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I’ve been known to give cocktail shakers as a gift on holidays and special occasions. It’s become my go-to gift because it enables the recipient to make mixed drinks whenever they please and it’s something that many households are lacking. However, it doesn’t have to be a celebration to get your hands on a cocktail shaker. Gift one of these babies to yourself simply because you deserve interesting cocktails without having to go to the bar.
Cocktail shakers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the two main types you should familiarize yourself with are the cobbler shaker and Boston shaker. The cobbler shaker is the most popular option for home chefs and beginners. It comes with three pieces: shaking tin, built-in strainer, and cap. The Boston shaker is what you’re most likely to see professional mixologists using. It has two shaking tins, one larger than the other. When fit together, they create a natural seal to prevent leaking. It does require a separate strainer, however.
Whether you’re a beginner or more advanced maker of mixed drinks, a cocktail shaker is a fun gadget to add to your bar cart. Mixing your own drinks is also a crowd pleaser and a unique party trick. If you want to add amateur mixologist to your resume, here are the best cocktail shakers currently available.
Best Overall: OXO Steel Cocktail Shaker
What We Love: Jigger has measurement markings, nonslip grip, double-walled for insulation
What We Don't Love: May be prone to leaking
With a single wall stainless steel cocktail shaker, the icy temperature of the drink transfers to the exterior when your hands hold the tin. This can make your hands feel uncomfortably cold. OXO’s Steel Cocktail Shaker is double-walled, eliminating this inconvenience. It keeps your drink chilled no matter the room temperature but doesn’t transfer that iciness to your hands when shaking.
The 9-inch-tall shaker has a large 18-ounce capacity, with a silicone seal between the top and bottom, and a sleek, modern finish. Not to mention the shaker has a built-in strainer to prevent ice from falling into glasses and a jigger cap with measurement markings for 1/2 ounce, 3/4 ounce, and 1 ounce. It is safe to put in the dishwasher.
Capacity: 18 ounces | Material: Stainless Steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: Shaker tin, built-in strainer, jigger cap
Best Budget: True Maraca Cocktail Recipe Shaker with Cap and Built In Strainer
What We Love: Seven recipes, affordable, measuring lines are great for beginners
What We Don't Love: Jigger cap doesn’t have measurement markings
With ounce markings and seven classic cocktail recipes featured on the outside of the shaker tin, this is the ultimate starter pick for beginners on a budget. Learn how to make Long Island iced tea, Cosmopolitan, margarita, mojito, tequila sunrise, gin martini, and Kamikaze cocktails like a pro by referencing the side of the tin.
This model holds the standard 16 ounces worth of liquid and has the three essential parts of any good cobbler shaker: shaker tin, strainer lid, and jigger cap. Though it’s made of transparent plastic, it has a unique design with markings on the side. However, the jigger cap itself does not have measurements.
Capacity: 16 ounces | Material: Plastic | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: Shaker tin, strainer lid, and jigger cap
Best Boston Shaker: True Advance Stainless Steel Boston Shaker
What We Love: Can make multiple drinks at once, easy to clean, preferred by professionals
What We Don't Love: Strainer and measuring cup must be purchased separately
Cocktail coach and mixologist Erin Petrey has tried dozens of cocktail shakers during her career and has found this one by True Brands to be the best she’s ever used. "Separating the two shaker tins is effortless but it still provides a very tight seal. It is very lightweight and it has been my sidekick during the hundreds of cocktail classes I’ve taught," she says of her top choice.
While a cobbler shaker has its advantages, she prefers a Boston Shaker like this one. "The Boston variety of shaker is superior to the cobbler models for a number of reasons but mainly because it’s easy to use and is perfect for when you need to do a dry shake," explains Petrey. "I also love the stainless steel because it is so easy to clean and holds up well with extensive use."
Capacity: 18 ounces, 25 ounces | Material: Stainless Steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: Two shaker tins
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Best Mini: Newness Stainless Steel Cocktail Shaker with Strainer and Lid Top
What We Love: Durable construction, resistant to rust, only requires one hand to shake
What We Don't Love: Only yields 6-ounce drinks, top doesn’t have measurement lines
A large cocktail shaker isn’t necessary for making one drink at a time. This small model by Newness has an 8.4-ounce maximum capacity, but it can only make 6-ounce drinks to leave room for ice. It’s perfect for making single martinis.
