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The Boston shaker is the go-to shaker for professional bartenders, because of its capacity, efficiency, and speed. The shaker's ubiquitous presence has become part of the bar experience where the bartenders slam the tins together for a tight seal before they shake the ingredients together. That move can be intimidating for a newbie to attempt. Plus, how do you separate the tins once you're done shaking? Seems only the pros have mastered that magic touch, knowing where to hit the tins where they join together to dislodge the seal.
With a market oversaturated with shakers -- even Ralph Lauren has a Boston shaker -- finding the best ones for your needs, whether you're an amateur home bartender or a seasoned pro, can be tough. Lucky for you, we've combed through the vast selection of shakers and found the best Boston shaker in every category.
Best Budget: Barillio Boston Shaker Cocktail Shaker Set
Amazingly, you get so much in this Barillio shaker set for such an affordable price: two sturdy weighted shaking tins (18-ounce and 28-ounce capacity), a 20ml/40ml jigger, a pocket-size recipe booklet, and even an ebook version to access on your phone. The tins, which are made from high-quality stainless-steel grade and reinforced with an extra layer of metal, snap together for a tight seal. If the silver color isn't doing it for you, the set is also available in gold, copper, and even a very stylish black finish. Just make sure to handwash this set to promote its longevity.
Best for Beginners: Cocktail Kingdom Leopold Weighted Shaking Tins
The Boston shaker already has a steep learning curve for newbie bartenders. Specifically, how do you break the seal without spraying cocktail everywhere? Fortunately, Cocktail Kingdom's Leopold tins, which are available in small (18 ounces) and large (28 ounces) sizes, are known to be easier to separate than bartender-favorite Koriko, also a Cocktail Kingdom product. Plus, the lip at the bottom of each tin makes it easier not only to set down quickly on the bar but to grab and hold onto, inspiring enough confidence to attempt a dry shake. The Leopolds are made with stainless steel and are dishwasher safe, unless you opt for the copper- or gold-plated ones, which are pricier at about $10-$15 more.
Best Overall: Cocktail Kingdom Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins
The Koriko tins are the preferred shakers of many pro bartenders and top many best-of lists. The smaller tin has an 18-ounce capacity, while the larger tin can hold 28 ounces. But together they can shake up two cocktails. These professional-grade tins are available copper-plated, gold-plated and stainless steel. "Koriko has by far the tightest seal, the heaviest bases and easiest tins to snap open without injuring your thumb," says Gabriella Mlynarczyk, Los Angeles bartender and author of Clean + Dirty Drinking. For Christian Suzuki-Orellana, bartender of Wildhawk in San Francisco, weighted tins took a toll on his body. But this wasn't an issue with the Korikos. "I find them easier to use than other tins I’ve used. The thickness of the tin contributes to the ease of shaking with them," he says.
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Best Design: Modern Mixologist Tin on Tin Shakers
For shaking cocktails at home, Allan Katz of Jammyland in Las Vegas, prefers the Modern Mixologist stainless-steel tin on tin shakers. "It’s an all-together luxury experience at a really good price," he says. Part of a bar tool line designed by Modern Mixologist and cocktail legend, Tony Abou-Ganim, the two-tin shaker isn't just comfortable to hold but it's well-constructed. "It's solid top and bottom. The weight’s integrated," Allan explains. "No welded/glued bases to fall off with heavy use and age. The walls of the tins are stout, but they seal so easily and the action of cracking them open is slick. It’s gratifying." The set includes a 26-ounce tin and an 18.75-ounce shaker cup.
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Best Seal: A Bar Above Two-Piece Pro Boston Shaker Set
After working in hospitality and growing frustrated with the quality of bar tools out there, A Bar Above founders Chris Tunstall and Julia Tunstall decided to design their own. This Boston shaker set was "designed by a disgruntled bartender to be the best." It pairs a larger weighted tin with a smaller unweighted one to provide rigidity and a watertight seal, making it easy to seal and to open without struggling or spilling a drop. The weighted tin's bottom is welded all the way around to ensure it won't ever weaken causing the weight to fall off. The tins are made from high-quality food-grade stainless steel that is durable enough to last you for years, through commercial dishwashers and high-volume bars.
Best Weighted: Barfly Basics Cocktail Bar Set
Barfly creates professional-grade barware that appeals to both the pro bartender and the home drinkmaker. This set comes with all the tools you'd need to equip your bar: two shaking tins, a Hawthorne strainer, a double-sided Japanese jigger and a barspoon. The two weighted shaker tins (18- and 28-ounce capacity) can take on the rigors of a high-volume bar, thanks to its heavy-duty 18/8 stainless-steel construction with a satin-finish interior that hides wear and tear. Both tins fit together for a watertight seal but also are easy to separate after shaking. The set is available in five different finishes: antique copper, copper, gold, gunmetal black, and stainless steel. There's also a variety of sets on offer, from the basic four-piece to a deluxe set that includes 13 pieces and a "mixology bag" to take the show on the road.
