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Shaken, or stirred? If it’s the former, you’ll need a sturdy cocktail shaker. “Essentially, there are three different styles of cocktail shakers: glass-on-tin Boston, tin-on-tin Boston, or cobbler,” explains Brandon Lockman, lead bartender at Portland’s Red Star Tavern.
The Boston shakers are made of two 12- and 28-ounce mixing tins, either with one glass shaker and one tin (glass-on-tin), or two tins (tin-on-tin). They fit inside each other, while the liquid creates a natural seal, and a quick shake will cool down the drink with ease. “I’ve been using the Koriko tin-on-tin Boston shaker for the last 10 to 12 years,” says Lockman. “It chills faster and has a better seal than glass-on-tin and doesn’t get stuck as easily as the Cobbler.”
The cobbler shaker is made up of three parts: a tin, a top with a built-in strainer, and a cap. It’s a favorite among home bartenders for its ease of use, but professional bartenders will say the top leaks and can be difficult to remove when chilled, making it inefficient for busy services. As for the Parisian shaker, Lockman says it’s “a Cobbler without the cap.”
Below, top bartenders share their tried-and-true favorite cocktail shakers.
Best Overall: Cocktail Kingdom Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins
“The Cocktail Kingdom Koriko weighted tins are very nearly the industry standard for a reason,” explains Cameron Shaw, bar specialist at New York’s Lot 15, nestled in the back of the Kixby Hotel. “They are durable, and the relatively thin walls of the tins ensure that they form a good, tight seal from day one.” He also doesn't recommend banging the ends of the tins together to seal them when double shaking—otherwise, this will cause the weighted caps to come off prematurely.
Each tin (large and small) holds two drinks and is made from weighted stainless steel. Pick a classic silver, or opt for a more sleek rose gold, gold, or black. Nate Fishman, Santera Tequila brand ambassador and a bartender at Liquor Lab, is a big fan of the brand. "Koriko creates really smooth products that are a bit lighter and are easier to grip."
Good to Know:
Amy Wong, of Portland’s King Tide Fish & Shell, notes that while these tins are industry favorites, they take a while to get used to. “They can be hard to seal the first few times, but that means they will last longer,” she says. “It’s like breaking in quality leather shoes—they are hard and cause soreness at first, but they eventually mold and you never want to get another pair.”
Best for Professionals: Cocktail Kingdom Leopold Weighted Shaking Tins
Best suited for professionals, Cocktail Kingdom’s Leopold Weighted Shaking Tins are a favorite of Isabella Marriott, head bartender at Brooklyn’s Bar Beau: “They are so easy to snap open and close that you never have to worry about the shakers getting stuck together.” You’ll find most experienced bartenders use this type of weighted shaking tins to mix craft cocktails. “An added bonus is you can stack them and never have to worry about the small tin getting trapped in the larger one,” she says.
These particular tins are a standard 18- and 28-ounce size and are made of commercial and home dishwasher-safe stainless steel. Keep in mind that these Boston shakers aren’t for the novice bartender—you’ll need to know how a shaker feels in your hand to properly seal the tins and avoid spills. Boston shakers are also far easier to clean than the average cobbler shaker: there are fewer nooks and crannies to scrub, making this ideal for a fast-paced bar environment.
Best Weighted Shaker: Barfly Basics Cocktail Set
For Nate Fishman, the two-piece Boston shaker from Barfly is his go-to shaker set: “I recommend them to bartenders for their weight and durability; not to mention that they are cheaper than many of the other shaker sets on the market.” The hand wash-only shakers are plated in 18/8 stainless steel to keep pitting and corrosion at bay.
Each set includes an 18- and 28-ounce shaker set, as well as a Japanese-style jigger designed with an elongated shape to give smooth, easy pours. Each jigger has a dual-side ounce and two-ounce pourers. Also included is a 13-inch, teardrop-end bar spoon and a heavy-duty Hawthorn strainer—all you need to churn out a cocktail or four.
Good to Know:
Look for tins with weights to them. “Shaking takes a toll on your joints and tendons throughout the years,” points out Eric Hobbie, head bartender at Las Vegas’ CliQue Hospitality.
Most Stylish: Rabbit RBT Cocktail Shaker
If you’re looking for a shaker that’s just as decorative as it is useful, look no further. Rabbit's signature cocktail shaker offers a sleek, contemporary design of matte black stainless steel with a slick gold lid. But this fine form is also functional: pop off the gold lid to reveal a built-in jigger, with a 1.5-ounce measurement etched into the design. Also under the lid is a smartly designed, integrated reamer for juicing citrus.
