what size shaker is best for cocktails
what size shaker is best for cocktails

Ladies and gentlemen, when it comes to creating the perfect cocktail, one often overlooked tool plays a significant role in ensuring that our libations reach their full potential. Yes, we’re talking about the humble shaker. But have you ever wondered, in the vast array of options available, what size shaker is truly the best for crafting those delightful concoctions we all love so much? Today, we embark on a journey to uncover the ideal size shaker that will seamlessly blend taste, style, and practicality. Get ready to shake things up, because we’re about to find out which size shaker reigns supreme in the world of cocktails.

Types of Cocktail Shakers

When it comes to mixing up delicious cocktails, having the right tools is essential. One of the most important tools is a cocktail shaker, which helps to thoroughly mix ingredients and chill the drink simultaneously. There are several types of cocktail shakers to choose from, each with its own unique design and functionality. Let’s take a closer look at three popular types of cocktail shakers.

Boston Shaker

The Boston shaker is a classic choice for both professional bartenders and home mixologists. It consists of two main components: a metal tin and a mixing glass. The metal tin is typically made of stainless steel and is placed over the mixing glass to create a tight seal. This shaker is known for its versatility and larger capacity, making it ideal for shaking multiple cocktails at once. It also allows for easy visual inspection of the drink during the mixing process.

Cobbler Shaker

The cobbler shaker is a popular choice for beginners and casual cocktail enthusiasts. It features a three-piece design, including a metal tin, a built-in strainer, and a cap that serves as a measuring device. The advantage of the cobbler shaker is its convenience and ease of use. With the built-in strainer, there is no need for an additional strainer when pouring the cocktail into a glass. The cap also doubles as a jigger, making it a practical option for those who want a straightforward mixing experience.

Parisian Shaker

The Parisian shaker, also known as the French shaker, combines the simplicity of the Boston shaker with the convenience of the cobbler shaker. It consists of two metal tins, one larger and one smaller, that fit snugly together to form a seal. This shaker is preferred by many professionals for its elegant design and efficient mixing capabilities. Its larger capacity allows for larger batches of cocktails, making it a great choice for entertaining guests.

Considerations When Choosing a Size

Now that we have explored the different types of cocktail shakers, it’s time to consider another important aspect: the size. The size of the shaker can have a significant impact on the overall cocktail-making experience. Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right size for your needs.

Number of Cocktails

The first consideration is the number of cocktails you plan to make at once. If you are mixing drinks for a larger group or hosting a party, a shaker with a larger capacity may be more efficient. On the other hand, if you typically make cocktails for yourself or a few close friends, a smaller shaker size may be sufficient.

Capacity Needs

Another factor to consider is your specific capacity needs. Some cocktail recipes require a larger volume of ingredients, such as when making batched cocktails or punches. In these cases, having a shaker with a larger capacity can save time and ensure that all the ingredients are properly mixed. However, if you primarily make drinks that require smaller quantities, a smaller shaker size may be more suitable.

Shaking Technique

The size of the shaker can also affect your shaking technique. A larger shaker requires more effort to shake vigorously, while a smaller shaker may be easier to handle. Consider your own comfort level and shaking technique when choosing the right size for you. Remember, the goal is to thoroughly mix the ingredients and chill the drink, so finding the right balance is crucial.

Small Shaker Sizes

Now let’s delve into the specific sizes of cocktail shakers available. We’ll start with the smaller sizes, which are perfect for individual drinks or small gatherings.

12 oz

The 12 oz shaker is the smallest size available and is commonly used for making single servings of cocktails. This size is ideal for classic drinks like the Martini or Manhattan, which typically require smaller quantities of ingredients. Its compact size also makes it easy to handle and shake with precision.

16 oz

The 16 oz shaker is slightly larger than the 12 oz size and offers a bit more capacity. It is still considered a small shaker and is suitable for individual drinks or smaller portions. This size is versatile and can accommodate a wide range of cocktails, from shaken Daiquiris to Margaritas. It strikes a balance between being compact and having enough room for effective mixing.

Medium Shaker Sizes

Moving on to the medium-sized shakers, these options provide a little more capacity without being overwhelmingly large.

