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 way more effective.
Nonetheless, if you happen to see a bartender using a Cobbler Shaker, rest assured he's doing it for a reason.
The Cobbler Shaker is a symbol of the golden age of bartending. A pro using it is kind of a nod to the creative barmen of the past. And it indicates that your bartender is focussing on one drink at a time. -A rare trait in modern times.
The history of the Cobbler Shaker
The Cobbler shaker came up in the late 1800s. Edward Hauck of Brooklyn, New York City, was the inventor of the 3-piece cocktail shaker. He patented this 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.
But back to the cocktail shaker. The Cobbler shaker obviously wasn't named after its inventor but after a popular drink served in bars at the time: the Sherry Cobbler.
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 the rationing of metal during World War II, the shaker fell into Oblivion.
In the US, the shaker never came back into fashion, really. You can see it occasionally, but usually, bartenders work with Boston Shakers or tin-on-tin shakers.
In Japan, though, the Cobbler Shaker is still the most common professional mixing tool. Perhaps because of the perfectionism and attention to detail 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 only 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 there is no proof that 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 true 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.
And back to Japan once more: There were only Cobbler Shakers for a very long time. The bartenders just aren't used to the 2-piece shakers.
What's more, it is common in Japan to learn a craft from a true master. So, chances are high this master never used a Boston shaker but perfected the use of a Cobbler Shaker. This way, the tradition of the 3-piece shaker lives on and probably will continue to do so.
The parts of a Cobbler Shaker
The Cobbler Shaker consists of thee parts. The large metal mixing tin, the lid with built-in strainer, and the cap.
The biggest advantage for home bartenders is the built-in strainer. There's no need to buy one separately, and one can start making cocktails right away.
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 tin, then close the shaker.
- Make sure that the cap sits tightly on the lid and start shaking.
- Shake for approximately 15 seconds. Then remove the cap and pour the drink into your cocktail glass.
That is 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. So best stay 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 should need 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 that 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 Cocktail Kingdom is a premium bartending tool at a slightly higher price. This smaller version holding 17 oz usually 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.