Those new to making cocktails at home are probably familiar with the Cobbler shaker: It's the three-piece cocktail shaker that's usually either gifted to home bartenders or already adorning their bar carts.
But in most cases, you'll rarely see a professional bartender using one. "They suck for making a lot of cocktails quickly," says Josh Goldman, owner and beverage director of Peruvian restaurant Yapa in Los Angeles. "Plus, most I’ve ever used either lock up or freeze up when trying to separate the top from the strainer, over and over again." They work better for making the occasional cocktail at home, he adds.
But a few bartenders do use the Cobbler shaker for the hard shake, a style of shake created by Japanese bartender Kazuo Uyeda and popularized in the U.S. by bartender Eben Freeman.
But we made sure our list below focuses on those shakers that stand out in each of their categories for home use, instead of high-volume cocktail bars. When you are in the market for one of these shakers, we recommend the Elevated Craft Cocktail Shaker.
Here, the best Cobbler shakers so you can make your favorite refreshing cocktails.
Best Overall: Elevated Craft Cocktail Shaker
Using this sleek, thoughtfully constructed Elevated Craft cocktail shaker with its screw-on top makes you wonder why you ever bothered with a regular Cobbler shaker in the first place. It's pricey, but it'll be the only one you'll ever need and buy.
The vacuum-insulated, double-walled construction does mute the satisfying rattling of ice cubes while shaking—but it also keeps your drink cold without freezing your hands. And because it's larger than the average shaker with a 25-ounce capacity, it can take on four drinks at a time, perfect for camping or picnicking. But one of its most impressive features is the integrated measuring lid, which ranges in measurements from 0.3 ounces to 6 ounces.
Best Budget: OXO Good Grips Cocktail Shaker
Generally, a Cobbler shaker isn't something you want to cheap out on; the quality can mean the difference between cocktail everywhere and in your glass. But if you're looking to spend less than $10 because you're not ready to invest in a home bar just yet, the OXO Good Grips Cocktail Shaker is a good way to go.
OXO has been making affordable, well-designed houseware items for more than 30 years. Unlike the average cocktail shaker, this one has a double-walled design to insulate the cocktail. It also has a jigger cap with fill lines for 3/4, 1 and 1 1/2 ounces, as well as a nonslip cap for slip-free shaking and easy opening.
It measures 3.2 by 3.4 by 9.1 inches and can hold 16 ounces.
Best Splurge: Birdy Cocktail Shaker by Erik Lorincz
For the home bartender who only wants the absolute best, there's this super-stylish cocktail shaker designed by legendary bartender Erik Lorincz, former head bartender of The Savoy's American Bar. Lorincz was trained by Kazuo Uyeda, master of the hard shake, and fell in love with the Japanese-style Cobbler shaker, collaborating with Birdy to create his own.
The shaker comes in two sizes (12 ounces and 16 ounces) as well as two finishes: stainless steel and a so-called bourbon finish, which is only available in England (view at Star Shaker).
"I love the weight of them (that's very much a bartender thing)," says Sebastien Derbomez, William Grant portfolio ambassador. "They are heavy enough that you feel in control when you shake—not like the cheap stuff they sell in liquor stores."
Related: The Best Cocktail Shakers
Best Design: Cocktail Kingdom Usagi Cobbler Shaker
Want to master the hard shake? Invest in this three-piece Cocktail Kingdom Usagi Cobbler shaker, which was created for that particular style of shake. It's made up of the standard Cobbler parts of a lid with an integrated strainer, cap and tumbler. But its size makes it easier to shake with confidence, and it's also easy to separate.
This shaker's compact size and rounded shoulders allow you to whip the cocktail around for optimum aeration. The Usagi can hold 28 ounces, or two cocktails at once.
Best Seal: Shaker33
The fact that the Kickstarter campaign for the Shaker33 was so successful in raising more than $30,000 shows that the fundraiser's description of an "easy-to-open, leak-free, smooth-pouring" cocktail shaker really resonated with home bartenders. No one likes the traditional Cobbler shaker's lid, especially having to fight to keep it on while shaking—and then struggling to unstick it.
The Shaker33's locking top not only ensures a confidence-inspiring watertight seal, but it's also easy to remove. Measuring 11.5 by 4.2 by 4.1 inches, the 24-ounce shaker is constructed from shatterproof BPA-free plastic, making it light enough to practice your flashiest moves.