Best Glass: Libbey 3-Piece Boston Cocktail Shaker Set
Bar pros are well acquainted with Libbey, a top glassware manufacturer in the U.S. that makes high-quality but affordable barware. And this three-piece Boston shaker set is no exception. The sturdy 20-ounce mixing glass is decorated with measurement markings and classic cocktail recipes for a margarita, whiskey sour, and more. It snaps into the stainless-steel tin and comes with a Hawthorne strainer so you're ready to shake up cocktails right out of the box. The stainless-steel tin and glassware are easy to clean, just stick them in the dishwasher.
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Best Set: Crafthouse by Fortessa Boston Shaker Set
This stylish four-piece Boston shaker set, which was designed by James Beard award-winning bartender Charles Joly, features all the tools a first-time home bartender needs and a cocktail enthusiast won't mind doubling up on: a stainless-steel two-tin Boston shaker, a 11.5-inch black walnut muddler, a 2-ounce jigger, and a Hawthorne strainer. Unique and thoughtful details include mid-century-style ridges on the tins for an easier grip while shaking and a pour spout on the jigger for controlled pours. The smaller tin can hold 17.5 ounces and the larger one 24.25 ounces, but the shaker can accommodate two cocktails. Since the shaker, jigger, and strainer are made of stainless steel, they are dishwasher safe. However the muddler must be handwashed and dried immediately.
Best Gift: Coley Shaker
The ultimate cocktail nerd will swoon over this unique Boston shaker inspired by cocktail historian David Wondrich and Cocktail Kingdom owner Greg Boehm's private collections. It was actually based on the two-piece English shakers that were used in bars over 100 years ago. The heavyweight two-piece shaker, which is made to an exacting standard for easy separation, can hold up to two drinks. Giving it cocktail cred is its name, which hails from Ada "Coley" Coleman, a famous turn-of-the-century British bartender who worked at The Savoy in London and invented the Hanky Panky cocktail. Since this good-looking shaker has a silver-plated finish, it should only be handwashed.
It comes down to bartender favorite Cocktail Kingdom Koriko shakers (view at Amazon) and the Modern Mixologist shaking tins (view at The Modern Mixologist). But even though the Modern Mixologist tins are solidly constructed, with a thoughtful design created from a lifetime of bartending experience, its girth may not be comfortable for those with small hands. The Cocktail Kingdom Koriko, however, has been vouched for by top bartenders and is a workhorse mainstay at many bars.
What to Look for in a Boston Shaker
Look for a Boston shaker that is backed up with positive reviews for being durable with a watertight seal that is easy to snap together and open. Also, you'll want to consider whether you prefer to pair the shaking tin with a mixing glass or another tin. Some prefer the glass since it allows them to see the ingredients, while others prefer the second tin because it's lighter. Finally, choose one that suits your aesthetic, whether to match your home bar decor or your style.
What's the difference between a Boston and Cobbler shaker?
The Boston shaker consists of two tins or one tin and a mixing glass that are then sealed together to shake ingredients together. The Cobbler shaker is made up of a base, a built-in strainer and a small cap atop the strainer. The Boston shaker is the preferred tool for pro bartenders because of its efficiency, while the Cobbler shaker is popular among novices for its user-friendliness.
Is the Boston shaker harder to use?
Boston shakers are only more difficult for beginners in terms of having to seal and then unseal the two parts of the shaker. If you don't master this, there's the danger of a leak spilling your drink everywhere. And unlike a Cobbler shaker, which comes with a built-in strainer, you need a separate strainer when pouring out your drink. Pro bartenders can strain and pour one-handed, while most people feel comfortable using one hand to hold the strainer in place and the other to pour the liquid out of the shaker.
How do you properly clean a Boston Shaker?
You'll want to handwash your tins with warm water and soap. As with your best knives, it's generally recommended that you don't put them in the dishwasher as they may get damaged. The mixing glass part of the shaker, which resembles a pint glass, can be washed in the dishwasher, however.
How long does a Boston Shaker last?
A Boston shaker will last as long as its two parts can create a seal. This is why you wouldn't want to bang the shaker on the bar to break its seal. Doing so may dent the metal or break the mixing glass, rendering it incapable of creating that vacuum seal.
Why Trust Liquor.com?
Cocktail writer Caroline Pardilla not only frequents cocktail bars where she gets to admire all the pro bar tools but loves shaking up cocktails at home.
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