18 oz

The 18 oz shaker is a popular choice for those who want a slightly larger shaker without sacrificing ease of use. It offers a good balance of capacity and maneuverability, making it suitable for making multiple individual drinks or slightly larger portions. This size is commonly used for classic cocktails like the Mojito or Cosmopolitan, which require a bit more room for muddled ingredients or additional mixers.

20 oz

The 20 oz shaker is another medium-sized option that provides a bit more capacity than the 18 oz size. It is well-suited for making two to three individual drinks or slightly larger portions. This size is versatile and can accommodate a range of cocktails, from shaken Martinis to Whiskey Sours. Its slightly larger capacity allows for thorough mixing while still being comfortable to handle.

Large Shaker Sizes

If you frequently entertain guests or enjoy making batches of cocktails, a larger shaker size may be more suitable for you. Here are the options in the large category.

24 oz

The 24 oz shaker is considered on the larger side and is ideal for making multiple drinks at once. With its increased capacity, it can accommodate mixing two to four individual servings or larger portions of cocktails. This size is commonly used for popular classics like the Margarita or Mojito, which often require larger quantities of ingredients. It provides ample room for proper ingredient integration and chilling.

28 oz

The 28 oz shaker is the largest standard size available and is suitable for those who frequently entertain or make larger batches of cocktails. With its generous capacity, it can handle mixing multiple cocktails at once, making it ideal for gatherings or parties. This size is often used for classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned or Negroni that require a good amount of room for muddling or stirring in additional ingredients.

Extra Large Shaker Sizes

For those who need even more capacity, there are extra large shaker sizes available. While not as commonly found, these options can accommodate large batches or mixology competitions.

32 oz

The 32 oz shaker is a substantial option, offering even more capacity than the previously mentioned sizes. This size is primarily used in professional settings, such as high-volume bars or cocktail competitions. Its larger capacity allows for mixing multiple cocktails at once, making it suitable for entertaining large groups or serving as a centerpiece in mixology displays.

34 oz

The 34 oz shaker is the largest size commonly available and is rarely utilized outside of professional mixology settings. It is typically used in high-volume bars or during competitions where large batches of cocktails are required. With its massive capacity, it can accommodate mixing several cocktails simultaneously, making it a tool for efficiency and speed in specialized contexts.

Preferred Shaker Sizes by Bartenders

Now that we have explored the different sizes of cocktail shakers, let’s take a closer look at the preferences of professional bartenders. Their insights can offer valuable guidance when choosing the right size for your own cocktail-making endeavors.

Most Commonly Used Sizes

The most commonly used shaker sizes among bartenders vary depending on the specific needs of the establishment. In general, medium-sized shakers, such as 18 oz and 20 oz, are often favored due to their versatility and ease of handling. These sizes strike a balance between accommodating multiple servings while still allowing for efficient shaking and mixing.

Expert Recommendations

Some expert bartenders may recommend having a variety of shaker sizes in your arsenal to cater to different cocktail recipes and occasions. This way, you can be prepared for any situation and ensure that each drink is properly mixed and chilled. It is also worth noting that experimenting with different shaker sizes can be a fun and educational experience. By trying out various sizes, you can gain a deeper understanding of their effect on taste, texture, and presentation.

Benefits of Different Shaker Sizes

Now that we have explored the various sizes of cocktail shakers and the preferences of bartenders, let’s delve into the benefits that different sizes offer.

Accommodating Different Drink Quantities

One of the primary benefits of having a range of shaker sizes is the ability to accommodate different drink quantities. Whether you are making a single serving or mixing a batch of cocktails, having the appropriate size ensures that all the ingredients are properly incorporated. Smaller sizes are perfect for individual drinks or intimate gatherings, while larger sizes make entertaining a breeze.

Balancing Ingredients and Ice

A well-balanced cocktail requires a thoughtful ratio of ingredients and ice. Different cocktail recipes call for varying amounts of each component, and having the right size shaker can help achieve the desired balance. A larger shaker provides the necessary space for proper dilution when using larger amounts of ice, while smaller shakers allow for more control over the level of dilution. The size of the shaker also affects the amount of chilling the ingredients receive, making it a crucial factor in creating a well-rounded drink.

Aesthetics and Presentation

In addition to functionality, the size of the shaker can also impact the aesthetics and presentation of the finished cocktail. Smaller shakers create an intimate feel, especially when preparing drinks for one or a few individuals. Larger shakers can add a sense of grandeur and spectacle, making them well-suited for party settings or bartenders who enjoy flair. By choosing the right size, you can enhance the overall drinking experience and create visually stunning cocktails.