While most cocktail shakers require two hands to shake thoroughly, this one only requires one. It’s even suitable for people with smaller hands. Those looking for a cocktail shaker built to last will appreciate the high-quality, durable construction of this shaker. It’s made with food-grade stainless steel that is resistant to rust, dishwasher-safe, and easy to clean.
Capacity: 8.4 ounces | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: Shaker tin, built-in strainer, lid
Related: The Best Drinking Glasses
Best Set: NutriChef Cocktail Bar Drink 15-Piece Set
What We Love: Restaurant-quality kit, includes many accessories, affordable
What We Don't Love: Leaking may occur
This 15-piece set comes with everything you need to get your home bar started. The two stainless steel shaker tins come together to form a Boston cocktail shaker that is easy to clean.
While a jigger and strainer are essential for mixing cocktails, this set includes accessories that are nice to have. The six pour spouts make it easy to pour liquids slowly, and the booklet contains more than 100 recipes and tricks. However, some users have experienced leakage and spilling, so the two shaker tins must be securely fitted together to avoid this.
Capacity: 15 ounces, 30 ounces | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: Two shaker tins, jigger, strainer, bar spoon, bottle opener, six pour spouts, booklet
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Best Copper: Cambridge Silversmiths Copper Faceted Cocktail Shaker
What We Love: Leakproof lid, incredibly stylish, durable
What We Don't Love: Hand wash only, small capacity
Copper is not only a visually attractive material for cocktail shakers, it’s also a durable one. This one by Cambridge Silversmiths is made with stainless steel and a copper finish. The result is a combination of style and functionality.
Seasoned cocktail shaker users will know that leakage is a big deal. Think about it—when you’re vigorously shaking several ounces of liquid, the last thing you want is for it to end up all over your clothing and kitchen counters. This lid is made with a leakproof design to curb that frustration. However, it is not recommended to be placed in the dishwasher, and cobbler shakers can be difficult to clean by hand.
Capacity: 10.7 ounces | Material: Stainless steel and copper | Dishwasher Safe: No | What's Included: Shaker tin, lid
Related: The Best Citrus Juicers
The OXO Steel Cocktail Shaker (view at Amazon) is our top pick for those looking for a cobbler shaker. It’s stylish, easy to use, and double-walled. For those drawn to Boston shakers as the professionals use, the True Advance Stainless Steel Boston Shaker (view at Amazon) comes highly recommended by an experienced mixologist.
What to Look for When Buying a Cocktail Shaker
Boston Shakers vs Cobbler Shakers
Boston vs Cobbler is the Pepsi vs Coke debate of cocktail shakers. This comes down to personal choice and skill level since both options have their advantages and drawbacks. Professionals are more likely to use a Boston shaker as this is usually reserved for more advanced users. A Boston shaker is easier to clean, has a larger capacity, and is more efficient to use. If you plan on making a large volume of drinks at once or want to mix drinks like the pros, consider a Boston shaker.
A cobbler shaker is more commonly used in home settings, though they’re not as easy to clean. They usually contain three core pieces: the shaker tin, a built-in strainer, and a jigger cap. If the cap has measurement markings, they’re even easier to use. This is a sound option for beginners.
Stainless steel is among the most common materials used to make cocktail shakers, though plastic, copper, and glass are also options. High-quality stainless steel is durable, resistant to rust, and stylish. Stainless steel shakers will last for years and won’t break if you drop them. Plastic shakers might stain or warp, and glass, of course, can break.
Handwashing may extend the longevity of your cocktail shaker, but many are dishwasher-safe for convenience. If you plan on handwashing, Boston shakers are easier to clean since the openings to the shaker tins are wide. Cobbler shakers are known for being difficult to clean since many have a built-in strainer and small opening.
How long do you shake a cocktail?
To ensure your drink is thoroughly mixed and chilled, shake vigorously for around 10-15 seconds. The tin itself will become frosty from the ice, and this allows enough time for your drink to cool down and become perfectly diluted.
Can you use a shaker for any cold drink?
Cocktail shakers are ideal for chilling and mixing cocktails like a martini, gin and tonic, daiquiri, margarita, cosmopolitan, sidecar, and more.
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Lacey Muinos is a food and product writer for Simply Recipes. She covers health and wellness topics with a specialty in food. As a self-proclaimed foodie, she has an impressive collection of kitchen tools which includes her reusable straws.
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