For bartenders and other drink professionals, a cocktail shaker is a key tool—possibly the key tool—needed to make great cocktails.
Of course, not all drinks are shaken. Some drinks are stirred using a mixing glass and barspoon or are built directly in the glass and don’t need a shaker. But a great many cocktails rely on shakers to incorporate citrus or other juices, froth egg whites and add the right amount of chill and dilution, thanks to the ice rattling about.
But how do you choose which cocktail shaker is right for you? We turned to the experts for the answer.
What Are Different Cocktail Shaker Styles?
“Cocktails shakers are like pans for chefs,” says Valentino Longo, head bartender at Miami’s Lido Restaurant & Champagne Bar at the Four Seasons at the Surf Club and founder of Shōshin Art Club. Longo keeps multiple styles and sizes behind the bar. “Each shaker does a different job, and it is extremely important to get to know them and use it for the right purposes.”
Here are the most common styles of cocktail shaker:
- Boston shakers are a two-piece style. One piece is a large metal cup and the other is a smaller cup that fits over it, creating a seal. It does not feature a strainer. The smaller cup can either be made of glass or metal. The latter is often called a tin-on-tin Boston shaker. Many bartenders prefer it to other shakers because the metal cools drinks effectively and doesn’t break easily. Choose a weighted version for superior control.
- Cobbler shakers come in three pieces—a large metal tin, tapered top with a built-in strainer and a cap. It was popularized in Japan, where legendary bartender Kazuo Uyeda used it to create his iconic cocktail technique, the hard shake. (According to The Oxford Companion to Wine & Spirits, the hard shake is an elaborate style of shaking “whereby the ice in the shaker travels in a triangle rather than the usual back-and-forth oscillation.”)
- Parisian/Parisienne shaker is a two-piece style that doesn’t feature a strainer. It’s recognizable by its urn-like shape and tapered bottom. The style first rose to popularity in Paris, hence the name.
Here are a few shakers that bartenders and other drinks pros recommend.
The Best Boston Shakers
Piña Stainless Steel Bar Boston Shaker
Piña Barware bills its shakers as ergonomically correct and built specifically for use in the commercial service industry. However, bartenders warn that the Piña shakers are a bit larger and heavier than most other brands, so be prepared to build your biceps.$25 Amazon
Heavyweight Cocktail Shakers
“Viski’s Boston shaker is my current go-to for most consulting jobs and events,” says Kristine Bocchino, U.S. and European beverage consultant in Los Angeles and Milan, and former beverage director for Four Seasons hotels. “They also make a great, affordable starter set.”$23 Viski
A Bar Above
These Boston shaker sets in various finishes, including gold, copper and bronze, gather praise for their durability. “For me, it’s the quality and longevity for price,” says Anthony DeSerio, a Branford, Connecticut-based beverage professional/consultant. “The plating stays on and over time shows no wear and tear. They can take a beating.”
Michael Goff of NYC’s Moonrise Izakaya feels similarly about a weighted model. “The weld on those weighted end caps goes all the way around instead of spot welding, so they seem to hold up a lot better,” he says.$23 Amazon
Crafthouse by Fortessa The Signature Collection Boston Shaker
Part of a larger bar collection designed by Chicago bar veteran Charles Joly, this shaker has plenty of fans among fellow pros. Kim Haasarud, founder and owner of The Cocktail Collaborative in Phoenix, Arizona, lauds the thoughtful design touches, such as a footed bottom on the shakers so they don’t tip over easily.
“I definitely have my klutzy moments behind the bar,” she says with a laugh.
Plus, she says, “the smaller tin is also ribbed so if you slide it into the bigger tin, it doesn’t get stuck.” Similarly, Ryan Hooks, bar manager at Los Angeles’s Alma Cocina, points out that the tins are “designed slightly narrower to fit men’s and women’s hands easily.”$40 Sur La Table
Set of Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins
“They’re fairly cheap, very durable [and] they seal beautifully,” says Deke Dunne, bar director at Allegory in Washington, D.C.
Dunne also says they have “a really nice feel and [are] easy to get apart, they don’t stick… I’ve been using these for years.”
