Shakers

E.g. Espresso Martini, Margarita, White Lady.

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What you already have – Shakers

NB: If you use glass, make sure it is not hot when you start shaking. A rapid change of temperature could cause even the toughest of glass to break!

Mason Jar / Kilner Jar / Flip-top jar

Good and solid, watertight and with a flip-top lid that can double as a built-in strainer.

Jam Jar

Needs to be big enough for the ice and liquid to be able to move from end to end as you shake it. A screw-top lid does make an excellent watertight fit; you’re much less likely to wear your cocktail! The lid can also be used as a strainer.

Tupperware Cup with Lid

Solid Tupperware containers with a clip down lid may look a little odd, ugly too, but they work even better if you shake the ingredients sideways.

Pro Equipment Guide – Shakers

There are many different shapes and styles, but they’re all designed to do the same thing, rigorously shake ingredients and ice together. So which should you choose? Even through there are various families of shakers available, we have broken it down to the 3 main categories you can choose from: 

3-Piece 

There are all sorts of specific styles of 3-piece shakers, but they all follow the same basic layout, and one of these is probably what you think of when you imagine a cocktail shaker.

Unsurprisingly these shakers are made of 3 pieces: tin, strainer and lid. 

Three Piece Shakers

WHAT WE SAY:

They tend to be smaller in volume, depending on the style, but are still good for shaking 1-2 serves at a time; the built-in strainer is an added bonus. 

The biggest issue with the 3-piece shaker is removing the lid after shaking. The shaker gets very cold causing the lid to shrink tightly onto the strainer. The shaker is also cold and wet with condensation, which makes it even harder to separate.

Despite all of this they are favoured by some professionals, particularly those in Japan and the high-end hotel bars of London.

Looking to buy a PRO 3 Piece shaker?

Birdy
Birdy 3 piece shaker
Buy here

TOP TIPS:

You don’t need to whack the lid on, it’ll make removing it all the more difficult after shaking. 

With that in mind, do make sure you have a finger or two over the top of the lid as you shake, ensuring it doesn’t fly off. Also, keep a thumb underneath the bottom of the shaker to avoid it slipping through your hands on the downward action of your shake.

To remove the lid, twist and pull. Use a glass cloth/towel if you can’t get any traction. 

When straining, the opening is quite small, so to get the whole drink out you will need to jiggle the ice in the shaker quite aggressively as you pour. 

Rotate the shaker completely upside down to get every last drop out, especially any foam. Ensure you have a finger or two on the strainer as you do this. The last thing you want is to pluck disaster from the jaws of victory by allowing the strainer to drop into your glass at the very last moment! 

Boston 

Two basic styles here, tin-on-tin or glass-on-tin.

Whichever you pick, these shakers comprise two pieces. Either two tins, or a glass and a tin, but you probably guessed that already! 

WHAT WE SAY:

Most have plenty of volume and can shake up to 3 serves at a time. This shaker style also gives plenty of room for ingredients to move freely while shaking. 

The tin-on-tin version is widely used by professionals. The shaker can be broken open very easily once the shaking is complete and when you use the separate Hawthorne Strainer it’s very fast to serve too. 

Be careful and make sure that you have a Boston tin and not a tin from a 3 piece. The Boston tin is thinner and more flexible, which allows it to stretch over the smaller tin or glass to form a tight seal. If you try this with a 3-piece tin you will likely end up wearing the drink you are shaking! 

All in all, not as pretty as some 3 piece shakers, but the Boston shaker is fast, simple and robust. Perfect for the professional making hundreds of cocktails!

The glass-on-tin style had a period of popularity a while back and the benefit of it being glass, is that you can see the ingredients as they’re added. The downsides of it being glass, are that it’s thick and heavy, so, it’s less practical for the professional working long hours. The biggest downside is that glass, as you know, has a tendency to break!

Looking to buy some PRO shakers?

Urban Bar
Boston Stainless Steel Tin-on-Tin Cocktail Shaker
Buy here

Cocktail Kingdom
Koriko weighted shakers
Buy here

TOP TIPS:

Add ingredients into the small tin or glass, then fill it with ice so that the cubes are stacked above the rim of the tin or glass. Now take the larger tin and bring it over the top to encase the ice and ingredients within the shaker. The key here is that the shaker should not be straight. 

It might seem counterintuitive, but what you want here is the crooked example! It’s actually how the tin will naturally want to rest as it sits over the top of the smaller tin or glass. 

Boston Tin on Tin

Once the tin finds this natural position, give it’s upturned base a firm thump with the palm heel of your hand. This will drive the tin down over the top of the smaller tin or glass, creating a strong watertight seal.

Like with any shaker, the skill here is to throw ingredients aggressively from one end to another, without the shaker opening, showering you and anyone else in the vicinity with ice and booze! So, however you feel comfortable holding the shaker, make sure you have control of both pieces of the shaker at all times!

When shaking is finished, you want to hold the shaker the other way up. In other words, the small tin or glass is now inverted and at the top of the shaker. This is the position to open the shaker in.

Opening is so easy…when you know how:

Hit with the heel of your hand. However, don’t just hit the tin. Instead, bring your hands together to make the impact. This way the shaker won’t move away as you hit it, and the shaker should pop open easily. 

Now, using a Hawthorne Strainer strain the drink out of the larger tin into your glass.

Parisian

They’re often beautiful, however, these shakers can be a little tricky to use. They look like a 3-piece shaker, but they’re actually composed of only two pieces, like a Boston shaker.

WHAT WE SAY:

They’re usually a good volume, like a Boston shaker, so nice and practical when making multiple serves. However, they are a little temperamental when it comes to opening / closing them. 

The temptation is to whack the top on like a Boston shaker, but if you push it on too tightly you’ll need an angle grinder to cut it open. However, it’s tricky because if you don’t close it firmly enough, you’re probably going to wear that drink!

Like any piece of kit though, it comes down to personal preference and familiarity. Which means that a Paris shaker could become your favourite shaker of choice. As with everything, practice, practice, practice!

TOP TIPS:

Make sure that when shaking you have hold of both the top and bottom piece of the shaker. The fit should grow more secure as you shake because the tin will get cold and contract, and the air pressure drops inside the shaker too.

This is why, if you whack the shaker together at the beginning it is very hard to open at the end. So remember to just press the two pieces together and take great care as you start to shake. 

Tap the tin to open with your palm heel, like when opening a Boston shaker, then the top should twist off more like opening a 3 piece. You will then need to use a separe Hawthorne strainer to pour your drink as there is no inbuilt strainer.

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