foam.
Wet shake: Shaking cocktail ingredients together with ice, which help dilute and chill the drink.
Jigger: A small, usually two-sided measuring cup that you use to measure and pour liquid ingredients. The standard size is 1.5 ounces on one side and 0.75 ounces on the other. There may be additional, smaller markings inside.
Hawthorne strainer: A common type of strainer that is flat and has small holes, a spring on one side, a finger tab or indentation on the other side, and sometimes side wings. It’s placed spring side down over the opening of the shaker.
Muddler: A tool used to mash fruits, herbs, or spices to bring out their flavors. Drinks like mojitos and mint juleps require muddling.
18/8 stainless steel: A type of stainless steel that is made up of 18% chromium and 8% nickel. It’s extremely resistant to corrosion and commonly used in commercial food processing equipment.
Check out more of our home entertaining guides and stories, including cocktail recipes and where to buy alcohol online
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