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In Cocktail Shaker Advice

What is a Cocktail Shaker?

What is Cocktail Shaker

You don’t have to be an expert to recognize a cocktail shaker from afar. It’s considered one of the most basic tools in bartending and mixology and is often the center of attraction when a bartender starts entertaining the customers as they wait for their drink.

But contrary to what many people think, it’s not all just for show. Shaking is an essential part of the cocktail mixing process and the shaker plays an important role in that. But what exactly does it do and what do you need to know about it?

What is a cocktail shaker?

Cocktail shakers are tools used to efficiently blend cocktails in a timely fashion. Our ancestors made use of a shake mixers in the past. People in South America used gourds.  The same was done in Egypt thousands of years in the past. It has since evolved and in the 19th century received its signature design that is widely known today. But as it evolved, it has also been classified into three very basic designs—Boston cocktail shaker, cobbler cocktail shaker, and French cocktail shaker. Each shaker has its own distinct characteristics that makes it more appropriate to use for certain types of drinks.

Three basic types of cocktail shakers

Boston shaker

This is a two-piece cocktail shaker which consists a metal part and a glass part. The tempered glass functions as a mixing glass and it is so easy to separate because of the different temperature changes between the glass and metal. And since the glass is transparent, it is very easy to work with liquids having different colors and consistencies. This cocktail shaker is also larger than the other types, which could be both an advantage or a disadvantage for some people.

Cobbler shaker

This type of shaker comes with three different parts: the shaker, the lid, and the built-in strainer. With its design, a cobbler shaker is easier to control, shake, and strain. And as long as you’re sure that the lid is properly sealed, you won’t have to worry about spillage or leaks.

The drawback of this style, though, is separating the parts when it’s cold. Unlike the Boston cocktail shaker, all of its parts are made of stainless steel and they basically react the same way towards changes in temperature. It is especially hard to separate when it’s vacuum shut due to the very low pressure. However, once you get used to that and you’re familiar with how the shaker works, it’s really a very good shaker to use and make cocktails with.

French shaker

This type of shaker closely resembles a Boston shaker because it also has two parts. Many mixology enthusiasts consider this as the original or the standard cocktail shaker; and is actually very common and readily available. It is also challenging to separate, just like the cobbler shaker. Considering its features, it’s kind of the cross between the other two cocktail shakers.

Once you know the distinction among these three types of cocktail shaker, it’s time to learn some tips on how to shake your drinks properly.

  • Avoid making a splash as much as possible. Of course, there’s a beginner phase where you’re still beginning to learn the techniques in making cocktails, but you have to practice splashing less as you go along. Splashing means waste, which is not good if you’re working with expensive liquors
  • There are no proven differences between the way you shake the drink. It doesn’t matter what moves you do; the bottom line is that the drink is shaken well
  • To avoid high levels of dilution, avoid using crushed ice. It turns into liquid quickly and it makes it very hard to predict the taste of the drink afterwards because of too much dilution
  • It is a good practice to first put ice in the shaker before adding the liquor, but for dry shaking, or drinks which contain cream and eggs, it is always better to shake the mixture first without ice

While stirring and blending are equally effective mixing techniques, they often produce different results and consistencies for particular cocktail recipes. The shaker is naturally cylindrical in shape and is usually made of stainless steel material for efficient heat conduction, thereby cooling the mixture with ice faster than any other material would allow.

In Cocktail Shaker Advice

How to Use a Cocktail Shaker

How to Use a Cocktail Shaker

For someone who had been working all week, especially in a stressful work environment, one of the things that you probably look forward to more than anything is Friday night. The thought of going out with friends for a fun night after a long week at work sounds very rewarding, doesn’t it?

And of course, you definitely deserve some relaxation to replenish your energy and make sure you have enough for another busy week. But sometimes, a night out with friends may not be that appealing as usual and you end up just staying at home, relaxing on your own.

Or, you might be looking to hosting friends at your home. Mixing up cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks is easy if you have a cocktail shaker and the accompanying tools to mix your drinks.

You don’t have to have a mini bar at home for you to own a cocktail shaker. It can be very handy for whenever you have friends over at your place or even during the times when you just want to enjoy a refreshing cocktail.

How to Use a Cocktail Shaker Properly?

Cocktail shakers are widely used for a lot—if not all—cocktail recipes that you can possibly learn to make at home. Aside from being a very efficient tool in mixing your drinks, it’s also fun and entertaining to use. Shaking cocktails is considered as one of the most basic techniques in bartending, and it can be a cool hobby for you to try.

If you’re the type who frequent bars and pubs, you’ve probably seen a bartender in action and was impressed with how easy and gracefully they mix drinks using different tricks and cool moves. Well, that’s mostly theatrical. A way to entertain the customers while waiting for their drinks. At the same time, it adds a little fun to the shaking part.

But why do your cocktails need to be shaken?

Most of the liquors used in making cocktails don’t have the same consistency. It doesn’t mean they are not miscible; you just need to apply an external force to mix them properly. And while stirring may be OK, shaking allows a more thorough distribution of the drink’s ingredients. Aside from that, it gives the mixture a good chill and knocks its strength down, making it smoother as it travels through your mouth and down your throat.

Now that you understand why it’s necessary to shake the cocktail mixture, the next thing you need to know is what you need to mix your drinks properly.

Types of cocktail shakers

Basically, there are two common types of cocktail shakers: the three-piece standard cocktail shaker and the two-piece Boston shaker. The distinct characteristic that classifies the two is the built-in strainer which is only found in the standard shaker. A Boston shaker uses a separate strainer.

How to use a cocktail shaker

There’s really nothing special about shaking your drink. It’s just that–shaking. But if you want an end product that you’re 100% satisfied with, you have to learn how to properly shake your cocktail to get the best results. Here are some tips on how to shake your cocktails properly.

  • Put the ice in the cocktail shaker first. It will pre-chill the shaker and cool the liquid as soon as you pour it in
  • Don’t use too much ice and leave room for the ingredients. You shouldn’t overfill the shaker, especially if you’re using expensive liquor for mixing
  • Consider the size of your shaker. If you are using a small one, just mix one drink at a time. It’s better than overfilling it and wasting your drink
  • The more ingredients, the longer and harder you need to shake it. If you have several ingredients in a particular mixture, it needs some time to completely come together for a uniform taste
  • You can tell when you’re done mixing when the cocktail shaker starts to frost
  • Put a little force on your shaking. Consider it a fun way to workout

If you have a handbook included in the package, use it. Learn what you can about shaking your cocktails. You don’t have to be an expert like the bartenders you can see at your favorite bars, but it’s good to know if you’re doing it right or not.

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