Parisian cocktail shaker

The Parisian or French Cocktail Shaker

By Timo Torner / Last updated on June 17, 2022 
The Parisian Shaker is presumably the most classy tool to shake up cocktails. But there's more to it than elegance.

The Parisian shaker is pretty new to the US. But the elegant urn-shaped cocktail shaker has been there for a long time already.

From the looks, the Parisian shaker is quite similar to a Cobbler shaker. But when examining it a bit closer, you'll realize that the Parisienne version only has two pieces.

The shaker does come in different sizes and also in slightly different styles. -Maybe you heard of the Calabrese shaker before. That, for instance, is a specific type of Parisian shaker developed by the bar legend Salvatore Calabrese.

The Parisian shaker is up and coming, but information about it is still scarce. So, let's find out more about the Parisian cocktail shaker!

What is a Parisian shaker?

The Parisian cocktail shaker is an elegant two-piece metal shaker. It is a cross between a Cobbler and a Boston Shaker.

Shape-wise it resembles a Cobbler, but functionality-wise it's closer to the Boston or tin-in-tin shaker. It lacks a built-in strainer and usually is made of 18/8 stainless steel.

The Parisian shaker comes in various sizes. The capacity typically ranges from 22 oz to 30 oz. That depends on the brand and design. Therefore, always check the product description for more detailed information.

The history of the Parisian shaker

This style of a cocktail shaker has been around for a long time. It is unknown how old this shaker is exactly, but the first proven mention was as early as the 1800s.

It was featured in a product catalog from Rogers, Smith & Co back in 1878. By then, it hadn't been called Parisian but French shaker. 

After that, the name of the shaker evolved and changed constantly.- From French shaker to Parisienne shaker to Parisian shaker. All of them refer to the same tool.

And regardless of its long history, the shaker from France is relatively unknown outside of Europe. The reason for this is that in the US, the Boston shaker is the tool of choice for professional bartenders.

How to use a Parisian shaker

Every style of cocktail shaker is a bit different. There are various ways to open and close them, the designs differ, and some need others don't need additional tools like a strainer.

The Parisian shaker is relatively easy to use. However, you do need a separate cocktail strainer to pour your mixed drinks into a glass. To me, that's no disadvantage, though. I prefer to use a Hawthorne strainer over a built-in version anyway.

The steps on using a Parisian shaker are easy to follow:

  1. Open the shaker and put both parts side by side, the opening facing up.
  2. Measure all cocktail components with your jigger and pour them into the smaller cup.
  3. Add ice to the larger cup and pour the ingredients over the ice.
  4. Now close the shaker and shake for 15 seconds to chill the drink.
  5. When finished, slightly twist the top while pulling upwards to open the shaker.
  6. Strain your cocktail into your cocktail glassware.

That was it. Using a Parisian or French shaker is super easy and doesn't need as much practice as using a Boston or tin-on-tin shaker. However, there are minor flaws to this shaker as well.

The Pros and Cons of a Parisian shaker

With all the good features of this elegant shaker, you might wonder "what is the catch"? Well, there isn't really one for home use. But at a bar, there are a few reasons why one would prefer another type of cocktail shaker.

So, let's look at the Pros and Cons of using a French or Parisian shaker:

Pro:

  • Easy to use.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Elegant design.

Con:

  • The seal isn't as strong as with other shakers.
  • Inconvenient for flair use.

You know about the pros already, so let's talk a little about the two negatives.

First, the seal of the shaker is not as strong as that of other shakers. Thus, when shaking a cocktail, you should be careful that the shaker doesn't open while shaking.

For home use, that's usually not happening. But especially when you want to perform flair bartending techniques like shaking with one hand, you need to be able to rely on the seal.

The second con is the general inconvenience for flair use. Most flair bartending moves are optimized for either a Boston or a tin-on-tin shaker. Using another shaker will make it harder to perform those stunts.

To sum it up: if you're not working in a bar and are looking for a convenient yet elegant cocktail shaker, the Parisian shaker is a perfect choice. If you think about trying flair bartending, you are better off with a classic tin-on-tin shaker.

The Calabrese shaker

Sometimes you might see shakers that look like Parisian shakers, but on second glance, they're not. Probably, it's a Calabrese shaker you're having in front of you.

Calabrese Cocktail shaker

This shaker got named after Salvatore Calabrese, a bar legend who managed prestigious bars and invented amazing cocktails like the Spicy Fifty.

The Calabrese shaker is a sub-type of the French shaker and follows the general design. However, the small upper part looks slightly different.

This difference in design is intended to improve the shaking process by changing how the ice and liquid move inside the shaker.

However, it's hard to judge the difference in the results. So, if you want to know more, compare them side by side and evaluate the results with some friends.

Frankly, the Parisian and the Calabrese shaker are very similar, and I don't think it makes much difference for home use.

Recommended French or Parisian shakers

There are countless shakers on the market. Unfortunately, many of them are of inferior quality. And to save yourself from disappointment, here's my list of recommended Parisian or French shakers.

Viski Parisian Cocktail Shaker Set

Visky Parisian shaker

This Parisian cocktail shaker set is one of the more affordable alternatives. Still, what you get is a quality French-style shaker with a 25oz capacity.

This stainless steel shaker is available in three finishes: gunmetal black, gold, and copper.

Barfly Parisienne shaker

Barfly French cocktail shaker

This French shaker from barfly is another great option. With a capacity of 24 oz, it's large enough to shake up any cocktail.

It's a quality product made of stainless steel with an elegant copper plating. Like all French-style shakers, it's easy to clean. On top, this one also forms a perfectly tight seal when shaking.

Volney shaker

Volney French Shaker

This shaker was inspired by the first-ever documented version of the French shaker. Based on the 1878 design, this silver-plated shaker is only for enthusiasts of premium barware.

It has a capacity of 24 oz and can only be hand-cleaned. But it is a beautiful and high-quality shaker, which thus comes at a steep price point of $180.

Other cocktail shakers

The Parisian shaker isn't the only cocktail shaker type. Other popular options are the Boston shaker, Cobbler shaker, and the tin-in-tin shaker. All of them have their pros and cons and if you want to get a better overview of the options, check out our article on the different cocktail shaker types.

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