Today, a Cobbler Shaker is popular among beginners who make drinks at home with ingredients from their home bar. In cocktail bars, you rarely see the 3-piece shaker. -Most bartenders will agree that a tin-on-tin or Boston Shaker is much more effective.
Nonetheless, if you see a bartender using a Cobbler Shaker, rest assured he's doing it for a reason. This Shaker type is a symbol of the golden age of bartending. A pro using it is kind of a nod to the creative bartenders of the past. And it indicates that your bartender focuses on one drink at a time. -A rare trait in modern times.
What is a Cobbler Shaker Anyway?
This shaker is the best-selling shaker among (home) bartending beginners. In simple terms, a Cobbler Shaker is a three-piece cocktail shaker that consists of the following parts:
- Large metal mixing tin
- Lid with a built-in strainer
- Cap to seal the shaker
Cobbler Shaker vs. Boston Shaker
The Cobbler and Boston Shaker are two of the most common shaker types. Here's a detailed comparison between the two, starting with an illustration of the differences.
- Components: A Cobbler shaker consists of three pieces, whereas a Boston Shaker only has two shaking tins of different sizes.
- Capacity: Most Boston Shakers are large enough to mix two or three drinks simultaneously. Cobbler Shakers, on the other hand, are typically designed to create one cocktail at a time.
- Ease of cleaning: One of the finest aspects about a Boston Shaker is how easy it is to clean. With the Cobbler shaker, things look different. You have to clean three instead of two parts, and one of them is the stubborn built-in strainer.
- Strainer: You can use a Cobbler Shaker without using an additional sieve. The built-in strainer helps to keep ice shards and fruit pulp out of the drink. For the Boston Shaker, an extra Hawthorne strainer is necessary.
- Best for: A Cobbler Shaker is an excellent bartending tool for novices because it requires no additional equipment. More experienced bartenders should opt for a Boston Shaker as it's easier to use and has a higher capacity.
For a comprehensive overview, look at our in-depth comparison of the different shaker types.
Why is it named a Cobbler Shaker?
The Cobbler Shaker is named after a popular cocktail served in bars at the time: the Sherry Cobbler. Cobblers are shaken drinks served over crushed ice, garnished with fruit or mint. Most Cobblers are wine-based (like the Sherry Cobbler), but can also be based on liqueurs or spirits.
The History of the Cobbler Shaker
The Cobbler Shaker came up in the late 1800s. The 3-piece cocktail shaker was invented by Edward Hauck in Brooklyn, New York City. He patented the cocktail-making tool that consists of a metal mixing tin, a lid with a built-in strainer, and a cap.
On a side note: the younger brother of Edward, Charles J. Hauck, Jr., also developed bartending tools. In 1890, he filed a patent for a strainer with an angled handle to be locked onto a mixing glass.
After the invention of stainless steel in the 1910s, Cobbler Shakers usually were made from this durable metal. But with the onset of Prohibition and metal rationing during World War II, the shaker fell into Oblivion.
In the US, the shaker never came back into fashion. You can see it occasionally, but usually, bartenders work with Boston Shakers or tin-on-tin shakers.
However, the Cobbler Shaker is still the most common professional mixing tool in Japan. Perhaps because of the perfectionism and attention to detail, the Japanese are famous for.
But does the Cobbler Shaker actually produce better cocktails? Let's find out.
Can a Cobbler Shaker create a better drink?
The narrative of the Cobbler Shaker producing higher quality drinks is very, very old. And the fact that Japanese bartenders still use this ineffective tool for making sensational cocktails feeds this myth.
Advocates of the Cobbler shaker claim that size, shape, and interior polish make for better results.
They say that a Cobbler Shaker allows more control during the shaker process and better aeration of the drink. Adversaries of the shaker counter that no proof could underline this statement. Ultimately, there's no final agreement on this matter.
Moreover, supporters of the three-piece shaker say that technical superiority isn't the main reason for using a Cobbler Shaker.
The reason is history, style, and honoring the craft of mixology. There's no way you could shake two Cobbler Shakers simultaneously, as bartenders sometimes do with Boston Shakers. That alone automatically ensures attention, as the bartender can focus on only one drink.
Further, using a Cobbler Shaker can also have style reasons. In the end, the shaker is still the most common symbol of the golden age of bartending. And you can celebrate this golden time by using the traditional cocktail shaker.
