The 10 Best Cocktail Shakers
This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in June of 2015. If you prefer your beverages made the same way James Bond does, then select one of these handsome cocktail shakers and let the mixology fun begin. Our selection includes cobbler and Boston models, from budget sets for the home to professional-grade equipment for serious bartenders. And don't forget -- if you’ll be indulging in your own creations, make sure to drink responsibly. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
February 03, 2020:
At this time, we've kept a range of both Boston and cobbler shakers, although we removed the Innovee Premium due to issues with its lid, as well as the Barvivo Professional, which is more prone to leaking than some others. For top cobbler options, consider instead the Cresimo Martini or, for a more complete set, the Mixologist World Bartender Kit. There's also the Cocktail Kingdom Usagi, a pricey but well-constructed model that is simple yet highly effective. Those who'd prefer a Boston shaker might consider the Cocktail Kingdom Koriko, which is weighted, or the Top Shelf Boston. Both are easy to clean, but as with all Boston-style models, they can take a little getting used to. There's also the CucinaPrime 5-Piece Set, which is part stainless steel shaker and part pint glass; it arrives with a strainer so you won't need to look for one separately. Finally, we've opted to add one Parisian model, the VonShef Parisian. A complete set, it is handsome and eye-catching, but its finish doesn't always hold up to rough treatment.
Georg Jensen Sky Set The curves and mirror finish found on the Georg Jensen Sky Set lend it a sophisticated air, so it's just as much a decorative object as it is a useful piece for making drinks. It is more expensive than many choices, but you'll receive a jigger and stirring spoon along with the stainless steel shaker. georgjensen.com
Thomas Fuchs Blaze You'd need to look pretty hard to find a model much more striking than the Thomas Fuchs Blaze. Inspired by Brutalist design, it has a multicolored ombré stainless steel finish that is sure to turn heads, but you'll need to hand wash it to keep it in tip-top shape. thomasfuchscreative.com
Yukiwa 24K Gold-Plated Although it's on the smaller side, this Yukiwa 24K Gold-Plated is a fine option for lovers of all things gold. In fact, its diminutive form can be a plus, since it fits in the hand comfortably and isn't too heavy to hold. umamimart.com
Brief History Of Bartending
Then, as now, there was no shortage of people looking to enjoy the intoxicating effects of alcohol.
The trade of bartending dates back over 2,000 years to the inns located along trade and transportation routes during the time of Julius Caesar. Tradesman would travel these routes connecting the Roman Empire during the day and seek haven in the inns at night, where they could eat and sleep in relative safety.
In addition to food, these inns served alcohol, which made them a popular stop for travelers of all types, including soldiers and other wayfarers. In this same era, neighborhood taverns evolved into popular places for locals to gather, gossip, and share news or other stories. These inns and taverns were most likely some of the first bars, making the people working there and serving the drinks the first bartenders. The ancient Greek empire also had similar inns lining their trade routes and local taverns where people would gather to discuss business deals and current events.
In the Middle Ages, one could find public drinking houses all around England and other countries in Europe. Over time the term public drinking houses was shortened and people just started calling them pubs, a term the English still use today. Many of the pub owners in Europe during the Middle Ages brewed their own alcohol, turning bartending into a lucrative career, and turning the common bartender into one of the affluent social elite. Then, as now, there was no shortage of people looking to enjoy the intoxicating effects of alcohol.
When the Europeans crossed the Atlantic and came to the Americas, they brought along alcohol and the necessary tools and skills to produce more, firmly entrenching alcohol consumption and the business of bartending in the colonies.
The Industrial Age further fueled bartending as poor urban communities were formed where pubs become an integral part of the social culture. When the Prohibition Act was passed, bartending became an underground activity and quickly fell under the control of notorious gangsters, most notably Al Capone. In this time, the art of bartending become one of mystery, giving it an air of danger. This was also a time when many of the most popular and well-known drinks were formed, like the Long Island Ice Tea, the whiskey sour, the mint julep, and the Tom Collins.
Invention Of The Cocktail Shaker
The use of cocktail shakers dates back even farther than the advent of the bartender. They can be traced to South America and prehispanic Mexico as far back as 7000 BCE. It is also believed the ancient Egyptians used some kind of shaker to add spices to fermented grain drinks in an attempt to make them more palatable as early as 3500 BCE. In the early 1600s, the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés wrote to King Charles V describing a beverage made from cacao and served to the Aztec emperor Montezuma in a frothy gold cylinder.
The use of cocktail shakers dates back even farther than the advent of the bartender.
In the mid 1900s, George Foster wrote the first description of shakers used as they are in modern times saying, "With his shirt sleeves rolled up, and his face in a fiery glow [he] seems to be pulling long ribbons of julep out of a tin cup.” By this time, metal cocktail shakers were already standard equipment in nearly every bar, indicating that their invention came about many years earlier, though the exact date has been lost to obscurity.
In the early 20th century, cocktail shakers were being designed in a number of crazy shapes and styles, with patent applications rolling in for all kinds of unusual ideas and tweaks in the hopes of making them better. At the time one could find shakers in the shape of airplanes, skyscrapers, lighthouses, penguins, and more. Of all the unique shaker styles, only three would go on to stand the test of time: the French, the Boston, and the cobbler.
Influential Bartenders In History
There have been a number of influential bartenders throughout history, but only a select few have changed the face of bartending as we know it. No list of game-changing bartenders would be complete without mentioning Jerry Thomas. He was the most famous bartender of his day, and more importantly, wrote the now infamous 1862 guide to mixology, "The Bartender's Guide: How To Mix Drinks," which is still in print today.
Earnest "Don the Beachcomber" Gantt is famous for inventing the ever popular tiki drink. In the 1940s and 50s. he made a name for himself by creating carefully constructed faux-Polynesian cocktails and is also considered the inventor of the American tiki bar. He was known for telling his patrons, "If you can’t get to paradise, I’ll bring it to you.” He also claims to have invented the Mai Tai, although that claim has been hotly disputed by Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron, another influential bartender from the era who also opened a tropical styled bar and helped make tiki cocktails a national obsession.
Dale Degroff, known as King Cocktail, and is responsible for kicking off the modern cocktail craze by pioneering a gourmet approach to making classic cocktails with fresh ingredients. He has trained many of the world's top bartenders and penned two of the most authoritative bartending books, considered the bartenders bibles and must-reads for any aspiring bartender.
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