We Tested 9 Hawthorne Strainers–Here Are Our Favorite Models

We tested 9 Hawthorne strainers, evaluating how well they strained and how easy they were to use and clean.

Numerous hawthorne strainers on a grey surface
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

A perfectly prepared cocktail is a thing of beauty. Whether you enjoy a crystal clear martini or a crisp daiquiri, the best cocktails are balanced, complex, and visually appealing.

One of the most crucial steps when preparing the ideal cocktail is straining. Straining a cocktail removes any bulky ingredients like ice, herbs, or fruit as the drink is poured into its serving glass.

When it’s time to strain a cocktail, most bartenders turn to the Hawthorne strainer. According to “Imbibe!” (David Wondrich’s history of cocktails), springs were first added to strainers in 1889 and the Hawthorne strainer achieved its familiar form a few short years later. Its simplicity and versatility made it the perfect tool for straining both shaken and stirred drinks and it remains a workhorse behind the bar to this day.

But don’t let the simplicity of the tool fool you: Hawthorne strainers may all look similar, but small design nuances (like spring tightness and handle length) can affect how well each performs. We tested 9 of the most popular strainers on the market to figure out what features matter most and which models are worth your money.

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best Hawthorne Strainer: Poor Man's Kitchen Kilpatrick Fine Strainer

This strainer combines the best aspects of a traditional Hawthorne strainer with a fine mesh strainer to ensure an ultra-thorough strain that prevents even the smallest bits of herbs from reaching the serving glass. It’s also ergonomic, balanced, and easy to use.

The Best Hawthorne Strainer with Prongs: Cocktail Kingdom's Buswell 4-Prong Hawthorne Strainer

Also available at Cocktail Kingdom.

This strainer’s added prongs ensure it’ll fit a wider variety of barware, like shaker tins and mixing glasses. While most pronged strainers have two prongs, the Buswell adds two extra-long prongs, which makes it more versatile and provides extra stability. 

The Tests

  • Fit tests: We measured the diameter of each strainer and tested how well it fit onto the opening of Boston shaker tins and a mixing glass. We noted if the front of each strainer fully covered the openings and if the springs fit within each opening.
  • Egg white test: For each strainer, we mixed and shook a Whiskey Sour (using 110 grams of ice) and strained. We noted how well each model strained the cocktail, looking for any ice shards or small bits of citrus pulp that made it into the final cocktail.
  • Muddled cocktail test: For each strainer, we shook the ingredients of an Old Cuban (using 110 grams of ice), which contains muddled mint leaves, and strained. We noted how well each strainer performed—straining with the gate closed (the position that allows for straining the finest particulates) as far as each strainer would allow. We looked to see how clear each finished cocktail was, noting if there were any small mint pieces, ice shards, and pieces of citrus pulp in the finished cocktail.
  • Stirred cocktail test: For each strainer, we mixed a Negroni in a mixing glass (stirring with 110 grams of ice), then strained. We looked at how well each strainer fit on the opening of the mixing glass and whether each strainer successfully and easily held back the ice.
  • Usability tests: Throughout testing, we evaluated how easy each strainer was to use. We noted design features like the handle length, prongs, number of perforations, and tightness of the spring—discerning what affected usability.
  • Cleanup tests: Throughout testing, we noted how easy each strainer was to clean, washing it by hand after every test. We also removed the strainer’s springs to get a deeper clean, noting the ease of removal and replacement.

Why Should Cocktails Be Strained?

Straining a cocktail is done to separate liquid ingredients—like spirits and fruit juice—from solid ingredients such as ice, citrus seeds, or muddled fruit and herbs. Most bartenders and tipplers prefer that their drinks are served clear, with no bits of fruit or herbs floating around in the glass. And, of course, nobody wants to worry about getting a piece of mint stuck in their teeth. 

