A cocktail shaker is probably one of  the most important tools in any bartenders arsenal. It serves so many purposes and mixing drinks without one just wouldn't be the same. But why? Why can't you just mix drinks without one? Well, techinically you can, but they just won't be as good. Read on to find out why that is.

There are several other bartending tools you'll need if you plan on doing this as a job or at least on a regular basis but you'll need this more than you will anything else. Well, actually it's also very important to have proper measuring devices but that can be saved for another article. Anyway, lets get to it!

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Uses For A Cocktail Shaker

  • Combining ingredients - Shaking a cocktail is the best way to combine all the ingredients and makes sure that they are completely mixed. This helps create a consistent flavor throughout the entire drink.
  • Flavor boosting - Shaking your drink pumps tons of oxygen into the liquid which makes the flavors more intense as you sip your cocktail.
  • Chilling - Drinks are better served cold, the process of shaking drinks with ice achieves this very quickly and does so better than just plopping ice cubes into the glass after pouring in the liquor. In my opinion, this is the most useful part of these handy little bartending tools.
  • Dissolving sugar - Many drinks contain sugar as a sweetener, shaking helps dissolve the tiny granules so that the result isn't gritty. It's harder to break down sugar in a cold drink than it is in a hot one, so the more vigorous the mixing, the better.
  • Showing off - Lets be honest here, everyone loves a good show while their drink is being mixed, watching the bartender shake it up is the best part!

When & When Not To Use A Cocktail Shaker

  • DO use a cocktail shaker to mix cocktails that are best served very cold. A good example of this would be any martini.
  • DO use a cocktail shaker for any drink that already has ingredients that cause it to be cloudy, such as fresh lemon or other citrus juices. You wont hurt it's presentation by shaking it since it's already cloudy by default.
  • DO shake cocktails that have cream or chocolate ingredients as these take a bit more work to combine properly. The same applies to drinks that have egg whites in them.
  • DO NOT use a cocktail shaker on any drink that has carbonated liquids like soda water or pop. You will have quite a mess on your hands and the resulting drink will be flat and not enjoyable at all.  If the cocktail includes several ingredients aside from the soda then you may shake everything together and then add the soda after shaking.
  • DO NOT shake cocktails that have distilled spirits. They are more fragile than other liquors and you can harm the flavor of them by being to violent with them. One example that comes to mind is the Manhattan cocktail.


So, there you have it, if you follow these simple rules you will be well on your way to making the best mixed drinks you can.  Please keep in mind that these rules are not 100% solid, you can experiment and bend them a little to see if you get different results. This is a topic that has been debated by mixologists and bartenders for years and the truth is that everyone just has their own techniques, and there's no reason you can't have your own too.