Plus, you have the option of two different pours thanks to the patented dual-pour strainer: One side features small holes for a fine strain, and the other has larger ones for a fast pour.
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Best for Beginners: Rabbit Twist to Lock Cocktail Shaker
This Cobbler shaker, which is made by the same company behind the award-winning lever corkscrew (view at Amazon), takes care of all the issues that usually plague home and pro bartenders alike. You don't have to worry about the lid either flying off while shaking or freezing shut afterward, thanks to the twist-to-lock leakproof cap and strainer.
The double-walled stainless steel also prevents frostbitten hands and warmed-over cocktails, and the angled spout allows for a controlled pour. And you're all set for one-stop cocktail making, thanks to the free-standing jigger and integrated strainer. The stainless-steel 18-ounce shaker measures 3 by 3 by 9.3 inches and is handwash-only.
Related: The Best Bar Tools
Best Gift: Absolut Elyx Copper Cocktail Shaker Gift Box
You'll want to be present when your giftee opens this gorgeously packaged three-piece cocktail shaker. Its copper exterior is embossed with an ornate damask pattern, making it a standout conversation piece of any bar cart. But that vintage-style beauty is also backed up by stainless-steel sturdiness and a design by cocktail experts.
However, because the shaker is copper-plated, it should never be thrown in the dishwasher but instead hand-washed and thoroughly dried. The 25-ounce shaker measures 9.4 by 3.6 by 3.6 inches. If for some reason your giftee doesn't want it, the Absolut Elyx boutique offers hassle-free 30-day returns.
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Best Unique: BrüMate Shaker Pint
BrüMate's travel-friendly 20-ounce shaker is not only shatter-proof and leakproof, but it's also one you can drink out of—and it even comes with a drinking lid to accommodate that.
Choose from eight finishes to match your mood or aesthetic, including lavender, aqua mermaid, rainbow titanium and polished silver. The shaker lid can also be purchased on its own, and, because it fits on BrüMate's line of Imperial pint tumblers, your color options open up even more.
Thanks to its tight seal, you can even turn the shaker upside down and the lid and liquid stay put. And with triple-insulated walls, your drink stays cold and your hands warm while shaking and drinking.
Related: The Best Jiggers
We like the Elevated Craft Cocktail Shaker (view at Huckberry) and BrüMate Shaker Pint (view at Amazon) because both feature insulated walls to protect your hands from the freeze and tight seals to prevent cocktail leakage. Plus, both allow you to take your cocktail making on the go. Go for the BrüMate Shaker Pint if you like to switch out a color for every mood. If you're going picnicking with friends or family, The Elevated Craft Cocktail Shaker's 25-ounce capacity and built-in measuring lid make it a great choice.
What to Look for in a Cobbler Shaker
You'll want a Cobbler shaker that's leakproof but easy to open—usually the sign of a well-made, quality shaker. Also, Cobbler shakers are available in a variety of sizes. The standard size, which is around 28 ounces, is large enough to shake up two cocktails. But there are also smaller sizes, which are perfect for small hands, as well as larger sizes (one even accommodates 110 ounces). Most importantly, you'll want one that feels comfortable in your hands. And make sure to pick one that appeals to your sense of style or that matches your home bar decor.
What is the differece between a Cobbler shaker and a Boston shaker?
The Cobbler shaker is made up of three components: a base, a built-in strainer and a small cap atop the strainer. The Boston shaker only has two pieces: two tins (generally a large 28-ounce one and a smaller 18-ounce one) or one tin and a mixing glass that are then sealed together to shake ingredients together. The Cobbler shaker is more popular with novices, and therefore it's more prevalent in home bars. The Boston shaker, however, is the preferred style for the professional bartender because of its efficiency and larger capacity.
Is the Cobbler shaker easier or harder to use?
The Cobbler shaker is considered a beginner-friendly shaker because it's easy to assemble and comes with a built-in strainer. The only potential issue is that once it gets cold, it contracts, which may make it difficult to unstick. This can be remedied by running the shaker under warm water.
How do you properly clean and care for a Cobbler shaker?
If your Cobbler shaker is plated, such as with gold or copper, it's best to handwash it so as not to destroy its finish. But there are a few stainless steel shakers that can be washed in the dishwasher; just check the shaker's washing instructions to confirm this.
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Caroline Pardilla has been writing about cocktails for nearly 15 years. Not only does she frequent cocktail bars where she gets to admire all the pro bar tools, but she also loves shaking up cocktails at home.
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