On top of that, straining a cocktail helps prevent over-dilution. Bartenders shake or stir cocktails not only to chill them but to dilute them as well. As the cocktail is shaken, some of the ice melts and mixes with the cocktail, softening harsher flavors and lowering the alcohol content of the drink. When the cocktail gets to the right temperature and degree of dilution (after shaking or stirring a cocktail for about 10 to 15 seconds), it’s separated from the ice and strained into the serving glass. 

Types of Cocktail Strainers

There are three primary types of strainers, each one used for slightly different purposes:

  • Julep strainers: Julep strainers are a scallop-shaped, metal style of strainer used exclusively for straining cocktails stirred in a mixing glass. The julep strainer works similarly to a colander, separating larger pieces of ice from the finished, chilled cocktail.
  • Hawthorne strainers: Hawthorne strainers are the most common and versatile type of cocktail strainer. They consist of a solid, round metal piece designed to fit over the opening of a shaking tin, and a spring that fits inside of the tin that filters out finer particles from a cocktail. Hawthorne strainers, conveniently, can be used with both shaking tins and mixing glasses.
  • Fine mesh strainers: When a Hawthorne strainer isn’t enough, some bartenders use a small, conical mesh strainer to filter out tiny ice shards or other particles that are too fine for a Hawthorne strainer to catch. When used in conjunction with a Hawthorne strainer, this process is often called “double straining” or “fine straining.”

How to Use a Hawthorne Strainer

A hand closing the gate on a hawthorne strainer set in a cocktail tin
"Closing the gate" on our favorite Hawthorne strainer.Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The average Hawthorne strainer has a flat, circular piece with holes cut into it is designed to fit over the opening of a shaking tin or mixing glass. This round piece will often have a tab around the center of it and a handle that can vary in length. On the opposite side of the tab is a coil of springs that encircles the entire strainer. This spring is what separates Hawthorne strainers from other types of strainers. It helps to filter out finer particles like chunks of ice or pieces of herbs or fruit from shaken cocktails. 

To use a Hawthorne strainer, place it over the opening of the shaking tin or mixing glass. The side with the spring should fit inside the opening and the flat side should fit flush over the opening of your tin or glass. You should be able to hold the strainer over the opening easily with one hand while having a finger free to push down on the tab on the top. Pushing the tab down closes off some of the openings and contracts the coil on the inside of the strainer. Bartenders sometimes refer to this as “closing the gate,” and it’s useful when a finer strain is necessary. 

Once the strainer is in place and the gate is in the desired position, hold the strainer in place with your hand and pour the contents of the shaker tin or glass through the strainer and into a cocktail glass. The strainer should allow the mixed cocktail to pass through while holding back the ice and any other muddled ingredients.

What We Learned

A Tighter Spring = A Better Strain

Two hawthorne strainers side-by-side—one with a looser spring and the other with a tight spring
The tighter coil (right) of our favorite Hawthorne strainer led to a finer strain than that of models with larger gaps between their coils (like the one of the left).Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Most Hawthorne strainers are composed of the same few components, but there were a few design considerations we found impacted performance. The biggest one was how tightly coiled the spring was.

The spring serves two purposes: it can help to hold the strainer in place when fitted inside a shaker tin and determines how well a strainer filters out fine solids.

Our testing showed that the strainers with the most tightly coiled springs performed the best when it came to filtration. The amount of space between each coil varied quite a bit amongst the strainers—anywhere from a half of a millimeter to a few millimeters. The closer the coils were to each other, the less space there was for solids to pass through, so larger chunks of herbs or ice shards stayed in the shaking tin and out of the finished drinks.

Prong or No Prong?

The shape and overall design of the strainer also impacted usability. The flat, circular part of the strainer should be large and wide enough to cover the opening of a Boston shaker tin. The outside should be wide enough in diameter so the strainer stays flush with the opening of the shaking tin and the strainer stays in place while pouring.

