How to choose the right cocktail shaker, or bar shaker? Regardless of what we call it, we all envision a bartender shaking alcohol and ice, and the shaker itself. Maybe we’re thinking of the classic James Bond phrase “shaken or stirred”? Here is everything you need to know.

Choosing the right cocktail shaker

Actually, there is nothing “right” or “wrong” when choosing a cocktail shaker. The different types of shakers all give the same result; a toasted cocktail. It boils down to three things: design, ease of use and the volume of ingredients. Let’s take a look at the three most common types of shakers.

Cobbler shaker

This is the most popular shaker and the one most common for the home bartender. A cobbler shaker consists of three parts, a main container; the bottom. A metal lid with a built-in strainer, and a metal lid that covers the strainer.

This shaker is really easy to use. You fill the bottom with liquid and ice. A cobbler shaker can be used with just one hand. When you have finished shaking, remove the top and pour the contents of the shaker into a glass.

Shaker Example

The real challenge (at least occasionally) is to get the part with the strainer from the bottom itself. Sometimes it holds with a light stroke on the side of the shaker. Other times it takes a mix of martial arts and black magic to get them apart!

Pros and cons of a cobbler shaker


  • does not need strainer
  • easy to use
  • usually affordable


  • Can be difficult to get apart
  • The ice can block the small holes in the strainer
  • Can get really cold to hold on to

Boston Shaker

Boston Shakers are very popular with bartenders. This should be at least your second shaker. The Boston shaker consists of two parts, a mixing glass with a rubber edge and a metal cup. The ingredients are filled into the metal cup, then the part is placed in glass upside down on top of it. Be sure to press the glass part down slightly so that the parts seal. Here we found a very cost effective set, almost the same price for the whole set that you otherwise have to go out with for just the shaker!

Using a Boston shaker requires two hands. This can be challenging if you are cramped in your home bar. If you do not use ice, it can be difficult to get the two parts to seal. To get the parts apart again, just give the metal tumbler a little poop right where the parts meet.

Pros and cons of a Boston shaker


  • can take a large volume
  • compact for storage since the parts fit together
  • both parts of the shaker can be used as a mixing glass


  • Must be used with both hands
  • Easy to spill
  • You will need a separate strainer

French Shaker

The French shaker, also often called a Parisian shaker, is in a way the worst of two worlds. It is like a cobbler shaker without a built-in strainer.

Pros and cons of a French shaker


  • looks good


  • You need a strainer as well
  • Can be difficult to disassemble after use

Does the material of the Shaker is matter?

Choosing a cocktail shaker is not just about shape. Shakers come in many materials. The most common are stainless steel and glass. Most Boston shakers have a part in stainless steel and a part in glass.

Most cobbler shakers and French shakers are made of stainless steel or brass. Some models have a container made of glass, and the top with the strainer made of stainless steel.

On cheap models, the stainless steel part is replaced with plastic. Stay away from these. They make a lot of noise when you shake with ice, and these tend to not last that long. Copper has also become popular. It looks very stylish, but requires maintenance to stay neat. Copper can also not be washed in the dishwasher.


No bar is complete without at least one shaker. Choosing the right one becomes a matter of taste. You can’t go wrong with a Cobbler shaker. With a Boston shaker in addition to steel and glass, you have everything you need to both shake and stir drinks at home. If you just want one – my personal opinion is that you should go for a Boston shaker. The important thing is that you like it – and enjoy using it.

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