Whether your vice is a classic martini (shaken, not stirred a la James Bond) or a perfectly frothed pisco sour, the humble cocktail shaker is an essential piece of kit for making your favourite cocktail recipes like the pros.
It’s particularly important for creating the light foam found in some egg white-based cocktails and is also the quickest way of cooling a drink down, while adding just the right amount of dilution from the added ice. Ingredients are thoroughly combined – whether it’s a boozy affair or a mocktail – and you’ll look pretty cool in the process.
When selecting your cocktail shaker, there are two main types to consider. The Boston is comprised of two parts, normally a larger tin and a smaller glass which should be added at a jaunty angle to create a tight seal.
This style tends to offer a larger capacity to work with, which is why it’s referred to as the busy bartenders cocktail shaker of choice. However, beginners might find a three-piece cobbler style easier to use. This is made up of three parts – the main jug, an inbuilt strainer and the lid, so there’s no need for additional equipment.
Although you can spend significantly more, a functional cocktail shaker needn’t set you back more than £20. We’ve rounded up a selection – from the total basic to the more design-led – that will add a little je ne sais quoi to your bar cart when not in use.
When testing our shakers we made sure they were easy to grip, maintained a tight seal when shaken, yet were easy to dismantle as well.
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KitchenCraft Boston shaker: £12.50, Harvey Nichols
Kitchen Craft has such a great selection of cocktail shakers, from the ultra-practical to the downright stylish, we’ve always found them to be top quality. We think this one strikes a good balance between the two, made from brushed stainless steel and sturdy glass, it’s been printed with classic cocktail recipes for you to easily follow. Simply fill the ingredients to the line and you’ll have the perfect serve for a dry martini, manhattan and more. Inside the box, you’ll also find a cocktail booklet with further recipe suggestions.
S’well blue granite cocktail shaker kit: £95, Harvey Nichols
You’ll no doubt be familiar with S’well for its trendy stainless steel water bottles which come in an array of gorgeous designs. With the emphasis on eliminating single-use plastics, the brand have gained a huge fan base. S’well has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to keeping cold drinks cool and hot drinks hot and has applied this to their very stylish cocktail shaker. Like its water bottles, this shaker is triple-walled and vacuum-insulated – which put simply means your drink will stay super cold, but your hands won’t get frost-bite. Also included in the kit is a pair of stylish tumblers with the same technology, perfect for a variety of cocktails, as well as a handy jigger.
House Doctor alir brass cocktail shaker: £45, Trouva
Oh-so-stylish, you’d be forgiven for thinking this shaker was purely decorative. Fear not though, we put it to the test and actually found it to be very practical – particularly the clever knob on the top, which makes it easy to pull apart the two pieces when you’re finished shaking. The only downfall is that due to the beautiful brass finish it will need to be washed by hand. There’s also a matching wine bucket in the range.
Oliver Bonas iko scalloped cocktail shaker: £24, Oliver Bonas
Art deco lovers will adore this pretty cocktail shaker from Oliver Bonas, which we think looks way more expensive than it is. The rich teal-blue tinted glass features a pretty scallop detail, which, aside from being a lovely design feature, actually makes it really easy to hold on to while shaking. It’s a three-piece style, which is great for beginners as it does away with the need for a separate strainer.
M&S hammered metal cocktail shaker: £15, M&S
Cheap, cheerful and perfectly functional, this hammered stainless steel cocktail shaker from M&S still manages to look chic at the same time. It comprises three parts – the main jug which holds up to 650ml, an inbuilt strainer and the lid which closes tightly but is still easy to remove after a good shake. There are also other barware pieces in the same style if you’d like a matching set.
KitchenCraft barcraft studded cocktail shaker with gold finish: £19.99, Very
We couldn’t resist including another shaker from KitchenCraft because we really were so impressed with the quality. This one’s a little flashier, with a gold exterior and diamond stud detail which means it can’t go in the dishwasher. However the rough surface makes it really easy to grip and we loved the rubber rim which makes taking the cap off a doddle. It also comes with a little booklet featuring cocktail recipes to get you started.
John Lewis & Partners pineapple cocktail shaker: £25, John Lewis & Partners
If there’s one piece of homeware we reckon you can definitely have a little fun with, it’s got to be the cocktail shaker. With full-on tiki-vibes, this shiny silver pineapple-shaped cocktail shaker from John Lewis & Partners is utterly fabulous. We got straight to work rustling up a pina colada (what else?) and are pleased to report that it was certainly not a case of style over substance. Although thanks to the slightly bulbous shape, it wasn’t the easiest to handle – although certainly still manageable. It can hold up to 600ml (enough for a couple of drinks) and looks the part when not in use.
Leopold set of two weighted shaking tins: £21.50, Cocktail Kingdom
Leopold’s stainless steel shaking tins are inexpensive, durable and can be chucked into the dishwasher after use. These professional shakers are also pleasingly weighted, which makes handling them even easier. They take a little getting used to as you need to insert the smaller tin at just the right angle, but once you’ve got the knack, they really are the perfect shaker for rustling up multiple serves.
Georg Jensen sky cocktail shaker: £110, Amara
Let’s be clear, no one needs to spend this sort of money to get a decent cocktail shaker, with many in this list available for under £20. But this sculptural piece from Georg Jensen is so much more than your bog-standard shaker. Designed by industrial and interior designer Aurélien Barbry, this beautiful piece could just as easily be left on your bar cart and admired from afar, however that would be a crying shame because it’s actually very practical too. Made from sturdy stainless steel, with a curved design which is pleasing to grip, it comes with an inbuilt strainer and can hold up to 500ml. Like this look? The nordic-inspired range also includes a bottle stopper, ice bucket and jigger among other barware essentials.
The verdict: Cocktail shakers
Get ready to shake, rattle and roll like the pros with KitchenCraft’s Boston-style shaker, complete with printed serves to follow as you pour. If you have a little more to spend, we’d also recommend the cocktail kit from S’well – the clever technology means your hands will thank you for it.