Many Hawthorne strainers have prongs or wings that extend beyond the disc. The prongs make it easier for the strainer to fit with tins or mixing glasses with wider openings. For example, our favorite pronged strainer has a width of five inches, while the smallest we tested had about a 3.25-inch width. Most strainers easily fit multiple sizes of shakers or mixing glasses, but more prongs can help with stabilization and fit.

Was It Easy to Close the Gate?

 Most strainers also have a tab on the side opposite the spring. The tab is used to push down on the strainer before pouring the drink. As we noted above, pushing down the tab both tightens the coils of the spring and closes off the gap between the strainer and the side of the shaking tin. This practice is done when mixologists want a more finely strained cocktail. The placement, size, and materials the tab are made of all contributed to how easy it was to use. For example, a tab placed near the base of the handle of the strainer that protruded a bit further out was easier to reach and manipulate than a less prominent tab that was closer to the center of the strainer.

Handle Design Differences

Four different hawthorne strainers with various handle lengths on a grey surface
The strainer on the far left had far too long of a handle, making it feel clumsier.Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Finally, the strainer must be ergonomic and easy to use with one hand while holding the shaking tin. Of course, everyone’s preferences are different, but some design choices like the length of the handle or tab placement affected how the strainer fit in our hand and shaking tin. A longer handle can make the strainer unbalanced when resting on top of a shaker tin, increasing the liklihood it could tip over. Also, depending on how you prefer holding your strainer, it could potentially get in the way when pouring a drink.

The Criteria: What We Look for in a Hawthorne Strainer

A hand pouring a cocktail into a coupe glass from a cocktail tin with an hawthorne strainer affixed to its opening
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

So, what attributes make for the perfect Hawthorne strainer? First, the strainer must fit over the opening of a shaking tin and stay in place while straining. It should have an easily accessible tab for tightening the springs for a finer strain. And it should be able to filter out all large ingredients from the cocktail and do an adequate job with finer particles, too.

The Best Overall Hawthorne Strainer: Poor Man’s Kitchen Kilpatrick Fine Strainer

What we liked: The Poor Man’s Kitchen Kilpatrick Fine Strainer combined the best features of both a Hawthorne and a mesh strainer. Instead of the classic single, disc-shaped piece of metal with perforations, the face of this strainer is replaced by a stainless steel mesh filter. 

Out of all of the strainers we tested, the Kilpatrick did the best job of filtering out fine particles in the cocktail straining tests. The coils of the spring were among the tightest of all of the strainers, too, and when the tab was pressed down and the gate closed, it filtered as cleanly as a double-strained cocktail.

It was also sturdy and well-designed. The placement of the tab at the base of the handle was easy to reach, making fine-straining ergonomic and easy. And the strainer fit perfectly over the opening of a large shaker tin. At 3 3/4 inches, the handle was slightly longer than average, but due to the heavier mesh screen, it didn’t feel unbalanced. 

What we didn’t like: Because this strainer had a mesh filter instead of the standard perforations, it was slightly more difficult to clean. The coils on the spring were also pretty tight, which led to small pieces of mint getting stuck between them. But the spring was easily removed for deeper cleaning.

Price at time of publish: $26.

Key Specs

  • Diameter: 3.75 inches
  • Handle length: 3 inches
  • Coil space: 1-millimeter
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Unique features: Mesh strainer 
The Poor Man's Kitchen Kilpatrick Strainer on a grey surface
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The Best Hawthorne Strainer with Prongs: Buswell 4-Prong from Cocktail Kingdom

Also available at Cocktail Kingdom.

What we liked: If you prefer a strainer with prongs, the Buswell 4-prong is your best bet. Prongs are added to strainers to help them fit a variety of different-sized shaking tins or mixing glasses, and this strainer goes one step further with another set of extra-long prongs on either side of the face.

It was no surprise that this strainer fit well on every tin and mixing glass we tested it with. It also boasted one of the tightest coils, so it did a good job filtering fine particles. (just not quite as well as our top pick).

