Shake Up Your Bartending Skills: A Beginner’s Guide To Using A Shaker

Shake Up Your Bartending Skills: A Beginner's Guide To Using A Shaker

Use A Shaker Bartending

Are you looking to impress your guests with perfectly mixed cocktails? Then you need to master the art of using a shaker! Shakers are essential tools for any bartender, whether professional or amateur. 

This blog will cover everything you need to know about using a shaker, from choosing the right type to proper shaking techniques. You can quickly create delicious and impressive cocktails with our tips and tricks. 

So let’s shake things up and take your bartending skills to the next level!

Importance Of Using A Shaker In Bartending

A shaker is an essential tool in bartending, and mastering its use can significantly improve the quality of your cocktails. It blends ingredients and chills & dilutes the cocktail to the perfect consistency.

The shaking motion also aerates the drink, creating a foam that adds texture and enhances the drinking experience.

Two Main Types Of Shakers

Two Types Of Shakers

There are two main shakers used in bartending: the Boston shaker and the Cobbler shaker.

Boston Shaker

The Boston shaker consists of two metal tins, one slightly smaller and fits inside the other. Professional bartenders typically use it due to its large capacity and ability to create a tight seal, which prevents spills and allows for vigorous shaking.

To use it, fill the mixing glass with ice and ingredients, then place the metal bottom on top and give it a firm tap to seal it. Hold the shaker with one hand on the metal bottom and the other on the mixing glass, and shake vigorously until the shaker becomes frosty. To open the shaker, firmly tap the side with the heel of your hand or a bar spoon.

Cobbler Shaker

On the other hand, the Cobbler shaker is a three-piece shaker that consists of a metal tumbler, a strainer top, and a cap. It is the most common shaker used in home bartending due to its ease of use and smaller size. However, it is not as effective as the Boston shaker in creating a tight seal and allowing for thorough mixing.

To use it, fill the metal bottom with ice and ingredients, then place the lid on top and give it a firm tap to seal it. Hold the shaker with one hand on the metal bottom and the other on the lid, and shake vigorously until the shaker becomes frosty. Remove the cap and pour through the built-in strainer on the lid to strain the cocktail.

Both types of shakers have pros and flaws, and the choice ultimately depends on personal preference and the specific needs of the bartender.

What To Consider When Choosing A Shaker

Choosing the right shaker type for a particular cocktail is crucial in achieving the desired result. The cobbler shaker is the more traditional and easier-to-use shaker, with a built-in filter and a cap. It’s perfect for home bartenders or beginners who don’t have a lot of experience. 

On the other hand, professional bartenders commonly use the Boston shaker, consisting of a metal cup and a mixing glass that fit perfectly.

To use the shaker properly, fill it with ice, add the ingredients, close it tightly, and shake it vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds. It’s important to keep the shaker at a slight angle to create a vacuum seal, ensuring that no liquid spills out. Straining the cocktail after shaking is essential to eliminate ice chips and pulp. 

You can create delicious cocktails that impress your guests by using the appropriate shaker type and mastering the proper shaking techniques.

Steps To Follow

Using a shaker properly ensures that your drink is properly mixed and not over-diluted. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Chill your glassware: Place it in the fridge or fill it with ice to chill it while you prepare your drink.
  2. Add ice to the shaker: Fill the shaker with ice cubes, leaving enough room for the ingredients.
  3. Add ingredients: Measure and pour your ingredients into the shaker.
  4. Secure the shaker: Ensure the tin and the cap are in place.
  5. Shake: Hold the shaker with both hands and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
  6. Strain: Hold the strainer over the chilled glass and pour the drink to remove ice and pulp.
  7. Garnish: Add garnish to finish the drink, such as a citrus twist or a cherry. You can use a shaker to create delicious, well-mixed cocktails to finish these steps.

Shaking Technique To Use In Bartending

Shaking Technique Use Bartending

There are a few different shaking techniques when using a shaker in bartending. Here are a few techniques:

  1. Hard Shake: This is a vigorous shaking technique where the shaker is shaken hard and fast for several seconds. It’s ideal for drinks with egg whites or cream.
  2. Soft Shake: This is a gentler shaking technique where the shaker is shaken lightly for a longer period. It’s ideal for drinks that don’t require as much aeration, like martinis.
  3. Rolling Shake: This is a slower shaking technique where the shaker is rolled back and forth between the hands. It’s ideal for drinks that need to be chilled but shouldn’t be overly aerated, like a Manhattan.

Choosing the right shaking technique based on your drink is important to ensure the right consistency and texture.

Straining And Serving

Once you have shaken your cocktail, the next step is to strain it into a glass. There are two main methods for straining a cocktail, depending on the type of shaker you are using.

If you are using a cobbler shaker, you can pour the contents of the shaker through the built-in strainer on top of the shaker. Hold the shaker over your serving glass and gently pour the cocktail through the strainer. You may need to use a spoon to help guide the cocktail through the filter and prevent ice from falling into the glass.

If you use a Boston shaker, you must use a separate filter, such as a Hawthorne strainer or a fine-mesh sieve. Place the filter over the top of your serving glass and pour the contents of the shaker through the strainer, catching any ice or fruit pulp in the filter.

Once you have strained your cocktail, you can garnish it with a fruit slice, herbs, or any other decorative elements you desire. Serve immediately and enjoy your perfectly mixed cocktail!

Cleaning And Maintenance

Cleaning and maintaining your shaker is essential to ensure its longevity. Here are some tips on how to properly clean and maintain your shaker:

  1. Disassemble the shaker: Take the shaker apart by removing the top and bottom sections. This will make it easier to clean the individual parts.
  2. Rinse with hot water: Rinse the shaker to remove any leftover liquids or residue. This will make it easier to clean the shaker thoroughly.
  3. Add cleaning solution: Add a small amount of dish soap or a specialised shaker cleaning solution to the shaker.
  4. Scrub: Use a soft-bristled brush or sponge to scrub the inside of the shaker, paying close attention to the corners and hard-to-reach areas.
  5. Rinse and dry: Rinse the shaker thoroughly under hot water to remove any remaining cleaning solution. Dry the shaker with a clean towel or allow it to air dry.
  6. Store properly: Once the shaker is dry, reassemble and sit it in a cool place.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your shaker will ensure that it remains in good condition and produces high-quality cocktails every time.


Using a shaker in bartending can greatly enhance the quality and presentation of cocktails. Bartenders can create perfectly mixed and balanced drinks by choosing the right shaker type and mastering proper shaking techniques. 

It’s also important to properly strain and serve the cocktails and regularly clean and maintain the shaker to ensure longevity.

Whether a beginner or a seasoned bartender, adding a shaker to your toolkit can elevate your skills and impress your guests. So shake things up and experiment with different recipes to discover your signature cocktail. Cheers!

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How do you properly clean a cocktail shaker?

After use, disassemble the shaker and hand wash each piece with soap and warm water. Avoid using abrasive materials that can damage the shaker’s surface.

Can a cocktail shaker be used to make non-alcoholic drinks?

Absolutely. A cocktail shaker can mix and chill various beverages, such as juices, smoothies, and mocktails.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when using a cocktail shaker?

Some common mistakes to avoid when using a cocktail shaker include the following:

  • Overfilling the shaker.
  • Failing to secure the lid properly.
  • Using too much ice, which can dilute the cocktail.

References and Citations:

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