A Stirring Overview of the Cocktail Shaker

A cocktail shaker is used to mix drinks, usually alcoholic beverages. Since the early 1800s, the cocktail shaker has been used in the sense that we know it today. Legend has it that it began with a local innkeeper somewhere who, when placing two containers together, noticed that the lip of one container was a bit larger than the other. When he had the alcohol in the containers with them together, he noticed that the liquid did not drip, and stayed right where it was. He apparently had told people that he had just been shaking the drink in the containers for a bit of show. With that show, the modern shaker was born.

During the 1920s, when prohibition was in full swing in the United States, cocktail shakers were produced in all kinds of shapes, sizes, forms, and colors to disguise their true identity. Animals, aircrafts, and drink containers were some of the more popular forms that the cocktail shakers took on to be snuck past the authorities. After prohibition, the cocktail shaker became a symbol of the good life, being popularized by the movies. Cocktail shakers became acquainted with movie stars. When World War II hit the United States, however, the reign of the cocktail shaker had come to an abrupt end, when all non essential metal was needed for the war effort.

Of course, many bartenders did not agree with the notion that their beloved shakers were non essential, but be that as it may, the plants and factories that had been used to manufacture the metal cocktail shakers had become the factories that manufactures metal ammunition and bullets for our troops instead. When home bars began to become popular in the 1950s, the cocktail shaker had a brief comeback, but fizzled out again with the coming of electrical appliances that could do the job faster and better, like the electric blender.

Not only is a cocktail shaker used for mixing, but when ice is added to the shaker, it speeds up the cooling time for the drinks. It is possible for some drinks, specifically drinks that are supposed to be clear, to be mixed too much however. Clear drinks should not be put into a cocktail shaker for mixing, because the drink will end up overly mixed, destroying the clear appearance and turning it a cloudy white color instead. Knowing what drinks to shake and which drinks to stir is just one of the hundreds of things that a bartender must work hard to keep straight.

There are three variations of the cocktail shaker: The French Shaker, The Cobbler Shaker, and the Boston Shaker. The French cocktail shaker is the least used type of shaker, with a metal cap and bottom, this cocktail shaker always must be used along with a strainer. The Cobbler Shaker is a three piece cocktail shaker, tapering at the top, upon which sits a strainer, along with a cap to go on top for the shaking. The Boston Shaker consists of two pieces, a metal bottom part and a top cap that is glass or plastic. A separate strainer must also be used when using the Boston Shaker.

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About The Author, Phoenix Delray
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