What we didn’t like: If you prefer a shorter handle or a more compact Hawthorne strainer, this one may not be the pick for you. Because of its two long prongs on the side and longer handle, it’s larger than other strainers we tested.

Price at time of publish: $16.

Key Specs

  • Diameter: 5 inches
  • Handle length: 2.5 inches
  • Coil space: 1-millimeter
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Unique features: 4 prongs for extra stability 
A stainless steel hawthorne strainer set on a grey surface
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The Competition

  • Koriko by Cocktail Kingdom Hawthorne Strainer: This is a popular strainer for a reason. It’s wide and perfectly covers the openings of both shaking tins and mixing glasses. Its spring coils are also tight enough that it filters well–just not better than our top pick.
  • OXO Steel Cocktail Strainer: This pronged strainer fit well with both shaking tins and mixing glasses. However, it had the widest gap between coils and didn’t quite filter as thoroughly as other models. 
  • A Bar Above Hawthorne Strainer: This strainer performed well in every test, but it didn’t filter out as many of the fine particles as our top pick.
  • Homestia Star Decor Bar Strainer: With its star-shaped perforations, this strainer was one of the more stylish we tested. Unfortunately, it had no finger tab, so was a bit awkward to use when trying to close the gate and tighten the coil.
  • Piña Barware's The Hawthornette: The Hawthornette was a capable strainer and was similar in size and design to the OXO. It comes fitted with a more tightly coiled spring, so it got better results when straining the muddled cocktail. But, it didn’t strain as finely as our top picks.
  • Bar Products Cocktail Strainer - No-Prong w/ Handle: Based on the original design of the Hawthorne strainer from the late 1800s, this model doesn’t have the now standard, flat, metal face. It didn’t fit neatly over the opening of a shaker tin like the others we tested. But it does work perfectly when used like a julep strainer with a mixing glass.
  • Bull in China Hawthorne Strainer: This strainer did a decent job of straining cocktails, but its face was a bit narrow, and during one of the tests it actually fell into the large shaking tin.

FAQs

What’s the difference between a Hawthorne strainer, a julep strainer, and a fine mesh strainer?

The three main types of strainers all have different applications when mixing cocktails. Hawthorne strainers are designed to fit over the opening of shaking tins and can also be used with mixing glasses. They also are built with coils of spring to help filter out fine particles, like bits of herbs. Julep strainers are used to strain stirred cocktails like a Manhattan or Martini. They basically separate the ice from the finished cocktail. Fine mesh strainers are used in conjunction with Hawthorne strainers to filter out any ultra-fine particles that may have snuck past the initial strain.

Do you really need to strain your cocktails?

Straining cocktails is necessary in order to serve a well-balanced cocktail. When preparing a shaken or stirred cocktail, mixing the ingredients with ice not only chills the drink, but some of the ice melts into the cocktail and dilutes the drink. This lowers the overall ABV of the drink and smooths out some of the harsher flavors in the alcohol, creating a more balanced flavor profile. If the cocktail isn’t strained and is just poured into a glass along with the ice, it risks becoming overdiluted and watered down. It’s also important to strain a cocktail that’s muddled with fruit or herbs so that the finished cocktail is clean in appearance and doesn’t have bits of mint or strawberry floating in it.

Why is it called a Hawthorne strainer?

According to cocktail historian David Wondrich in his book “Imbibe!”, the Hawthorne strainer was named after the Hawthorne Cafe in Boston, MA. While the strainer’s design was created by inventor William Wright, the patent was held by Denny Sullivan, who owned the cafe that was the strainer’s namesake.

We Tested 9 Boston Shakers–Here’s How Our Favorites Shake Out

Most mixologists prefer Boston shakers over cobbler cocktail shakers. We tested 9 Boston shakers to find the best ones.

four boston shakers (made of different materials) on a grey countertop
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

There’s no sound more closely associated with mixology than that of a cocktail being shaken. But shaking a cocktail isn’t just about theatrics (even though it is fun to watch a bartender vigorously shake a drink). 

