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How to shake a cocktail

Shaking a cocktail can be done in many different ways with many different cocktail shakers. We have listed 2 different type of cocktail shakers and explained how they work. Enjoy this short article and watch the How to shake a cocktail tutorial video.


The Three-part Shaker

Also known as the Cobbler shaker. Can be bought everywhere, very easy to use, but pours extremely slowly and is (usually) too small. There are three parts: the shaker (largest part), the strainer (perforated part) and the cap (smallest part).

Step 1: Pour ingredients into shaker.

Step 2: Add ice.

Step 3: Shake hard for ten seconds, above shoulder level, parallel to guest, holding both ends of shaker and pushing your hands together to keep it sealed.

Step 4: Twist off the cap of the shaker.

Step 5: Pour out the contents through the strainer, either straight-up or over fresh ice. Never re-use the ice you shook with!


The Two-part Shaker

Also known as the Boston shaker. Less widely seen, needs a little training to use, pours very quickly and is much larger than a 3-part. Typically one part is metal (the shaker or tin) and the other glass (the mixing glass or Boston), although both parts can be metal (in which case the smaller of the two is called a cheater tin).

Step 1: Pour ingredients into Boston glass.


Step 2: Add ice.

Step 3: Slide the shaker over the Boston to make a straight-line on one side only.

Step 4: Give the shaker a firm tap to seal it.


Step 5: Shake hard for ten seconds, above shoulder level, parallel to guest, holding both ends of shaker & Boston and pushing your hands together to keep it sealed.



Step 6: Hold the shaker & Boston in one hand, so the Boston glass is on top and your fingers are on both the shaker and the Boston.

Step 7: Use the heel of your hand to hit the shaker where the gap widens between it and the Boston. Keep tapping lightly until the seal opens.


Step 8: Use a Hawthorne strainer* to strain out the liquid, either straight-up or over fresh ice. Never re-use the ice you shook with!


* Optionally, you can also use a second, fine-strainer to remove shards of ice and fruit flesh from the liquid. Shaking usually creates at least 25% dilution.


Want to learn more about making cocktails yourself? Find out more about our Cocktail Introduction and Basic Bartending Course!


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