The 5 Best Cocktail Shakers of 2024, According to Experts

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Updated on January 18, 2024

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Making home made gin and tonic


Making home made gin and tonic

Photo by: Getty Images/agrobacter

Getty Images/agrobacter

Our Top Cocktail Shaker Picks

The magic of cocktails is their ability to take individual ingredients and transform them into something that’s greater than the sum of its parts. This is accomplished not only through the careful selection of ingredients but also in choosing the right tools. A cocktail shaker is perhaps the most essential bar tool in existence — it is the setting for the amalgamation of ingredients that gives rise to the emergent deliciousness we find in our Daiquiris, Margaritas and Whiskey Sours.

As a general rule, cocktails that contain opaque liquids like citrus juice, dairy or eggs get shaken, while translucent all-spirits cocktails tend to be stirred. Shaking is, by definition a violent process; when you shake you want to really throw the drink around, not only mixing the ingredients together thoroughly but also using the ice to provide dilution and chill via melting and using the mass of the ice to whip air into the drink, giving a lively froth.

What to Know Before Selecting a Shaker

Selecting the right cocktail shaker is a make-or-break decision that can ensure smooth crafting, night after night. But how does one go about doing that? There are a number of different styles and configurations for shakers that we must navigate. Here are some basic principles:

  • Simpler is better. I prefer to use shaking sets with the least amount of parts and complicated extras.

  • All-metal shakers are superior. Many are familiar with the shaking set that includes a heavy pint glass paired with a large tin, and you should avoid these if possible. The glass is needlessly heavy and the extra weight of the glass is not only an ergonomic issue, it absorbs a lot of coldness from the ice that should otherwise end up in your drink.

  • Durability is a key consideration. A bartender might use their shaker 100 times per night, which means that after a few months of wear and tear, it’s time to replace it. This means that most bars do not bother to spend tons of money on a tool that will need replacing a few times per year. A home user might expect to use their shaker far less, so it’s helpful to think of a shaker as a more long-term investment and consider durability but also aesthetics, especially if you are displaying your bar tools on a well-curated bar cart.
Photo Courtesy Amazon

This shaking set is the workhorse of craft cocktail bars everywhere. The build quality is sufficient for heavy use, and their price point makes replacements relatively painless. The only drawbacks are that they might be a bit large for smaller hands, are not particularly fancy and the weights on the bases (which provide balance and sound reduction) can pop off after heavy use. But for the home bartender, this is a great starter set that should last years. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe.

Photo Courtesy Crate&Barrel

For those of us who like to keep our bar tools looking aesthetically pleasing, you want something that looks as good as it works. I found this handsome shaker to be a good balance of style and substance. While I’m not the biggest fan of three-piece shakers (more as a style preference than function), this is a great, accessible option with a minor catch — it’s hand-wash only.

Photo Courtesy Amazon

After years of shaking cocktails, my hands are pretty immune to the sharp chill that happens during shaking. That being said said, I do hear complaints from time to time from novice drink-makers about the searing cold afflicting their palms. This shaker’s design completely insulates the cold, and, while slightly over-engineered (we found the built-in measuring cup to be unnecessary), this dishwasher-safe shaker is a great pick for a novice bartender. It also features a screw-top that eliminates the risks of leakage that can befall other shaking sets.

Photo Courtesy Bar Products

If you’re like me, then you have a compulsion to buy anything that’s neon pink. Fortunately for us, we can even buy cocktail shakers in numerous shades of neon. I love this green-and-pink set, which is essentially a slightly cheaper version of the Koriko set above. Whether I’m hosting an 80s-themed party or just throwing some drinks together on a Wednesday night, a life without color is a life not worth living.

Photo Courtesy Cocktail Kingdom

A Parisian shaker is a lesser-known configuration that offers the style of a three-piece shaker with the simplicity of a two-piece Boston shaker. This shaker, though eye-wateringly expensive, is a gorgeous example of the type, which is based on a vintage 1870s design. It is silver-plated, so definitely a hand wash-only situation, but if you really want to go full glamour and opulence, this one's for you.

John deBary is the author of Drink What You Want: The Subjective Guide to Making Objectively Delicious Cocktails; CEO and Founder of Proteau, a zero-proof drinks company; and is also the Co-Founder and Board President of Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation.

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