Best Shaker Size for Different Cocktails

While there are general guidelines and recommendations for shaker sizes, the best size for each cocktail ultimately depends on its specific requirements. Here are a few examples of popular cocktails and the recommended shaker sizes for each:


For a classic Martini, a smaller shaker size is generally preferred. The 12 oz or 16 oz shaker provides adequate space for intimate mixing and chilling of the ingredients. The smaller size allows for precise control over the texture and temperature of the drink.


When making a Margarita, the 18 oz or 20 oz shaker is a popular choice. This size offers ample room for shaking the tequila, lime juice, and other ingredients with ice, resulting in a well-mixed and refreshing cocktail.

Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned, a beloved cocktail that typically involves muddling and stirring, benefits from using a larger shaker size. The 24 oz or 28 oz shaker provides enough space for the muddled ingredients, ice, and gentle stirring. The larger size allows for proper dilution and blending of flavors.

Whiskey Sour

The Whiskey Sour, which combines whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup, can be successfully mixed using the 18 oz or 20 oz shaker. These sizes offer a good balance of capacity and control, allowing for effective blending of the flavors and chilling of the drink.

Remember that these recommendations are not set in stone, and experimentation with different shaker sizes can lead to exciting discoveries and personal preferences.

Factors to Consider Apart from Size

While size plays a significant role in choosing the right shaker, there are a few other factors to consider to ensure a well-rounded cocktail-making experience.

Material and Construction

The material and construction of the shaker can affect its performance and durability. Most shakers are made of stainless steel, which is highly preferred due to its durability and ease of maintenance. It is important to choose a shaker with quality craftsmanship to ensure that it withstands frequent use and provides a reliable seal.

Seal Quality

A proper seal is essential for effective shaking and preventing any leaks during the mixing process. Poor sealing can lead to a messy experience and inconsistent results. When choosing a shaker, look for one that is designed to create a tight seal between the components, ensuring that the liquids and ice remain contained throughout the shaking process.

Ease of Use and Cleaning

Consider the overall ease of use and cleaning when selecting a shaker. Look for ergonomic designs that are comfortable to hold and shake. Shakers with removable components, such as metal tins and built-in strainers, can facilitate cleaning and maintenance. The more user-friendly the design, the more enjoyable the cocktail-making experience.

In conclusion, the size of the shaker plays a crucial role in the art of cocktail-making. Determining the right size depends on various factors, including the number of cocktails, capacity needs, and personal preference. Experimentation and understanding the benefits that different shaker sizes offer can elevate your cocktail creations to new heights. By choosing the right shaker size and considering other important factors, you can embark on a journey of mixology excellence and enjoy the process of crafting delicious and visually stunning drinks. Cheers to finding the perfect shaker size for your cocktail adventures!

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Lindsay Nader
Hi there! I'm Lindsay Nader, a passionate cocktail enthusiast and the resident expert here at Cocktail Kit Mix. With years of experience in the world of mixology, I'm here to share with you all the tips, tricks, and insider knowledge you need to create the perfect cocktail. As a cocktail expert, I have honed my skills through countless hours of experimentation and training. From classic cocktails to innovative concoctions, I have tried them all and can't wait to guide you on your mixology journey. My love for mixology started at a young age, and over the years, I have had the pleasure of working in some of the top bars and restaurants around the world. This experience has allowed me to learn from the best in the industry and gain a deep understanding of the art of crafting exceptional drinks. I believe that a great cocktail is more than just a drink – it's an experience. That's why I'm dedicated to helping you elevate your cocktail game, whether you're a seasoned bartender or a home enthusiast. Through my articles, tutorials, and guides, I aim to inspire creativity and provide you with the knowledge and confidence to create incredible cocktails that will impress your friends and family. When I'm not exploring the world of mixology, you can find me exploring new ingredients, experimenting with flavor combinations, and pushing the boundaries of what a cocktail can be. I'm always on the lookout for the latest trends and techniques, so you can trust that you'll be getting the most up-to-date and exciting content from me. So, join me on this cocktail adventure and let's raise a glass to the art of mixology. Cheers!