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3 Types of Cocktail Shakers

Types of Cocktail Shakers

Different Types of Cocktail Shakers

A cocktail shaker is arguably the most essential tool in mixology. Shaking your drink gives a good mix of all ingredients, and most importantly lets them chill with ice cubes with minimal dilution. There are different types of cocktail shakers available, so what are they, and which is right for you?

The 3 Types of Cocktail Shakers:

Here we will be looking at the 3 main types of cocktail shaker on the market; the 3 piece Cobbler shaker, the Boston shaker, and the Parisian shaker. In this quick run-through you will learn about the benefits of each type of cocktail shaker.

There is also a bonus 4th type of cocktail shaker, the tin on tin, which has risen in popularity in the 21st century.

Cobbler Cocktail Shaker Boston Cocktail Shaker Parisian Cocktail Shaker
Cobbler Cocktail Shaker Boston Cocktail Shaker Parisian Cocktail Shaker


Cobbler Shaker

Cobbler Cocktail ShakerSometimes known simply as a 3 piece cocktail shaker, the cobbler is a good starting point for beginners.

Consisting of a main container, which looks similar to a Boston tin (below), the Cobbler has a lid with a built-in strainer, and a cap to cover the strainer holes while shaking.

These integrated straining holes remove the need for a cocktail strainer when pouring in to a glass.

Bartenders regularly debate which is better, a Cobbler shaker or a Boston shaker. Cobbler shakers tend to have a smaller volume than a Boston shaker, meaning they are better suited to shaking single drinks.

It is argued that the single drink approach of the Cobbler shaker makes it relatively inefficient when serving in busy bars.

It is due to the small volume and integrated strainer that the Cobbler cocktail shaker is known as a beginners shaker.

Japanese Cocktail Shakers

The 3-piece cobbler design is closely associated with Japanese bartending. Japanese mixology is known for its perfection and precision, with the concentration being on each individual drinker and their chosen cocktail.

Because a cobbler can be aesthetically pleasing, and used to serve a single drink, it is favoured by Japanese bars to give full attention to each drink with artisanal quality.

Pros:

  • Decorative – lids and caps can come in a variety of shapes
  • Integrated Strainer – no need for a cocktail strainer
  • Less Dilution – smaller volume means less ice
  • Easy to Use – the best shaker for beginners, no special techniques are needed to use this shaker

Cons:

  • Small Volume – less efficient in busy bars
  • Difficult to Open – changes in temperature cause the metal to contract, creating a tight seal on the lid and cap – this often requires the shaker to be rinsed under a warm tap to open it, which defeats the point of chilling the drink in a shaker
  • Not Suitable for Egg – due to the dirt traps around the cap, egg whites and syrups can easily get stuck

Boston Shaker

Boston Cocktail ShakerThe Boston cocktail shaker is generally seen as the choice of the professionals. This shaker consists of 2 parts; a metal tin and a glass cup.

With a larger volume than the Cobbler shaker, more than one drink can be shaken at once. This is invaluable during busy times in bars.

American Cocktail Shaker

This classic shaker is usually considered the American style of cocktail shaker. The shaker glass used is 16 fl oz, the same volume as a US pint.

Boston Tin

Boston Can

The Boston tin, or shaker tin, is made from metal and is usually around 28oz in volume. The rim of the Boston tin is roughly 9cm to 10cm to accommodate the smaller glass that fits inside.

A shaker tin should be a conical shape. This is so the accompanying glass can slot inside but will stop about a quarter of the way down to create a seal. The slight flexibility of the Boston tin allows it to grip on to the glass.

Boston Glass

Boston Glass

A Boston glass, or shaker glass, is a conical cup that is usually around 16oz in volume. This shaker glass is based on the standard American pint glass, the volume of which is 16 US fl oz.

This basic cup is usually a no-frills soda-lime glass, but will be toughened. Due to the regular impact of ice cubes, and the need to tap and bash the glass to make or break the seal in the shaker, the Boston glass can sometimes break and will need to be replaced more often than the Boston tin.

