You’ve seen it used in bars, you’ve heard it mentioned in videos, and you’ve read about it in articles and recipes – but what exactly IS a Boston Shaker?
At its simplest, a Boston Shaker is a two-piece cocktail shaker, usually consisting of a glass and a metal tin.
A useful and common combination is a 16 oz. Mixing Glass or Pint Glass, and a 28 oz. Shaker Tin.
Some bartenders like using a 16 or 18 oz. shaker tin in place of the mixing glass half of the Boston Shaker.
The Boston Shaker can be used for shaking or stirring a cocktail. This is part of the reason it’s so popular with professionals – it’s a multi-tasker.
When using a Boston Shaker you’ll need a strainer to keep the ice and other non-liquid ingredients out of the drink while you pour it into the appropriate serving glass. There are two types of strainers for the Boston Shaker.
- The Hawthorn Strainer – This is the style with the coil around the edge. You place it in the metal half of the Boston Shaker, coil side down, so it can hold back the ice while you pour your shaken drink into the glass.
- The Julep Strainer – This is the style that looks like a large spoon with holes in it. It’s used with the glass half of the shaker, or your mixing glass, when pouring a drink that has been stirred. It’s placed dome or curved side up into the glass and is held in place by your index finger while pouring.
How to separate a Boston Shaker
Below you can see a video I did for how2heroes.com illustrating how to shake a cocktail by making a Margarita.
Although I don’t go into the opening techniques in detail, and I’ve learned a bit since then, it’s worth an overall viewing to watch the process of using a Boston Shaker for shaken cocktails. (I still hate those damn limes – they were like bricks!)
Here’s a few links to some videos that illustrate in a bit more detail.
- Jaime Boudreau does a super video on Shaking a cocktail. Right around the 2 minute mark he goes into great detail on how to open the Boston Shaker. It’s really educational and totally worth the time to check it out.
- How to Use a Cocktail Shaker by Duggan McDonnell on chow.com talks about setting the shaker tin at an angle to facilitate an easy release.
Not enough info for you? Here’s a few reference links below: