How to shake a cocktail

The cocktail shaker is the most essential tool for mixing great cocktails. Without a shaker combining and chilling there would be no delicious cocktail. Learning how to shake a cocktail is easy and all it requires is a good shaker and something to mix. A good way to start is by inviting your friends over for a cocktail party and practice. We are sure you won't have trouble finding friends willing to volunteer.


  1. Get you cocktail shaker and open it.
    closeup of boston cocktail shaker
    This is done differently depending of which type of shaker you have. There are many types, designs and qualities.
    The three most common shaker types are:The Boston Shaker, which has a thick, often tempered, mixing glass and a slightly larger metal tumbler.The Cobbler Shaker, which has a large metal mixing tin, a metal lid with a built-in strainer, and a smaller metal cap to cover the strainer's opening.
    The French Shaker, is basically a cobbler shaker without the built-in strainer.
  2. Fill the shaker with ice until it's about half full.
    closeup of boston cocktail shaker with and without ice cubes
    The amount can vary depending on the shaker design. What you should look for is to leave enough space, so that the ice can be shaken vigorously with the ingredients.
    If you are using a Boston shaker, the glass cup can be completely filled with ice, as it is capped with a larger metal cup with much more space.
  3. Pour the ingredients, either from a measurement cup or freely.
    girl free pouring juice in cocktail glass
  4. Close the shaker.
    girl turning and combining boston cocktail shaker
    if you are usign a Boston Shaker, take the glass cup and put it on top, following one of the sides of the metal cup to give it a banana shape. Give it a gentle tap against the base to seal the two containers.
    girl tapping glass part of boston cocktail shaker and lifting it to test if it is properly sealed
    An easy way to test if you have done it probably is to lift the entire shaker up from your table, just by lifting the tin.
  5. Shake it vigorously for a minimum of 5 seconds.
    girl shaking boston cocktail shaker
    Hold the shaker in a manner that feels secure and comfortable. Use both hands, one at the top and one at the bottom and shake until the ingredients are well mixed and some of the ice is broken down. A good indication of how long to shake it is to look at the shaker, as a thin lay of ice will form on its outside when it's ready. Make sure that you always point the shaker away from your guests when you shake it. If you are using a Boston Shaker, have the smaller glass cup pointing towards yourself. In case a little bit of juice/spirit falls out, it will hit you and not them.
  6. Open the shaker, by removing the top cap.
    girl opening cocktail shaker with simple tip and a tap with handpalm
    If you are using a Boston Shaker, locate the point where the glass and the metal cup start to separate. You should be able to get a finger in between the two. This is your aiming point. Hold the metal cup firmly with your non-dominant hand, glass part pointing up, and give it a gentle tap with the heel of your hand.
    Separate the glass and voila! Your drink is shaken and ready to be poured.

Extra tips

Use small ice cubes. They break faster and easier.
It's not necessary to shake with a rhythm, but remember that you will not only look cool shaking a cocktail, you will sound cool as well.
When adding the ingredients, start without ice in your mixing glass. This gives you a good visual as to how much liquid you are pouring.
Do not overfill the shaker as the ingredients need plenty of room to move around.