Pros:

  • Large Volume – an average Boston tin is 28oz, meaning several drinks can be shaken at once
  • Tight Seal – a strong tap gives a Boston shaker a tight seal
  • Single Hand Shaking – if sealed properly, a professional bartender can shake a Boston in one hand, leading to a Boston shaker in each hand
  • Mix and Match – Boston shaker components are usually uniform in size, meaning different tins and glasses can be bought separately and used together
  • Keep Watch on The Cocktail – the shaker glass allows the bartender to view the contents an ensure a good colour. This also creates a good show for the clientele
  • Easy to Clean – simple shape means no dirt traps
  • Stackable – the basic conical shape means the tins and glasses can be stacked and stored efficiently

Cons:

  • Breakable Glass – while a Boston glass is usually toughened, it is more liable to shatter, meaning regular replacements
  • Professional – not recommended for beginners – making and breaking the seal requires practice
  • Less Decorative – not known for being decorated, a Boston shaker is quite plain
  • Need Separate Strainer – amateur bartenders might prefer the built-in strainer of a Cobbler shaker

Parisian Shaker

Parisian Cocktail ShakerAlso known as a French shaker, the Parisian Shaker is a 2-piece cocktail shaker that sits somewhere between a Cobbler and a Boston. The Parisian shaker inherits the shape of the Cobbler shaker, but does not have a built-in strainer.

The top half of the Parisian shaker is designed to fit well with the lower half, similar to the cobbler shaker. However, because the walls of the body and lid sit tight against each other to create a seal they can become a dirt trap while shaking. Similar to a Cobbler shaker, this can make it difficult to separate the 2 parts.

With visual style an important part of mixology, the Parisian shaker gives bartenders the chance to achieve the visual flair of the Japanese Cobbler shaker, but keep the practicality of the American Boston shaker.

Pros:

  • Chill Faster – full steel construction for a greater cooling capacity than glass
  • Tough and Safe – repeated drops and bumps will not break the steel tins
  • Sounds Great – ice moving inside a full steel shaker has a greater musical rattle than a thick shaker glass which insulates the sound
  • Halfway Professional – the lid and body will always fit well like a Cobbler shaker, but the 2-piece design means you need a separate strainer like a professional Boston shaker

Cons:

  • Can be Difficult to Open – tight seal can cause dirt traps, with contents almost gluing the 2 parts together
  • Need Separate Strainer – amateur bartenders might prefer the built-in strainer of a Cobbler shaker

Bonus: Tin on Tin Cocktail Shaker

Gold Tin on Tin Cocktail ShakerA combination of the Parisian shaker and the Boston shaker, the tin on tin cocktail shaker has become popular in the 21st century. As the name suggests, the tin on tin consists of 2 shaker tins. One tin is larger than the other so they can slot together, like a Boston shaker.

Whereas a Parisian shaker has a styled lid that fits with that shaker only, a tin on tin is 2 separate items so there is an element of mix and match. Buy the 2 tins separately to choose different colours and brands to create your own shaker style.

Cheater Tin

Cheater TinTo upgrade your Boston shaker, replace the 16oz shaker glass with a “cheater tin“. Also known as a “Toby tin“, the cheater tin is a simple 16oz metal cup that easily fits in a standard Boston tin.

More recently, smaller shaker tins have been introduced to the market for sale as a set. If purchasing a shaker tin smaller than 28oz, check which other tins match with it.

We recommend purchasing same brand tins to ensure they fit together. For example, the 22.75oz Urban Bar Ginza Can is designed to fit with the 20oz Ginza Cup.

Pros:

  • Chill Faster – full steel construction for a greater cooling capacity than glass
  • Better Seal – steel is more flexible than glass, giving it a better grip on a second tin
  • Tough and Safe – repeated drops and bumps will not break the steel tins
  • Sounds Great – ice moving inside a full steel shaker has a greater musical rattle than a thick shaker glass which insulates the sound

Cons:

  • Professional – not recommended for beginners
  • Mismatches – buying different tins from different manufacturers might not necessarily mean they fit together

Cocktail Shaker Tin Pairing Guide

Want to create your own Tin on Tin cocktail shaker? Follow our Cocktail Shaker Tin Pairing Guide to discover which of our tins work together to give you the best shake.

Cocktail Shaker Tin Pairing Guide


Shop for Tin on Tin Cocktail Shakers

Shop for Tin on Tin Cocktail Shakers


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Shop for Cocktail Shakers