“Koriko is tried and true for a reason,” adds Ben Lieppman, bar manager at RPM Seafood in Chicago. “It’s durable, has the perfect amount of weight and is easy to get a seal to prevent leakage.”$24 Cocktail Kingdom
Mixing Tin Set
Bartenders described this weighted tin-on-tin shaker as a particularly durable workhorse.
“They have a solid, continuous weld all around the base [that’s] still very discrete, as opposed to the standard three, four or five-point welding that most others have,” says Miguel Lancha, cocktail innovator at ThinkFoodGroup in Washington, D.C.$17 Twelve24 Cocktails
Brushed Steel Bull in China Weighted Shaking Tins
This two-piece set is made with weighted bottoms for extra stability.
“I’ve been using mine behind the bar every night for six years now,” says Jason Pollard, managing partner at The Usual in Fort Worth, Texas. While the matte brushed-steel finish is “sexy,” Pollard says, it’s functional too, minimizing fingerprints and making it easier to grip with wet hands.$22 Bull In China
Leopold Shaking Tins
Meanwhile, Staten Island, New York-based independent consultant Nick Venditti recommends the elegant–but–sturdy Leopold shaking tins sold by Cocktail Kingdom. “The shape and seal is just a bit more refined than the standard Korikos,” he explains. Bonus: “The lip on the bottom opens up a whole new world of tin flip tricks—if you’re into that sort of thing.”$32 Amazon
Best Cobbler Shakers
The Birdy Cocktail Shaker
Among three-piece cobbler shakers, a top pick is the super-rounded Birdy. It was designed by London bartender Erik Lorincz, previously head bartender at the American Bar at The Savoy Hotel.
“For cocktails that have only spirits or a very low amount of juice/syrup such as a Vesper, martini or a classic margarita, I usually prefer to use a cobbler shaker or Japanese shaker,” says Longo. “My favorite is Birdy by Erik Lorincz. With this shaker you have to use a very particular technique created by Japanese bartenders”—the hard shake—”where basically the ice inside floats in circles, giving the right aeration to the drink without giving dilution.”$163 Amazon
Stainless Steel Cobbler Shaker
Since the three-piece shaker was popularized by Japanese bartenders, it makes sense that Yukiwa, a producer from Japan has grown in popularity. Some pros also use Yukiwa’s two-piece sets.
“When I discovered the tin-on-tin Yukiwa, it was a revelation,” says Julian de Féral, an international cocktail consultant based in London. “They are sturdy, with no give at all, and they fit together like a dream. I also like that they have no seam, so less place for grime to hide. The finishes are also lovely—the matte finish I chose really stands out as a point of difference on a bar. The downside is that they are several times more expensive than Korikos; however, I see them as a lifetime investment.”$49 mtckitchen
Wine Enthusiast Deluxe 8-Piece Barware Set – Mirror Finish
A shiny accompaniment to all of your fancy top-shelf liquors, this bar set sparkles brightly, giving you everything you need for a perfect holiday get-together: ice bucket, scooper, shaker, jigger, strainer, stirrer and tray. As beautiful as it is functional, it’s a hand wash-only item that you won’t mind doing dishes for.$50 Wine Enthusiast
Best Parisian Shaker
“A Parisian style shaker is a great item to add to any home collection. They are a lot more captivating to look at than the workhorse shaker tins we use every day behind the bar,” says Demi Natoli, beverage director within The Graduate Hotel in Nashville.
Though it can be on the pricey side, Natoli recommends this option from Cocktail Kingdom. “The silver-plated material will help keep it looking beautiful for many years,” she adds.$180 Cocktail Kingdom
How We Reviewed
We asked bartenders and drinks pros who shake up drinks every day what their favorite cocktail shakers are and why. We narrowed down the selection based on the durability, attractiveness on a bar and price. We also included options for every kind of drinks lover—from a great starter set to a professional-grade cocktail shaker.
How to Use a Cocktail Shaker
Add cocktail ingredients to shaker based on your recipe and seal. Turn the shaker sideways and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Open, strain into a glass and garnish. For more information on how to shake a cocktail and additional embellishments, check out our guide.
How Long Do You Shake a Cocktail?
This depends on the ingredients in the shaker, but about 15 seconds.
Can You Make Two Cocktails in One Shaker?
Yes! You can shake two of the same cocktail at once in a shaker as long as you add the right ratio of ingredients.
Last Updated: November 1, 2023