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We purchased the OXO SteeL Cocktail Shaker so our reviewer could put it to the test in their home bar. Read on for the full review.
The Bottom Line:
OXO is known for making high-quality kitchen equipment, so it's no surprise its cocktail shaker brings a lot to the table.
- Handles well
- Insulated tin
- Bells and whistles
- Top leaks
- Lid sticks slightly
- Top gets cold
View at Amazon, $30.95
I would consider myself something of an OXO groupie. It’s my brand of choice for most cooking utensils, from vegetable peelers to cheese graters. This obsession usually comes with a bit of an upcharge compared to some of the more mainstream brands, but I know that in exchange, I’m getting a product that will function exactly as it's supposed to and will last.
The SteeL Cocktail Shaker was my first foray into OXO’s extensive line of bar tools. Most of these tools are made with the company’s signature heavy-duty stainless steel and soft, non-slip grip. If you want to deck out your bar in OXO, the same way I decked out my kitchen utensil drawer, you have a lot of options, from jiggers to strainers. But the ideal place to start is with the SteeL Cocktail Shaker.
Design: An Improved Cobbler
When considering cocktail shakers, there are two types: the cobbler shaker and the Boston shaker. The Boston shaker is what you will likely find at an American cocktail bar, made up of two tins or a tin and a glass that fit together to form a tight seal. The Cobbler is more common in the home bar setting. Its three-piece design has a built-in strainer usually topped with a metal cap. The SteeL Cocktail Shaker is the cobbler style, with a double-walled stainless steel body and a strainer cap. Where the design really differs is the strainer cap, which doubles as a jigger and is also surrounded by a non-slip grip.
"The insulated stainless steel does not get as cold as other models, meaning your fingers don’t turn into popsicles before your drink has a chance to get good and cold."
Material: Double-Walled Stainless Steel FTW
It’s unclear how OXO’s capital “L” SteeL differs from lowercase “L” stainless steel, but it feels heavy-weight and durable. The double-walled body is the selling point here, giving the shaker both weight and a comfortable grip while shaking. The insulated stainless steel does not get as cold as other models, meaning your fingers don’t turn into popsicles before your drink has a chance to get good and cold. The cap however, is not double-walled and therefore not immune to finger-freezing temperatures.
The cap may be the smallest component of this three-piece shaker, but it’s the element that sets this model apart from the competition. Not only are you getting a built-in strainer, thanks to the cobbler design, but the team at OXO turned the cap into a jigger. The inside is etched with 1/2-oz, 3/4-oz, and 1-oz measurement markings. Personally, I prefer a standalone jigger with a 1-oz and 2-oz side for faster measuring, but the built-in jigger is a clever addition.
My worry with the jigger cap design was its loose fit over the strainer. It more-or-less sits on top of the strainer, so leakage is a concern. I tested this shaker with both a Daiquiri and a Clover Club. The latter requires both a dry and wet shake, meaning shaking the egg white without ice before adding ice along with the remaining ingredients for a second shake. There was a bit of leaking when dry shaking an egg white, however, there was no leakage when shaking with ice, when the cold temperatures created a better seal between the strainer and jigger. There was also a solid seal between the strainer and the body of the shaker. The benefit of the looser-fitting cap is that, once your cocktail is ready, it’s easily popped off allowing the drink to be poured through the strainer, which remains securely affixed to the body.
"The Clover Club is a more advanced cocktail and this shaker feels built for beginner bartenders."
This shaker, with its heavy stainless steel body and no-slip cap, was easy to shake with either one hand or two. I was surprised that with the ease of use and study construction of the OXO SteeL Cocktail Shaker, it delivered a slightly sub-par cocktail. The Clover Club came out a bit murky and quickly separated, meaning the egg white wasn’t properly emulsified. That being said, the Clover Club is a more advanced cocktail and this shaker feels built for beginner bartenders.
Cleaning: Read the Instructions
You might think there’s no need to dig into the fine print when it comes to unboxing a cocktail shaker. The OXO SteeL Cocktail Shaker would like you to read the box. Its lid is dishwasher safe, including the built-in jigger cap, but the body is hand-wash only, not that you need to rely on a dishwasher. All three pieces are easily cleaned in the sink with soap and warm water. The holes in the strainer cap are small enough to do the job but wide enough to not get clogged with pulp or small seeds.
At about $30, there are certainly cheaper cocktail shakers out there. But as we’ve established, you’re not just getting a cocktail shaker in this box. You’re getting everything you need to make most shaken concoctions. In addition to all the bells and whistles, this shaker also comes with OXO’s signature sturdy construction with quality materials. Overall, it’s a good value for a well-made model.
Competition: OXO SteeL Cocktail Shaker vs. Rabbit Twist-to-Lock Cocktail Shaker
Two models stand out from the crowd in the improved cobbler shaker market: OXO SteeL Cocktail Shaker and the Rabbit Twist-to-Lock Cocktail Shaker (view at Amazon). The former looks more like the classic cobbler shaker, with its steel body and tapered steel lid with a small cap that fits over the strainer. The latter looks like a thermos, with its rounded plastic lid. While both lids did leak slightly, the OXO’s seal was much tighter and more leak-proof. Its built-in strainer also performed better, allowing for less mess and easier cleanup.
Final Verdict: A Reliable Workhorse
The OXO SteeL Cocktail Shaker (view at Amazon) is ideal for the beginner bartender who wants to keep their home bar compact. The all-in-one design may come with a few flaws, but it certainly gets the job done in style.
- Product Name: SteeL Cocktail Shaker
- Product Brand: OXO
- Product Number: 1058018
- Price: $30
- Material: Stainless steel
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Sarah Freeman is a food and beverage writer based in Chicago. She has been writing about restaurants and bars for the past decade—from learning about what makes a perfect piece of cocktail ice to the exploring art of beer label design.