Not Stirred: The 9 Best Cocktail Shakers

In the frontier days when men rode the ranges, slept out under the stars, and settled their arguments with gunplay, you had to drink whatever rotgut was available. You drank it straight out of the bottle and you were damn grateful for the opportunity. Those days are long behind us. Now there is no need to slam back swill when you can easily mix it up into a truly delicious cocktail that can be served in a coconut with all manner of colorful umbrellas; but to do that, you’re going to need a good cocktail shaker.

When selecting a your shaker, you must first decide whether you want a Parisian, a Boston, or a standard Cobbler shaker. Each has their own advantages with the Boston being the simplest, the Cobbler being the most popular, and the Parisian – like all things French – being strange and hard to find. The key here is in how you want to use it since the drink mixture and the end flavor depends on the ability of the shaker to do its job. For everything from a Manhattan to a Mai Tai, here’s the 6 best cocktail shakers around.

Quick Strain Tins 1

Quick Strain Tins

Pro: Boston style with built-in strainer
Con: All metal doesn’t allow visibility

Easy Tins: It’s a misnomer to call the QuickStrain line of products true Boston cocktail shakers. Rather they are shaker tins in a Boston style. What makes them great is the included strainer that lines the edge of the base so you don’t need to buy one separately and can pour straight from the tumbler right into the glass. They were designed by a professional bartender who saw the need when standing watch behind the mahogany of a faster, easier Boston style tin. The problem with these is that both parts are made of metal which means you can’t see what you’re mixing. This can cause numerous complications. The price is low, but you had damn sure better know what you are doing before you pick these up since beginners will find them frustrating and awkward. Thankfully, they’ll have the alcohol on hand to assuage their ire. [Purchase: 6+]

Metrokane Bullet

Metrokane Bullet

Pro: Easy to handle
Con: Very hard to open

For Dapper Drinkers: The age of the streamlined, minimalist apartment decor passed away as soon as the US no longer had a budget surplus and no one could afford to pay thousands of dollars to make their home look like an art deco studio. One of the surviving throwbacks is this lovely shaker that manages to blend in to the modern home without looking too pretentious. Besides resembling a device your girlfriend might keep in her dresser drawer or a reusable water bottle, the Bullet works very well as a cocktail shaker thanks largely to its slim body style. You can quickly chill drinks since the surface area between the ice and the alcohol is increased. It is easy to handle and fits well in your fist for smooth shaking or stirring action. You can buy it in one of two sizes, either 18oz or 28oz, both of which come at a tiny price. It’s a cobbler style making it durable stainless steel throughout and a great tool to learn on for the aspiring mixologist. [Purchase: $15+]

Nambe Twist Cocktail Shaker

Nambe Twist

Pro: Metal retains cold
Con: Low capacity

With a Twist: The Twist is probably the most artistic option in the mix with its distinctive helix shape concocted by technical designer Fred Bould. It is slightly more than a pretty shape since the nambé metal helps keep out heat and lock cold in so that beverages stay cool and ice doesn’t melt and water down your cocktails before they hit the glass. The metal is sand-cast and hand polished to an eye-catching sheen that stands out even in the most decorative of homes or uptown apartments. The shape makes a discreet handle for easier shaking motion after condensation has formed on the sides. While this is truly lovely, it only has a 16oz capacity and a hefty price tag meant for those who intend on impressing their guests with aesthetics rather than drowning them in social lubricants. [Purchase: $125]

Sasquatch

Sasquatch

Pro: Big
Con: Hard to handle

You Have a Problem: It looks like fun, but as soon as you bring this beast home expect your family to start planning your intervention. At 110oz this is less of a cocktail shaker and more of a cocktail cauldron. Hopefully if you are buying this you plan on hosting some huge soirees or run a catering company because if you’re emptying it out at the end of the day by yourself, your liver will scream. You can make martinis on ice or margaritas straight out of the blender for up to 10 people at once and even serve using the built-in strainer. This is the standard cobbler style since finding a glass large enough to fit into it would be nearly impossible. It stands 15+ inches tall and weighs in at nearly 5 lbs. When filled with booze, it’s going to be pretty heavy, so before you start drinking, do a few curls so that you’re ready to serve. The stainless steel won’t corrode over time, though you should still wash it by hand whenever you wake up and medicate your hangover since alcohol and mixers are highly corrosive. [Purchase: $50]