This stylish shaker is perfect for single-size cocktails, standing 9.3 inches tall with a 22-ounce capacity. A double-walled design also keeps hands warm all through shaking. Take note that the shaker must be washed by hand—not ideal when making cocktails for a crowd. Nonetheless, this shaker will look smart sitting atop a bar cart.
Best Leakproof: Rabbit Twist-to-Lock Cocktail Shaker
This Rabbit cocktail shaker is ideal for beginners: it’s intuitive to use and easy to clean. The all-in-one design features a strainer, tin, and lid, all built into one simple shaker. Flip the lid to build a cocktail—the top of the cup has measuring lines so you can easily build cocktails right in the shaker, no jigger required. Lift open the lid to reveal an integrated strainer.
The unique bayonet lid securely fits into place on the 18-ounce tin, allowing you to shake up cocktails as vigorously as needed. But no need to shake too hard—the double-walled stainless steel allows the drinks inside to chill quickly, while still keeping the outside of the containers warm to hands. A twist-on lid means you don’t have to struggle to remove a frozen lid. Plus, the cocktail shaker has a reamer attachment, so you can juice citrus directly into the tin.
Best for Small Hands: Urban Bar Ginza Shaker Tin Set
For those with smaller hands, Cameron Shaw recommends these Ginza tins, which are made with premium Japanese steel and boast a high polish finish. “The two tins are my absolute favorite tins for personal use,” he says. “They are also the tins that I always buy my friends with small hands as gifts.”
Shaw touts the cocktail shakers as great options for those who find regular Boston shakers too large for their hands, a common issue. “Part of having a bar team that's inclusive is to ensure that everyone on the team is able to use the tools that you have on the bar,” he explains. “The Ginza tin set is slightly narrower and more accommodating of small hands, while still allowing you to build two cocktails at a time for true volume service.”
Good to Know:
While glass-on-tin and tin-on-tin Boston shakers are available across the market, experts note that steel is better at insulating, keeping drinks colder and hand heat away from the ice.
Best for Beginners: OXO Good Grips Cocktail Shaker
Calling all home entertainers: OXO’s Good Grips Cocktail Shaker allows for easy mixing. It’s designed for low-effort, mess-free cocktail making—no behind-the-bar experience required.
The shaker comes in three parts: a 24-ounce stainless steel cocktail shaker, a straining lid, and a cap, complete with a built-in jigger marked with both 1- and 2-ounce pours. Two different silicone seals ensure there won’t be any slips or spills throughout the entire shake. The built-in strainer feature lets you juice citrus or muddles herbs directly in the shaker. Lastly, the lid is equipped with a smooth-release design to pull apart with ease when you’re done shaking. After you pour your drink, simply disassemble the shaker and pop it right in the dishwasher.
Best Copper: Kotai Boston Shaker
A copper shaker makes a statement sitting on a home bar or bar top. Kotai’s take is a glass-on-tin Boston shaker that consists of a 28-ounce steel shaking tin and a weighty 16-ounce glass to fit inside it. The tin is made of 18/8 stainless steel, finished without seams for a streamlined look. Thicker gauge steel makes for sturdier construction and gives a heaviness to the shaker. While many Boston shakers are made of tin for more secure shakes, the glass rim on this Kotai shaker is tempered—the rim is heated up and cooled down for strong, durable glass that won’t crack or shatter as you shake a cocktail or break the seal.
While bartenders will prefer either glass or tin, the glass shaker allows you to see what you are muddling. With a glass shaker, the container doesn’t chill as low a temperature, keeping your hands warm and comfortable when shaking (perfect for the home bartender).
Best for Bar Use: Twelve24 Weighted Tin Set
"I love using Twelve24’s Weight Tin Shaker Sets,” says Justin Lavenue, owner of Austin’s Roosevelt Room. “They seal wonderfully yet are easy to separate after shaking.”
The brushed interior keeps the noise of shaking ice cubes to a minimum, while the 1-inch deep inset around the rims provides an optimal seal and snap, so the shakers open and close with ease (and sans leaks). “They also have a weighted base that adds durability and will last you a lifetime,” Lavenue says. Each tin shaker set is dishwasher safe, and the tins are a standard 28 ounce for the larger tin and 18 ounces for the smaller mixing. A mirror finish adds a little pizzazz to your bar set.
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Kate Dingwall is an experienced spirits and drinks writer. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for five years and has been known to shake a mean daiquiri.