What Should I Consider When Buying a Cocktail Shaker?

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  • Written By: Brendan McGuigan
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 25 February 2020
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A cocktail shaker is a container, usually made of metal, used with a lid and strainer to mix alcoholic drinks. Some use a glass cup for part of the mixing as well. There are three main types of shaker: the cobbler shaker, the pitcher-shaker and the Boston shaker.

The cobbler shaker is a simple cocktail shaker that one sees in many homes as well as some bars. It contains the tumbler body itself, a lid that seals tightly and usually contains a built-in strainer, and a cap to cover the strainer opening. A cobbler shaker is very easy to use -- one simply adds ingredients, covers, shakes and pours. Because of the small size of the built-in strainer, pouring drinks through a cobbler shaker can take some time, which is why this type of shaker is not often used in high-traffic bars.

The pitcher shaker is essentially the same as the cobbler shaker, but rather than having a distinct tumbler, it uses a pitcher body as the tumbler. The advantage of a pitcher shaker is that cocktails may be prepared en masse and the pitcher may be left on a table for guests to serve themselves. The pitcher shape makes these shakers more awkward to use than the standard cobbler shaker, however, which has caused them to lose popularity in the last few decades.


The Boston shaker is a simpler type of cocktail shaker, and is preferred in most bars because of the speed with which drinks may be mixed and poured. It consists of a metal tumbler and a smaller glass tumbler, with an optional strainer that is not attached to the tumblers themselves. Many bars and individuals use a pint glass in place of the glass tumbler, making this in essence a one-piece cocktail shaker. Using a Boston shaker is slightly more difficult than using a cobbler shaker, but not by much -- ingredients are added, the glass tumbler is placed facing the metal tumbler and slapped to seal it, then shaken vigorously and poured through a strainer if no ice is desired.

In addition to the type of shaker, the quality of material is also an important consideration. Stainless metal tumblers are the preferred, with some cheaper nickel-plated tumblers also representing a good value. Some antique cocktail shakers are made of glass, and a number of reproductions of these glass shakers may be found.

Many novel shapes are available in cocktail shakers -- penguin shakers, fire hydrants, bullets and many other fun and whimsical shapes abound. There are shakers that play music, have built in stirrers, are adorned with ornate decorations and do virtually anything else you can conceive of. Ultimately, the most important thing to look for in a cocktail shaker is a price range you can afford and a manufacturer you trust.


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Post 3

Mary Jurek has a new cocktail shaker. If you're looking for collectibles, she designs a luxury line.

Post 2

If you are going for functionality I wouldn't suggest that you get a novelty cocktail shaker. Some of the great shapes they come in actually make it harder to mix the drinks and pour your beverages.

If you want novelty cocktail shakers I would recommend that you get them for display purposes only, and keep a normal shaker on hand. The novelty shakers are much like collectible salt and pepper shakers, they are really meant just to sit on the shelf and look interesting.

Does anyone know of some great collectible lines of cocktail shakers?

I have found a few blogs on the topic but would love to hear your opinion.

Post 1

If you are thinking of buying a cocktail shaker for your home bar, I would recommend a metal Boston shaker if you are new to mixing drinks.

I find that Boston shakers are easy to handle and the ability to use them with a glass makes your job a lot faster. They are also available in a variety of colors so you can find something that matches your décor.

For those who have a habit of breaking glasses, you can also get a shaker made out of plastic. These are a lot more durable and safer, especially if the bar tender is going to be drinking as well.

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