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We purchased the Cocktail Kingdom Leopold Weighted Shaking Tins so our reviewer could put it to the test in their home bar. Read on for the full review.
The Bottom Line:
This no-nonsense shaker set is the holy grail of bar equipment, delivering professional-quality cocktails at home.
- Handles well
- Sturdy weighted base
- Easy to clean
- Gets very cold
- Tins stick slightly
- Fingerprints galore
There’s a reason you shell out $16 at a bar for a drink served in a delicate coupe glass, garnished with an orange peel folded into a flower. You’re paying for the experience, the ambiance, and, more importantly, you're paying for the skills of a bartender with an arsenal of fancy tools and tinctures at their disposal. Hard as you try, you just can’t get that Daiquiri to taste as good as that one you had at that fancy cocktail bar.
What if I told you that one tool could get you one step closer to making bar-quality cocktails at home? This is the same tool preferred by countless professional bartenders. You’ve probably seen these shiny tins lined up from the comfort of your barstool. Many a bartender’s cocktail shaker of choice comes from New York City’s Cocktail Kingdom. Once you arrive at the website, you’ll be faced with a plethora of options, from gold-plated to single-serving options. But look no further than the Leopold Weighted Shaking Tins.
Design: Nice Tins
The day I broke out the Leopold Weighted Shaking Tins, I posted a photo to instagram of the stainless steel tins sitting behind a freshly shaken Clover Club cocktail. A follower commented, “Nice tins.” Who knew such a compliment existed? He was right, these are some nice tins, from the wide mouth of the cup to the footed base. This set of two tins is no doubt a sexy addition to any bar cart, but looks only go so far.
Cocktail Kingdom has a reputation for not only making beautiful barware, but also being the supplier of choice for bars and bartenders around the world. That means a tight seal, comfortable hold, and easy cleaning are almost a given with a Cocktail Kingdom shaker. The Leopold tins indeed delivered a tight seal, but despite the product description promising an “easier separation after shaking,” easier does not equate to easy. There was some sticking, but the tins were easily dislodged with a firm tap to the smaller tin.
"Good news is the weight of these tins helps ensure you get the desired cocktail consistency and coldness in less time than it takes for the tins to freeze your fingers."
Material: Tried-and-True Stainless Steel
The Leopold tins come in stainless steel, copper-plated, and gold-plated (with each of those options being pricier than the last). I tested the stainless steel, the workhorse of both the kitchen and bar. They are sturdy tins, with thick walls that get cold very quickly. Almost too quickly, in fact, but we’ll discuss that later. Keep in mind, though, since these are stainless steel, much like your refrigerator, they will show every fingerprint and smudge as soon as you take them out of the box.
Performance: Drink Like a Pro
To test the Leopold tins, I turned to a cocktail that is impossible to execute without quality equipment. The Clover Club is a pre-Prohibition classic with roots that have been traced back to Philadelphia. It requires two rounds of shaking, the first to whip the egg white and the second to combine it with the rest of the ingredients. The dry shake is a hot topic among bartenders, with some subscribing to the reverse dry shake and others skipping the step altogether. Regardless, the goal is to emulsify the egg white, allowing the proteins to break down and form an airy foam. Doing so without the addition of ice and cold temperatures helps to encourage that process.
The Leopold Shaker went a long way to encourage that process. The weighed base allows for an easy grip and vigorous shake, even for someone like me who doesn’t make a lot of shaken cocktails at home, therefore relying on a very awkward and spastic shake. The tins make easy work of the dry shake. And after adding ice, London dry gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and a barspoon of raspberry preserve, there was an equally satisfactory second shake. The second shake, however, was where I encountered my only issue with these tins. The stainless steel got very cold, so cold that after ten or so seconds of shaking I was unable to comfortably grip them. Good news is the weight of these tins helps to ensure you get the desired cocktail consistency and coldness in less time than it takes for the tins to freeze your fingers. Note: Updating to the copper-plated set solves this issue.
What you are not getting with the Leopold tins are the bells and whistles of shakers designed with at-home use in mind. The set comes with two tins, fitting two cocktails. However, unless you have some serious Cocktail moves up your sleeve, you’ll also need a strainer or two to get the drink into a glass. I used both a Hawthorne strainer and a fine mesh strainer to pour the drink into a coupe. The results made me want to tip my bartender. The Leopold tins produced a beautiful cocktail with a distinct layer of foam topping the bright pink concoction.
The other benefit of professional-grade barware is that these tins are the Formula One race car of cocktail shakers. These are built for speed, both behind the bar and in the sink, meaning they are very easy to clean. Yes, they are dishwasher safe, but a quick hand washing with dish soap and warm water easily removed any residue from the cocktail. I do worry about the visible seam between the cup and the fitted base, which looks like a good home for a rogue drip of daiquiri or rust. Finally, it’s also worth noting that, despite the wider foot, these tins stack perfectly together for easy storage.
"The other benefit of professional-grade barware is that these tins are the Formula One race car of cocktail shakers."
Price: A Steal for the Set
For the price of one Manhattan in Manhattan, you’re getting a very high-quality shaker set. The large and small tins are available separately on the Cocktail Kingdom website but the set is only a little over 20 bucks. At that price, you’re free to splurge on all of the other fun accessories you’ll need to trick out your at-home speakeasy, everything from jiggers to strainers and bar spoons.
Competition: Cocktail Kingdom Leopold vs. Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins
Before the Leopold tins came on the market, the Koriko (view at Cocktail Kingdom) was the flagship shaker of the Cocktail Kingdom. The latter still remains the more popular offering, with it appearing in the company’s Essential Cocktail Set. While the Leopold does cost slightly more than the Koriko, it’s worth the extra couple of dollars, in my opinion. Those dollars are getting you a sturdier base that, in my kitchen, didn’t slip on countertops like the Koriko, as well as a strong seal that is easier to separate. More importantly, the Leopold delivered a superior cocktail. The extra weight of the Leopold helped me get a better shake and therefore a perfectly blended cocktail. While the Koriko may remain the choice of more experienced bartenders, the Leopold feels like it is designed for the amateur drink-maker.
Final Verdict: A New Go-To
This is my new go-to cocktail shaker. This shaker not only worked as advertised, but I truly believe it improved what would have otherwise been another mediocre cocktail. I won’t be asking for an application at the corner bar anytime soon, but I will break out these tins next time I want to impress guests with my shaking expertise.
- Product Name: Set of Two Leopold Weighted Shaking Tins
- Product Brand: Cocktail Kingdom
- Product Number: KIT-SHA-LEO-ST
- Price: $23
- Material: Stainless steel, copper-plated, gold-plated
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Sarah Freeman was the managing editor of Pitchfork's beer-focused sister site, October. Her work has also appeared in Chicago Magazine, Munchies and Tales of the Cocktail. While her current focus is beer and spirits, her first love is writing about food and restaurants. Previously she was an editor for Eater and Zagat in Chicago.