Mixing a drink in a shaker creates a perfectly balanced cocktail with fully combined ingredients and just the right amount of chill and dilution from the melting ice.

And when it comes to making shaken cocktails, most experienced mixologists turn to the Boston shaker, which (generally) consists of two metal tins—one of which is inverted to form a seal. This style of shaker is prized for its simplicity: it’s easy to use behind the bar, and even easier to clean. But its ubiquity in the bartending world has led to an oversaturated market; Amazon returns seven pages of results when searching for cocktail shakers. And it can be hard to determine at first glance which shaker sets are worth your money and which are duds.

Because while Boston shakers are all very similar looking, there are design nuances that affect how each shaker actually performs; things like whether the shakers are weighted, how those weights are attached and the shape of the shaker, to name a few. To find the best Boston shakers, we tested nine popular models. 

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best Boston Shaker: Modern Mixologist Tin on Tin Shakers

The Modern Mixologist shakers formed a strong seal throughout multiple tests. They were also well-balanced, nicely weighted, and made of stainless steel, which made for easy use and cleanup.

The Best Budget Boston Shaker: Piña Barware Stainless Steel Boston Shaker Tin Set

The Piña Barware shaker set is about $5 to $10 cheaper than most of the other shakers we tested, but doesn’t sacrifice any performance and seals as well as our top pick. The only downside is the build quality isn’t quite up to the standard set by the Modern Mixologist tins.

The Tests

  • Dry Shake Test: We performed a “dry shake” test (shaking without ice) with each shaker using the ingredients for a whiskey sour. We noted how well each shaker maintained its seal while shaking the ingredients and how well-combined the drink was after 15 to 20 seconds of shaking. We weighed each cocktail before adding ice in order to determine the amount of dilution. We also noted how easy each shaker was to unseal and seal again after getting wet.
  • Wet Shake Test: We performed a secondary shaking test with each shaker—this time with about 110 grams of ice and the ingredients for a whiskey sour. We shook another 10-15 seconds to chill and dilute the cocktail. We noted how easily each seal broke when it was time to strain each cocktail, and weighed each whiskey sour after shaking to see if any shaker affected dilution more than another.
  • Strainer Fit Test: We checked to see how well a Hawthorne strainer fit over the opening of the large shaker tin in each set and if there were any issues with straining.
  • Long Shake Test: We mixed a Ramos Gin Fizz with each shaker. This drink is notorious for how long it takes to properly combine the ingredients with egg white and cream. We wanted to see how well a shaker set remained sealed after about five minutes of extended shaking. 
  • Taste Tests: We tasted each cocktail to ensure they were properly chilled, diluted, and aerated.
  • Usability Tests: We examined how balanced and easy to shake each shaker set was. We also noted any design choices that complicated the sealing or shaking process.
  • Cleanup Tests: After each test, we cleaned each shaker set by hand, noting how easy or difficult each was to clean.

A Primer on Cocktail Shaking and Boston Shakers

Why Should Some Cocktails Be Shaken?

What exactly does shaking do for a cocktail? There are a few crucial processes that occur while shaking that affect the general character of a finished drink:

  • Mixing: When combining ingredients of different densities, like liquor, fruit juice, and sugar, vigorously shaking a cocktail ensures that all of the ingredients are fully combined.
  • Chilling and dilution: Shaking the cocktail ingredients with ice quickly chills the drink. When doing so, some of the ice inevitably melts and dilutes the cocktail. This increases the volume of the cocktail by adding water while the alcohol content remains the same and lowers the overall ABV of the drink, softening any burn from the alcohol and making it a bit more palatable.
  • Aeration: When shaking a cocktail, the air inside the shaking tins gets mixed into the drink, creating tiny air bubbles. This affects the overall texture and feel of the cocktail and can help soften some stronger bitter or tart flavors.

