can you use a plastic shaker for cocktails 2
can you use a plastic shaker for cocktails 2

In the world of mixology, the quest for the perfect cocktail is an ongoing adventure. But when it comes to choosing the right tools, one question often arises: Can you use a plastic shaker for cocktails? The answer may surprise you. While the iconic stainless steel shaker may be the go-to choice for many bartenders, plastic shakers have been gaining popularity for their durability and versatility. In this article, we explore the pros and cons of using a plastic shaker for cocktails, examining the impact on taste, aesthetics, and overall drinking experience. So, grab your favorite drink, sit back, and let’s shake up some knowledge!

Can You Use A Plastic Shaker For Cocktails?

Advantages of Using a Plastic Shaker for Cocktails

Lightweight and Portable

One of the major advantages of using a plastic shaker for cocktails is its lightweight and portable nature. Unlike metal shakers, plastic shakers are much lighter, making it easier to hold and shake. This is especially beneficial for bartenders who need to mix multiple cocktails at once or for home cocktail enthusiasts who enjoy making drinks on the go. The lightweight nature of a plastic shaker also makes it ideal for outdoor events or parties, where carrying glass or metal shakers can be cumbersome.

Durable and Break-Resistant

Plastic shakers are known for their durability and break-resistance, which makes them a practical choice for both professional and home use. Unlike glass shakers that can shatter if accidentally dropped, plastic shakers are designed to withstand rough handling. This means that you don’t have to worry about your shaker breaking and creating a mess in the middle of preparing a cocktail. The durability of a plastic shaker also ensures its longevity, allowing you to enjoy mixing cocktails for a long time without the need for frequent replacements.

Affordable and Cost-Effective

When it comes to affordability, plastic shakers take the lead. Compared to their stainless steel or glass counterparts, plastic shakers are much more budget-friendly. This makes them an excellent choice for those just starting with cocktail-making and don’t want to invest a significant amount of money in equipment. Plastic shakers can be easily found at affordable prices, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. Moreover, their cost-effective nature allows you to purchase multiple shakers, which can come in handy during parties or when serving a variety of cocktails.

Versatile and Multi-purpose

Plastic shakers offer versatility and multi-purpose functionality, allowing you to use them for a wide range of cocktails. Whether you’re shaking up a refreshing Mojito, a classic Margarita, or a fancy Cosmopolitan, a plastic shaker can handle them all. Its design and construction make it suitable for mixing various ingredients, ensuring thorough blending and efficient chilling. Additionally, plastic shakers can also be used for non-alcoholic beverages, such as mocktails or protein shakes, making them a versatile tool in any kitchen or bar setup.

Disadvantages of Using a Plastic Shaker for Cocktails

Odor Retention

One of the potential downsides of using a plastic shaker for cocktails is its tendency to retain odors. Plastic is more prone to absorbing and retaining smells compared to other materials like stainless steel or glass. This means that if you use your plastic shaker for strong-smelling ingredients like garlic-infused spirits, the plastic may absorb the odor, eventually transferring it to other cocktails. To prevent this, it’s essential to thoroughly clean the shaker immediately after each use and ensure it is properly dried to minimize odor retention.

Potential Chemical Leaching

Another concern with plastic shakers is the potential for chemicals to leach into the cocktails. Certain types of plastics may contain chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) which, when exposed to alcohol or acidic ingredients, can leach into the beverage. Although many plastic shakers today are made from BPA-free materials, it’s essential to always check the label and choose shakers that are explicitly labeled as BPA-free and food-grade. By opting for BPA-free and food-grade plastic shakers, you can minimize the risk of chemical leaching and enjoy your cocktails with peace of mind.

Less Effective Insulation

Compared to metal shakers, plastic shakers offer less effective insulation. This means that the cocktails prepared in a plastic shaker may not retain their desired temperature for an extended period. While this may not be a significant concern for drinks that are typically served immediately, such as margaritas or mojitos, it can impact cocktails that are meant to be enjoyed slowly, like martinis. If temperature retention is crucial for your cocktails, you may want to consider alternatives like stainless steel shakers or use additional insulation techniques, such as double-straining or adding extra ice to compensate for the plastic shaker’s insulation limitations.

Limited Temperature Resistance

Plastic shakers have limited temperature resistance compared to metal shakers. Extreme temperatures can cause the plastic to warp or deform, compromising its functionality and durability. This means that plastic shakers are not suitable for certain cocktail preparation methods that involve heat, such as flame-broiled cocktails or hot toddies. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and avoid subjecting plastic shakers to extreme temperatures to ensure their longevity and optimum performance. If you frequently prepare hot or warm cocktails, it may be worth considering alternative shaker materials that can withstand higher temperatures.

Choosing the Right Plastic Shaker

BPA-Free and Food-Grade Material

When selecting a plastic shaker, it is essential to choose one that is made from BPA-free and food-grade materials. BPA or bisphenol A is a chemical commonly used in the production of plastic products and can potentially leach into drinks, posing health risks. By opting for a BPA-free shaker, you can minimize exposure to harmful chemicals and enjoy your cocktails without concerns. Look for shakers that are specifically labeled as BPA-free and ensure they are made from food-grade materials to ensure their safety for beverage preparation.

Sealing Cap/Aluminum Sleeve

Another factor to consider when choosing a plastic shaker is the sealing cap or an aluminum sleeve. The cap helps to prevent any leakage or spills during the shaking process, ensuring a mess-free experience when making your cocktails. Some plastic shakers come with an aluminum sleeve that provides additional insulation and enhances temperature retention. The sealing cap and aluminum sleeve are especially important if you plan to use your shaker for travel or outdoor activities, as they enhance the shaker’s functionality and make it more convenient to use.

Transparent or Opaque Design

Plastic shakers are available in both transparent and opaque designs, each with its own advantages. Transparent shakers allow you to see the cocktail as you shake it, allowing you to monitor its consistency and the incorporation of ingredients. This can be particularly helpful when creating layered or visually appealing cocktails. On the other hand, opaque shakers offer a more aesthetically pleasing appearance, concealing the ingredients and creating an element of surprise when serving the finished cocktails. Choose the design that aligns with your preferences and cocktail-making style.

Comfortable Grip and Shaker Size

A comfortable grip is essential when using a plastic shaker, as it ensures stability and control during the shaking process. Look for shakers with ergonomic handles or textured surfaces that provide a secure and comfortable grip. Additionally, consider the size of the shaker, as it should be suitable for the volume of cocktails you typically prepare. Shakers are available in various sizes, ranging from smaller single-serving shakers to larger ones for batch mixing. Choose a size that suits your needs and allows for efficient cocktail preparation without overflowing or excessive dilution.

Best Practices for Using a Plastic Shaker

Pre-Chilling the Shaker

To ensure your cocktails are properly chilled, it’s recommended to pre-chill your plastic shaker before use. This helps maintain the desired temperature of the ingredients and prevents excessive dilution from melting ice. Simply place the shaker in the freezer for a few minutes or fill it with ice and leave it for a short period before pouring in the cocktail ingredients. Pre-chilling the shaker creates a colder environment for blending the flavors and achieving a perfectly chilled cocktail.

Proper Ice Quantity

Using the correct amount of ice is crucial when using a plastic shaker. Too little ice will result in inadequate chilling, while too much ice may dilute the cocktail excessively. As a general rule of thumb, fill the shaker about two-thirds full with ice before adding the ingredients. This allows for sufficient contact between the ice and the ingredients, resulting in proper chilling while maintaining the desired balance of flavors.

Balancing the Ingredients

Achieving the right balance of ingredients is essential for a well-crafted cocktail. When using your plastic shaker, pay attention to the recipe specifications and measure each ingredient accurately. Use jiggers or measuring tools to ensure consistency and avoid over or under-pouring. Maintaining proper ingredient ratios is key to a successful cocktail that highlights the flavors and delivers a balanced taste.

Effective Shaking Technique

Mastering the shaking technique is crucial for achieving a well-mixed and beautifully aerated cocktail. When using a plastic shaker, hold it firmly with both hands to ensure a tight seal. Shake the shaker vigorously, with a steady up-and-down motion, for about 10 to 15 seconds. This allows for thorough blending of ingredients and proper incorporation of air, resulting in a smooth and perfectly integrated cocktail. Practice and experiment with different shaking techniques to find the rhythm and style that works best for you.

