A party is always half enjoyed if you do not spot a person with a shining cocktail shaker in hand behind a bar offering chilled drinks don’t you think? I find it always fascinating to watch my drink being mixed and made in front of me which is actually a talent that you should admire. This review is based on true facts from an ex-cocktail barman. He says its always been somewhat magical to watch so many different elements come together and make the perfect concoction for the party goer. What is it that makes this simple shaker such a star at gatherings? We are here to elaborate more on this simple device and talk in depth about the various uses and types.
What is the main use of a Cocktail Shaker?
The cocktail shaker is part and parcel of the science and art of making a good cocktail which is commonly known as mixology. It wouldn’t be wrong to state that a mixologist is somewhat of an inventor. They try blending new flavors together to offer customers great tasting as well as balanced cocktails during a party or gathering. In order for you to taste a good cocktail, there should be an amalgamation of flavors which is carefully measured and well balanced. You should know what flavors compliment each other when they are married together. To achieve this perfect balance and ideal mix of spirits, herbs, juices, ice and other ingredients, we make use of a cocktail shaker. However there are types of drink mixing kits that are used all over.
Types of Cocktail Shakers
There are 3 types of cocktail mixers that are well known in the market while there are other niche shakers that are available as well. Most of you who are familiar with bar shakers would know that the Cobbler Shaker, Boston Shaker and the French Shaker are the most famed out of the lot. Each of these shakers have their unique features while each has its own pros and cons for users to think about. Something that most of you should notice is the material that is used to manufacture these shakers. In most cases it is some form of stainless steel material which may present positive or negative properties of its own. An ideal example for a positive would be that its easy to clean and maintain but the same material can cause the temperature to drop inside the shaker and cause issues with ice. Let’s talk about them individually.
The Boston Shaker
This mixer is ideal for beginners to start off from while most seasoned barmen always recommend the same. So far, according to a few ex-cocktail specialists, this is without a doubt one of the best cocktail mixers available. Consisting of two parts – the glass and the tin, the glass is often used as a vessel for stirring and muddling the concoction during preparation time. Since the shaker consists of a large area for the shaking it allows a delectable mix of flavors. Many describe this as a pro among the shakers but you don’t have to feel bothered by it. Some even claim that they get soaked when shaking the Boston shaker but as long as you hold the glass and tin firmly so that its well sealed and use a good technique to shake it up, you are good to go.
This shaker set does not include a built-in strainer but you can purchase one of these and add the device to your cocktail bar. Strainers are very cheap. You can also create your own strainer by using the tin and glass available in the shaker by creating a gap small enough for the liquid to seep through leaving the debris of herbs and added ingredients.
The Boston Shaker is visually pleasing while its a quite versatile shaker since it produces a fast drink. A drawback of this would be that its part glass which can break while a certain skill level would be required to produce the best quality drink.
The Cobbler Shaker
If you are looking for something that is not complicated and easy to use, the Cobbler Shaker is the one for you. A great alternative for new mixologists out there, this consists of 3 pieces – a tin, a lid with a built-in strainer and a cap which can also be used to measure spirits. All three pieces are made of some form of stainless steel. Cobbler mixer is considered as a simple device since its very easy to use. You have to simply pour in all your ingredients along with the ice, fix the lid and cap and shake away. Once you are done with the shaking, you can just take off the cap and pour the cocktail. However, it does come with a few drawbacks which includes the built-in strainer that can slow down the flow of the cocktail. This is mainly due to the narrowness and lesser openings in the lid. Since a cocktail mainly involves ice, pouring the liquid can be a bit messy and cause blocks.
Since the mixer is stainless steel, there might be a drop in the temperature due to the ice which can lead to the lid getting stuck to the tin. This can be an issue if there is a crowd waiting in line for their cocktails to come up. Warming up the shaker at this point helps. So, talking about the pros of the Cobbler Shaker, we can say that its good for beginners in mixology and offers no extra cost due to its built in strainer. The negatives that can be mentioned include the proneness to sticking as well as being slower to pour.
The French Cocktail Shaker
Also known as the Parisian Shaker, it is a known as a combination of Cobbler and Boston. More sexier than a Cobbler with the exception of the strainer, the Parisian is a two piece shaker similar to the Boston but with two tins instead of the glass. Many would consider this model since it offers a combination of both the Cobbler and the Boston but not quite exactly. The Boston is preferred due to its practicality and size while the Cobbler is preferred due to its simplicity. However, when considering the Parisian, even though it’s a stunner, it does not consist of any of the before mentioned qualities. It also has the tendency to stick while your skill level should be higher than a beginner. The only pro would be that its easy on the eye.
Wondering where to buy these mixers? You can try your local store or buy online through amazon for very competitive prices.
Cocktail Shaker Sets
If you are looking for an all in one drink mixer set, there are plenty of options available today in the market. Generally, you will be given with the same set of parts – the shaker, strainer, muddler, a jigger and a bar spoon. However, it is wise that you do some research beforehand and make the purchase since you will be making use of the entire set, especially if you are planning to keep at your mixology skills. Another shaker that is worth mentioning which belongs to a niche market is the Mason Jar Cocktail Shaker Set that is offered by Ehome. This 30 oz Mason Jar consists of stainless steel lid and cap, built-in strainer, two jiggers and a muddler which is certainly different from the standard shaker.
Word About The Art of Shaking
There is actually no point in getting your self a cocktail maker set if you don’t know how to prepare a good cocktail. However, learning the art of shaking and coming up with a delicious drink is quite simple and straightforward while you have to remember only a few things. First and foremost is your hand position. Make sure that you have your dominant hand on top of your shaker while pinning your thumb on the very top acts as an extra safety precaution. Have you none dominant hand underneath the shaker forming a tight grip. Now you can commence the shaking. There is actually nothing mentioned about the number of shakes but I personally think that you should not go past ten. Stand with your feet slightly apart which gives good posture and shake over your dominant shoulder. If you find this awkward or uncomfortable, you can shake it across your chest area or over your head. Just have a good grip and concentrate on fluid motions.
Here is a video showing some shaking techniques and some good tips.
I hope you will find few recipes and have fun experimenting with mixing your way to delicious cocktails this summer!