WMF Loft

WMF Loft

Pro: Seals easily
Con: Measurements do not include parts of an ounce

Budget Boston: Though they seem to be the lesser design, Boston shakers are typically more expensive, partly because they work more aptly for getting an exact mixture correct when making cocktails for people who take their drinking – and their mixing – seriously. The WMF Loft is a combination of elegant design with a tasteful, swooping outer shell that grips the thick glass interior perfectly. There is no need for much additional measuring equipment – though you will still want a jigger for smaller amounts – since the sides of the glass have exact measurements to make your mixes exact down to the tiniest centiliter. Both the glass and the 18/10 stainless steel exterior are fully dishwasher safe. This is good for those just learning to employ the Boston cocktail shaker since it gets a good seal easily which keeps the glass from flying out spilling your precious, precious liquor in the ultimate party foul. [Purchase: $44]

OXO Good Grips Press and Pour

OXO Good Grips Press & Pour

Pro: One-handed operation
Con: Strainer clogs easily

Single-Handed: This is perfect for the host that cannot live without a pint glass in their hand. It is a cobbler style shaker that doesn’t have a removable cap. Instead the cap has a push button on the top that pops it up for easy pouring through the integrated strainer. You can work it even as you slurp your own drink, making you look like the smoothest drunk ever to walk – or stagger – the Earth. Inside are three silicone seals that keep your liquor inside, where it belongs so that spills are a thing of the past. Double walled construction works more like a travel mug to hold cold in and keep condensation from sweating up the carafe. An 18oz capacity gives you enough for a small, intimate gathering, like your Sex and the City Marathon. Ice will jam up the strainer, but that is a small price to pay. The lid is fully dishwasher safe. [Purchase: $30]

KegWorks Parisienne

KegWorks Parisienne

Pro: Large lid
Con: No strainer

En Français: We searched high and low for a really good French style shaker and came up almost totally empty. These have nearly been completely replaced by cobbler styles, since they use the same basic design with the cobbler also bearing a strainer. If you like to run it fast and loose, make drinks that don’t require straining, or don’t care if your alcohol is watered down, the Parisienne will work for you. The lid is much larger than a cobbler shaker which makes it harder to lose and harder to drop, great if you shake like a fiend or have already been sampling your high-proof wares. The low price makes it appealing and is a good middle ground between overly simple cobblers and difficult / delicate Boston shakers. [Purchase: $15]

Mason Shaker

Mason Shaker

Pro: Works with most mason jars
Con: Very basic

Southern Style: The mason jar shaker began as a tradition in the deep south and goes back as far as sweet tea and lazy days on the porch. These are what the fancy moonshiners used when they felt like cutting their white lightning corn whiskey with something that wasn’t also used as paint thinner. The simple set has a lid, a strainer, and a cap, as well as the titular Mason jar. The good news is that if you break the jar, it’s easy to find a cheap replacement and the glass sides let you see exactly how well mixed your cocktail is. Just be careful giving it a rattle, since it is even more delicate than a Boston shaker glass. The cap is also very easy to lose. [Purchase: $30]

Pure Copper Cocktail Shaker

Pure Copper & Stainless Steel Cocktail Shaker

Pro: Provincial style
Con: Copper exterior is easily damaged

Be Still: This is another throwback to old distilleries that used copper drums and kettles to ferment and distill their alcohol. The outside has a burnished, rustic appeal for those who wish their homes to be less urbane and more bucolic. The craftsmanship is beyond compare with all of the parts being crafted by hand through the process of metal spinning wherein strands of metal are turned rapidly on a lathe to form the desired shape. Imperfections are inherent, meaning your product will be truly one of a kind. The interior is lined with stainless steel so there is no risk of corrosion rotting your shaker away from the inside out. The soft exterior means dents and dings are almost a foregone conclusion and the volume is a paltry 14oz, which isn’t enough for any serious entertainer or solitary drinker. [Purchase: $219]

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