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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.”
Runner-Up, Best Overall: 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 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 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.
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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 for Beginners: Cocktail Kingdom Usagi Cobbler Shaker
Cobbler shakers feature an all-in-one design with just three pieces (a metal or glass tin, built-in strainer and cap), making them particularly useful for novice home bartenders. They also don't require any extra tools and are typically easier to use, like this shaker from Cocktail Kingdom. Made of durable, 18/8 stainless steel, the Usagi Cobbler Shaker boasts a 28-ounce capacity and can make up to two drinks at once. This shaker was designed to easily separate its parts without leaking—plus, its sleek construction will look good on any bar cart.
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Best Set: Fortessa Crafthouse Cocktail Set
Take your bartending skills to the next level by investing in this high-quality cocktail set from Crafthouse by Fortessa. Designed by renowned bartender Charles Joly, this four-piece set comes with everything you need to make cocktails: a two-piece Boston shaker, 2-ounce jigger, Hawthorne strainer and muddler. The 15-ounce shaker, strainer and jigger are made of stainless steel and are dishwasher safe, while the 11.5-inch muddler is made of rich black walnut and is recommended to wash by hand.
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.
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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.