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How to shake a cocktail

16 November 2015Malika Saidi

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. Also, below you will find a short instruction video to show you how it's done!

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)
  • 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 there are two parts:

  • The (metal) shaker or tin
  • 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 courses here!


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Malika Saidi

Malika Saidi

Malika Saidi is the Bols Global Brand Ambassador and trainer at the Bols Academy. She loves sports, travelling and bartending.

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