In Japan, for a long time, there were just Cobbler Shakers. The bartenders are not accustomed to 2-piece shakers.
Furthermore, learning a craft from a true master is frequent in Japan. So it's likely that this expert never used a Boston shaker and instead perfected the use of a Cobbler Shaker. In this way, the 3-piece shaker tradition lives on and is likely to continue.
Advantages of a Cobbler Shaker
The Cobbler Shaker consists of three parts. The large metal mixing tin, the lid with a built-in strainer, and the cap.
The key advantage for home bartenders is the built-in strainer. There's no need to buy one separately, so you can start making cocktails without additional equipment. In this case, the cap serves as a jigger replacement.
Disadvantages of a Cobbler Shaker
However, convenience often comes with a catch. And in the case of the Cobbler Shaker, the strainer is not as fine as an actual Hawthorne strainer.
That means pieces of ice and fruit pulp could slip through and end up in your drink. To prevent this from happening, you can double-strain the cocktail by pouring it through a fine-mesh strainer.
Another problem with the construction is the cleaning. Especially cleaning the lid part is a tedious and fiddly task. That is also one of the main reasons I prefer a Tin-on-Tin or Parisian shaker over a Cobbler.
How to use a Cobbler Shaker
Making drinks with a Cobbler Shaker is pretty straightforward. But if you're new to making mixed drinks, here's a simple step-by-step guide on how to use a Cobbler Shaker.
- Open the shaker and fill the large mixing tin with ice.
- Pour the cocktail ingredients into the shaking tin, then close the shaker.
- Make sure that the cap sits tightly on the lid and starts shaking.
- Shake for approximately 15 seconds. Then remove the cap and pour the drink into your cocktail glass.
That is it.
What To Do When Cobbler Shaker Cap is Stuck?
The cap of a cobbler shaker can get stuck from time to time. To open the shaker, hold it under hot water where the cap and lid meet. Wait a few seconds until the seal loosens, then use a towel to remove the cap.
The reason for a stuck cap is that when shaking cocktails with a metal shaker, all metal parts contract due to the freezing temperatures in the shaker. That can cause the cap to contract so much that it's almost impossible to remove it.
Cobbler Shaker recommendations
Due to their elegant appearance, Cobbler Shakers are a popular gift to aspiring home bartenders. This fact led to a flood of cheap products on the market.
Many of them only look good at first sight but are of inferior quality. Steer away from products sold for a few bucks at Walmart, etc.
Instead, invest a few bucks more for a decent Cobbler Shaker. They are not overpriced, so do not try to save in the wrong place. If you're looking for recommendations, here are some nice Cobbler Shakers perfect for home use.
Barfly Cobbler Shaker - 24oz
This Cobbler Shaker from Barfly is a great entry-level product. I love the golden finish of this stainless steel shaker. Besides the finish, this Cobbler Shaker has everything you need.
The Barfly shaker is made of stainless steel, has a decent size, and the design ensures a better grip on the cap. That helps open the shaker, which can be tricky sometimes.
OXO Steel Cobbler Shaker
This modern variation from OXO is another excellent alternative. The design is less stylish and focuses on practicality. But, in turn, it's super easy to use. OXO even went the extra mile and made the cap a perfect jigger replacement.
The cap has marks for 0.5oz, 0.75oz, and 1oz which make it a perfect all-in-one tool. Also, this shaker is super durable. So, if you're looking for a tool to last a lifetime, this is it.
Cocktail Kingdom Usagi shaker
This heavyweight Cobbler Shaker from the Cocktail Kingdom is a premium bartending tool at a slightly higher price. This smaller version holding 17 oz sells for $50. That's a bit more than the other two, but this shaker is well worth it.
This one is a perfect combination of product quality and design. Still, always keep in mind that this size is only good for making one drink at a time. If you want to make two drinks at once, a larger version is available, holding 24 oz.
Godinger Cobbler Shaker Glass
Most Cobbler Shakers are made from all metal, but you can also get an excellent Cobbler Shaker made out of glass. One of our favorites is the crystal-glass shaker from Godinger. It consists of a gorgeously patterned Cobbler Shaker glass, polished metal lid, and metal cap.
The glass part is made of lead-free crystal and holds up to 16 ounces of liquid, although it is advertised as having a 17-ounce capacity. It's a beautiful, decent-quality Cobbler Shaker that does the job while looking great on your bar cart.