Can You Use A Plastic Shaker For Cocktails?

Recipes Suitable for Plastic Shaker

Classic Margarita


  • 2 oz tequila
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz triple sec or orange liqueur
  • Salt (for rimming glass)
  • Lime wedge (for garnish)


  1. Rim the glass with salt by running a lime wedge along the rim and dipping it into salt.
  2. Fill the plastic shaker with ice.
  3. Pour the tequila, lime juice, and triple sec over the ice in the shaker.
  4. Shake vigorously for about 10 seconds.
  5. Strain the cocktail into the salt-rimmed glass.
  6. Garnish with a lime wedge.
  7. Enjoy your refreshing classic margarita!



  • 2 oz white rum
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • Mint leaves
  • Club soda
  • Lime wedge and mint sprig (for garnish)


  1. In a plastic shaker, muddle a handful of mint leaves with lime juice and simple syrup.
  2. Fill the shaker with ice.
  3. Pour the rum over the ice.
  4. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds.
  5. Fill a glass with ice and strain the cocktail into it.
  6. Top with club soda.
  7. Garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of mint.
  8. Sip and savor the refreshing flavors of a classic mojito!



  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
  • 0.5 oz triple sec or orange liqueur
  • Lime twist (for garnish)


  1. Fill a plastic shaker with ice.
  2. Pour the vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice, and triple sec over the ice in the shaker.
  3. Shake vigorously for about 10 seconds.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a martini glass.
  5. Garnish with a lime twist.
  6. Indulge in the sophisticated and vibrant flavors of a cosmopolitan!

Pina Colada


  • 2 oz white rum
  • 2 oz pineapple juice
  • 2 oz coconut cream
  • Pineapple slice and cherry (for garnish)


  1. Fill a plastic shaker halfway with ice.
  2. Add the rum, pineapple juice, and coconut cream to the shaker.
  3. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds.
  4. Fill a glass with ice and strain the cocktail into it.
  5. Garnish with a pineapple slice and cherry.
  6. Transport yourself to a tropical paradise with the luscious flavors of a pina colada!



  • 2.5 oz gin or vodka
  • 0.5 oz dry vermouth
  • Lemon twist or olive (for garnish)


  1. Fill a plastic shaker with ice.
  2. Pour the gin or vodka and dry vermouth over the ice in the shaker.
  3. Stir gently for about 20 seconds to mix the ingredients.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a chilled martini glass.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist or olive.
  6. Sip and enjoy the timeless elegance of a classic martini!

Alternatives to Plastic Shaker

Stainless Steel Shaker

Stainless steel shakers offer durability, effective insulation, and a professional aesthetic. They are capable of maintaining the desired temperature of cocktails and are less prone to odor retention compared to plastic shakers. Additionally, stainless steel shakers have a sleek and sophisticated appearance, making them a favorite among bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts who value both style and functionality.

Glass Shaker

Glass shakers are a timeless choice for cocktail-making, offering transparency and elegance. They provide excellent temperature retention and are easy to clean. Glass shakers are also less likely to retain odors compared to plastic. However, they must be handled carefully to avoid breakage, making them better suited for home use rather than in a busy bar environment.

Cocktail Mixing Glass and Bar Spoon

For those who prefer stirring cocktails rather than shaking, a cocktail mixing glass and bar spoon combination is an excellent alternative to a shaker. Mixing glasses allow for a more gentle mixing technique and are ideal for cocktails like martinis or Negronis. Paired with a long and sturdy bar spoon, this setup allows you to create smoothly blended, elegantly stirred cocktails with precision and control.


Using a plastic shaker for cocktails offers several advantages, such as being lightweight, durable, affordable, and versatile. It is a convenient option, particularly for those who prioritize portability and ease of use. However, it is essential to consider the potential drawbacks, such as odor retention and chemical leaching. By choosing a BPA-free and food-grade plastic shaker, practicing proper maintenance and cleaning, and following best practices, you can enjoy the benefits of using a plastic shaker while minimizing any potential risks. Remember to experiment with different recipes, master the shaking technique, and have fun exploring the world of cocktails with your plastic shaker!