9 best cocktail shakers
Prefer your cocktails shaken, not stirred? Invest in a mixology must-have
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Grab those bar tools and show us your shaker face. If you want to mix your own tasty cocktails at home, then you’re going to need a shaker.
Bond had a point. From whisky sours to the classic martini, some of the most-loved cocktail classics require being shaken, not stirred. But which shaker should you choose? And what makes a good one?
Though sometimes the choice of whether to shake or stir comes down to personal preference, a rule of thumb is that shaking is particularly good for combining drinks that contain fruit juices, syrups, egg, or cream. Shaking with ice dilutes, chills, and aerates, while combining the liquid.
So, what should you be looking for in a shaker? The first thing to note is that there are a number of different styles. If you’ve been paying attention while you’ve been out for a tipple you’ll have noticed that most professional bartenders opt for something called a Boston shaker, which consists of two separate cups. When joined together they form a tight seal meaning little spillage. But as there’s a definite knack to using one, most at-home mixologists favour cobbler shakers, which often look great and have an in-built strainer, but can be more prone to warping and leaks.
Therefore, the shakers on this list have been selected based on three key factors: functionality and performance, ease of use and last but not least, appearance. With drinks trollies in the home making a comeback, for some the appearance of a shaker is going to matter more than ease of use. With that in mind, watch out for the plethora of stylish shakers that will hit the market on the run-up to Christmas. And we’ve also provided options at a range of price points, giving options for those that want to splash out, as well as those that want to save.
1. Drink Stuff Professional Boston Cocktail Shaker: £4.99, Drink Stuff
This bargain buy is an excellent introduction to the Boston shaker if you’re not used to using one. Fill the stainless-steel cup halfway with ice and your ingredients, add the glass cup at an angle to create a seal, and tap or squeeze the tin slightly to release. You’re going to need to pick up a strainer to help separate out the ice when pouring. Nevertheless, this incredibly good value shaker is a great place to start for those wishing to do some serious shaking.
2. Usagi Heavyweight Cobbler Shaker: £32.99, Cocktail Kingdom
Cocktail Kingdom is the website that bar professionals drool over. So you can’t go far wrong with its selection of shakers. We’ve chosen this Usagi cobbler shaker for its good looks, with a satisfying rounded shape that’s easy to hold, but also for how easy it is to separate after shaking. Though ice can cause shakers to contract and stick together, this one parts with ease. If you want something more decorative than stainless steel, it’s also available in a copper or gold-plated finish. With a 500ml capacity, it’s ideal for mixing one drink at a time.
3. Tom Dixon Plum Cocktail Shaker: £80, Heal’s
Form and function marry in this copper-plated design from Tom Dixon. While the tapered ends are designed to enable you to keep a firm grip when shaking, the slim end-cap doubles as a spirit measure, and the large “belly” provides ample space for the liquid to combine. It looks pretty good too.
4. Oliver Bonas Pineapple Cocktail Shaker: £34, Oliver Bonas
The pineapple trend is showing no signs of slowing down, from pineapple-shaped ice buckets to cocktail glasses. So why not add a pineapple shaker to your collection? Made from stainless steel that’s been given a gold finish, this is a two piece-shaker, meaning again you’ll need to get yourself a cocktail strainer for pouring into the glass. But we think this would look perfect atop a retro drinks trolley.
5. Kate Spade Two of a Kind Cocktail Shaker: £52, Selfridges
With its adorable gold polka-dots, we love that this Kate Spade shaker manages to look both modern and nostalgic. Yes, it’s a tad on the pricey side but this is a shaker that’s a centrepiece rather than just a piece of kitchen equipment. It’s made to be seen and displayed. But it’s not just pretty. The tight seal makes it a practical choice too. Look out for the matching glasses and ice bucket.
6. Sainsbury’s Hammered Stainless Steel Cocktail Shaker: £8.50, Sainsbury’s
Another great value shaker, the textured finish on the exterior of this stainless-steel number makes it easy to grip. As it is slightly oversized, holding just over 600ml, it’s ideal for mixing one long drink or two shorter ones. Complete the set with a matching ice bucket and champagne bucket. Either way, for the price, you can’t go wrong.
7. The Orchard Copper Cocktail Shaker: £22, Not On The High Street
This simple but classic cobbler shaker comes from a vintage-inspired brand, The Orchard, but it is in the colour of the season: copper. What’s more, it comes with a recipe book so you can try your hand at some of the classics, straight off the bat. And if you’re worried about leaks, fear not. This 500ml shaker also comes with a 12-month guarantee. An excellent gift on its own, there’s also a matching muddler and jigger in the range.
8. John Lewis Glass Recipe Cocktail Shaker: £15, John Lewis
If you’re new to making your own cocktails, and just want to just buy one item, then this is a pretty good start. The body of the shaker includes recipes for six classic cocktails including a Manhattan and martini, meaning you don’t need a jigger (measuring cup), recipe book or strainer to get going. Though the best recipes for some of the cocktails listed are open to debate, it’s still a great guide for a beginner. Plus, once you’ve got some decent shaking hours under your belt, the fun with adapting recipes to your own personal taste really begins.
9. Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins Gold: from £21.99, Cocktail Kingdom
So, you think you’re a pro? Looking to upgrade your Boston shaker to something a little flashier? How about this one then? We find that it’s separating the two cups after shaking where we become unstuck when using this style. But these satisfyingly weighty Koriko shakers are designed specifically for easy separation. Plus, the gold-plated tins are designed to hold two drinks, meaning less shaker face. Which can only be a good thing if you’re trying to impress a significant other.
The Verdict: Cocktail shakers
There are some beautiful shakers on the market, designed primarily to be seen. But if you’re just starting out and are serious about your mixing, you really can’t go wrong with Drink Stuff’s simple and incredibly well-priced Boston shaker.