Pro tip: how to use the shaker for your cocktails


The shaker is a fundamental tool of mixology: to know how to use it correctly at home, read our advice.

The shaker makes the difference when it comes to making a good cocktail . There are drinks like Margarita and Bloody Mary that would be almost unrecognizable if not shaken properly. There are four factors that influence the operation: aeration, temperature, dilution and consistency . The role of ice is fundamental, which must always be of quality to avoid diluting or altering the mixing. It is advisable to leave the ice outside for a few seconds before placing it in the shaker to prevent it from becoming excessively dry.

Materials and dimensions

The best shakers are in polished 18/10 stainless steel, particularly resistant to thermal shocks. The best come from Italy and Japan. The shakers are of the most varied sizes and capacities: from 20 cl up to 1 liter, usually those of 25, 35, and 50 cl are preferred.

Basic technique

There are various techniques for getting a textbook result. According to the basic technique, the shaker is filled with ice by pouring the ingredients: it is important to follow the recipes to the letter so as not to mistake the proportions. The shaker is shaken with a movement from the bottom upwards: in this way you will obtain a circular movement that will favor cooling and dilution. The consistency will be perfect, to be sure just take a look at the ice: if it has rounded corners it means that it has been shaken properly. 

The three variants

  • The first Dry and Wet , as the name implies, is in two phases: first dry without ice and then with the addition of cubes. It is recommended for cocktails with egg white (or acquafaba ), it helps to better emulsify proteins. Perfect with Pisco Sour and White Lady.
  • The term Hard Shake refers to the three-point movement to shake. The Cobbler shaker is usually used because it promotes aeration. The technique, reserved for the most experienced bartenders, was invented by Kauzo Uyeda. Suitable for cocktails based on creams, fruit purees or egg white, perfect for Daiquiri .
  • Finally, the Whip Shake technique : insert a few cubes into the shaker and shake until they are completely dissolved. The cocktail is diluted and frothy; if the technique is not mastered, the risk is to obtain an elongated drink . The technique is not so common in bars but it is preferred when it comes to saving ice. Used for Zombie and Navy Grog.

Duration of the shake

The duration of the shake fluctuates between 5 and 20 seconds; usually the standard time indicated in the recipes is 8 seconds. In general it varies according to individual strength. Between one cocktail and another, it is essential to wash the shaker well with neutral detergent and with fresh running water.

Types of shakers

There are three types of shakers: the Boston, the Cobbler and the Parisienne.

  1. The Boston is the most popular: made up of a metal glass called tin and a smaller glass (often glass), where to pour the ingredients. The two parts fit together perfectly, just exert a slight pressure. Sometimes the strainer is placed between the two glasses, if crushed ice is used, to filter the drink. Behind the counter the Boston is preferred for reasons of convenience: its size allows you to make up to four drinks at the same time.
  2. The Cobbler or Continentale is the one with the most elegant line. The lower part is made of metal: the ingredients are poured here. A dome with a perforated cap is used to filter and finally there is the lid. All three elements fit together perfectly and to pour the cocktail just remove the filter.
  3. The Parisienne (or French shaker) is the least used at the counter: it is made up of two pieces. An underlying glass in glass, plastic or metal surmounted by a lid also in metal or plastic. It is an impractical model and therefore is used less often. There is also a variant: the Bullet shakers , with a bullet shape as the name suggests.

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