So, when exactly does a cocktail need to be shaken as opposed to being stirred? The general rule of thumb is that a cocktail should be shaken when its ingredients contain citrus juice, dairy, or egg white—basically when combining liquids with different densities. Spirit-forward drinks that don’t include fruit juice, like the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or Martini, should be stirred.

What's the Difference Between Boston and Cobbler Shakers?

There are two types of shakers predominantly used in mixology: Boston shakers and cobbler shakers. 

Boston shakers tend to be favored by most bartenders because of their size, simplicity, ease of use, and easy cleanup. They’re essentially just two tins, one larger than the other, that fit together to form an airtight seal. Boston shakers are also the largest type of shaker. They provide plenty of space to shake the cocktail back and forth, properly chilling and diluting the drink in the process and giving bartenders the ability to mix multiple servings of the same cocktail at once.

Cobbler shakers are a bit more complex. They come with three pieces: a large shaker tin, a small lid with a built-in strainer, and a cap. In theory, cobbler shakers should make mixing a drink more streamlined since the strainer is already part of the shaker. In practice, the strainers tend not to be fine enough to properly strain the cocktail. Not only do they need extra straining, but they also tend to have a smaller overall capacity compared to Boston shakers.

How to Use a Boston Shaker

GIF of a Boston shaker being shaken with two hands
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Using a Boston shaker is simple, but it does take a bit of practice to do so effectively. A Boston shaker is comprised of a large and small tin. To make a shaken cocktail, all of the ingredients are first placed in the large tin. Ice is then added and the smaller tin is placed on top. The smaller tin should sit at about half an inch to an inch from the top of the large tin and should be at an angle, with one side aligned with the side of the large tin. 

Before beginning to shake, give the small tin a strong smack in order to seal the two tins together. Then shake vigorously for about 10-15 seconds. You want to be able to feel the ice and cocktail ingredients going from one side of the tins to the other. Shaking with ice also strengthens the seal by lowering the temperature inside the sealed shaker and creating a vacuum that holds the tins together tightly.

After about 15 seconds of shaking, the shaker should be almost too cold to touch. Your drink is now done, however, the seal created while shaking might make the tins difficult to pull apart. To break the seal, look at where the two tins are attached. On one side of the small tin, there is more space between the tin walls. Smack the shaker where that gap is, and it should force the seal to break. 

Once the tins are separated, affix a Hawthorne strainer to the top of the tin to hold back the ice and any muddled ingredients, then pour your mixed cocktail into your preferred serving glass.

What We Learned

Analyzing How the Boston Shakers Are Designed

By their nature, Boston shakers are extremely simple tools. There isn’t much variation on the basic, two-tin design, but those small deviations can make a big difference in how effective the shakers are.

When trying to find the best possible shaker, we found the most important factor was how well it sealed. The last thing anyone wants is for the shaker to break apart, spilling the cocktail ingredients on your hands and wasting a good drink—and what affected the seal the most was the material the tins were made of. Some came with one glass shaker and one metal shaker (i.e. stainless steel), while others were all metal.

Metal Shakers Were More Reliable

An up close look at the broken seal of a copper Boston shaker
The copper Boston shaker we tested consistently had its seal break, as shown here.Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

From testing, it was clear that the most reliable material was stainless steel, tin-on-tin shakers. These shakers formed the most consistent, reliable seals—seals that held up even after five minutes of extended shaking. The steel and glass shaker was the most common variation, but when using glass to shake drinks with ice, there is always the possibility of the glass chipping or cracking. And the copper shaker we tested had the weakest seal of any shaker.

