Now before we start blabbering about how our shaker is the absolute best, it's only right that we attempt to portray some sense of non-biased transparency and provide some info about other types of shakers on the market. Truth be told, there are several, and while they all serve the purpose of helping you or your bartender create tasty cocktails, they aren't all created equal. If you're new to the cocktail world, fret not - the variety of shakers out there can be downright intimidating, but you really don't need much to cover your bases. Here are the most popular versions...
Just a heads up that some bar tools can be a lightening rod for debate. Enter the cobbler shaker, or sometimes called the "The Three Piece." It may be the most common shaker, especially for home bartenders. The tin cup on the bottom usually comes with a detachable top that doubles as a strainer, and the third piece is simply a cap for the top that serves as your jigger, or measuring cup. The argument against the cobbler shaker is typically rooted in its volume, or lack thereof. It's just difficult to pump out more than one drink in quick succession, which is why you don't see many pros using these. Cobbler shakers can also be nightmare to unstick - both from sugary drinks and the tightening of the metal caused by cold. This is particularly true if you don't detach the top two pieces immediately after use.
Cobblers also don't work as well for straining drinks with fine ingredients because the strainer holes are usually rather large and there is no spring (as with a separate Hawthorne strainer). Lastly, if you enjoy adding egg white to your drinks, cobbler shakers are notorious for exploding, often with the top shooting off and Jackson Pollack'ing your bar. The overall design remains unchanged since 1884, and some folks claim its lack of volume forces the user to focus on one drink at a time, providing a more tailored experience. While we can certainly see the benefits of that argument, you typically won't find one in use at your local craft cocktail bar.
Leave it to the French to take something and make it even more beautiful, yet frustratingly complex. The Parisian shaker, or simply French shaker, as it's often called, is a mix between the cobbler and Boston shakers.
It's aesthetically pleasing and easy to shake, but don't let its smooth looks fool you. Opening this thing can be damn near impossible. Some fine dining establishments use them because they look nice, but trust us when we say no one looks cool trying to leverage every fiber of their being trying to open a shaker while swearing in French. While the Parisian shaker also lacks the integrated strainer found in the cobbler shaker, you can't deny that it's a damn good looking design. You can find some beautiful vintage pieces on the interwebs and they look great on a shelf or as a bookend.
Chances are, if you wandered into a cocktail bar, this will be what's sitting in the bartenders' workspace. The debate on the best shaker continues to rage on among home and amateur bartenders, but it's long been settled amongst the pros. We're a bit biased, but we think the Boston shaker is it. It's often the choice of the professionals for its volume, durability, and easy storage (since you can stack them). While they lack the strainer of the cobbler shaker, they can easily be manipulated to strain with just the two cups. While some folks would throw out the BS flag for a statement asserting Boston shakers actually made better tasting drinks, there's certainly some argument to be made considering, Boston shakers provide the greatest distance from end to end for ice to travel and aerate a frothy drink.
So there you have it. At the end of the day, don't let the nerds fool you - you can make a cocktail in a mason jar. But there's something about process, art form, and craft to consider before you go slinging alcohol and ingredients into shaker. We at C&D have designed the first American made Boston shaker in over 40 years. We engineered it with direct input from both professional bartenders and home enthusiasts. Most importantly, we built it to outlast you. We hope our Boston shaker is the last one you'll ever need to buy.