Weight and Shape Were Important

The weight and shape of a shaker also affected how easy each was to use. Some Boston shaker sets are weighted, meaning they either have weights attached to either end or are built with thicker materials. This added weight helped to keep the shaker balanced in our hands, which made it easier to shake properly. Some shakers had extra weights welded or bolted to the ends base of each shaker tin. Some of these shakers felt more unbalanced, but over time this style of weight can loosen and possibly fall off of the tin.

Flared Bases Were a No-Go

Another common design variation we found was the shape of the bases of the tins. Some shakers had flared bases, meaning the sides flared out and were wider on the end opposite the opening. This can be helpful for ensuring the tins don’t tip over while adding ingredients, but flared bases can make shaking awkward or uncomfortable depending on how you like to hold your shaker. Generally, we preferred bases that were not flared—with a little care, these won’t tip over and they were more comfortable to hold onto and shake.

The Criteria: What We Look for in a Boston Shaker

Boston shaker being held by two hands and with text around it
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

We’ve established that Boston shakers are simple tools. That’s what makes them so useful behind the bar—they’re easy to use and clean. So, what sets shakers apart?

The best Boston shakers are reliable and easy to use. They have tins made from all stainless steel, are able to maintain their seal while shaking (even for a long period of time),  and provide enough balance and weight to make shaking feel like a natural motion. They also have straight, rather than flared, bases.

The Best Boston Shaker: Modern Mixologist Tin on Tin Shakers

What we liked: When testing the shakers side-by-side, the Modern Mixologist shaking tins immediately stood out—they are very well-crafted shaker tins. Weighing 440 grams total, they have some good heft but aren't overly heavy. The tins were also sleek and without any welding seams, so there’s no risk of any parts coming loose or breaking off with extended use.

This set also performed well on every shaking test. It sealed perfectly on the first attempt and did not leak during any of the dry or wet shake tests. When shaking, we were able to get proper aeration and dilution, and the weight of the shaker felt balanced. When it was time to strain the cocktails, it was easy to break the seal, and two different Hawthorne strainers fit the opening of the shakers.

We found the combination of clean, quality design and high-level performance with this Modern Mixologist set to be very impressive. And at a retail price of $30, you can’t do much better than this shaker.

What we didn’t like: The only potential issue with this shaker was its size. It’s slightly shorter and holds just a little bit less liquid than most other weighted shakers. It’s only a difference of a few ounces, but it’s worth considering.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Capacity: 26- and 18 3/4-ounce tins
  • Weight: 440 grams
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes
  • Base: Straight
The Modern Mixologist tins on a grey countertop
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The Best Budget Boston Shaker: Piña Barware Stainless Steel Boston Shaker Tin Set

What we liked: If you’re on a bit of a budget, but still want a high-quality set of shaker tins, the Piña Barware set is a great pick. With a retail price of around $25, this shaker set is about $5 to $10 less than most of the other shakers we tested but sacrifices none of the quality.

The Piña Barware shaker performed well on all of the shaking tests; the shaker tins remained sealed through all dry and wet shake tests. The shaker opening is the same width as the Modern Mixologist, too, so the Hawthorne strainers fit perfectly. 

What we didn’t like: The only downside is that the weights are welded onto the end of both shaker tins. This means that over time, the seams could potentially wear down and the weights could break off from the rest of the tin.

Key Specs

  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Capacity: 28- and 18-ounce tins
  • Weight: 558 grams
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes
  • Base: Straight
The Pina Shakers on a grey countertop
Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The Competition

FAQs

Do you really need to shake your cocktails?

If a cocktail contains citrus juice, egg whites, or dairy, it needs to be shaken to properly combine all of the ingredients. Shaking with ice also chills and dilutes your cocktail, softening some of the stronger flavors from the alcohol in the drink. Spirit-forward cocktails like Manhattans and Martinis (that don’t have any fruit juice) should be stirred. 

Can you use a cocktail shaker for anything else?

Cocktail shakers can be used for mixing other types of drinks as well. Try mixing lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice, straining it, and topping it off with club soda to make a sparkling lemonade.