THE JOY OF MIXING GLASSES!

XL Cobbler Shaker
All Metal Boston Shaker

  The emphasis in the modern cocktail world has been on Boston style shakers and mixing glasses.

The 2 part Boston shaker/glass/Hawthorne strainer set is the pro bartender’s all around choice.

But there are other choices that can be more specialized, esthetically pleasing, or just a personal choice.

My choice for making many cocktails at home is the free standing mixing glass.

The emphasis of this article is to show some alternatives for the home bartender and the benefits or reasons for using all of these tools in mixing cocktails.

The two most common sets for mixing drinks are the Boston shaker set and the Cobbler Shaker set.

The origins of the names for these sets are debatable. But the Cobbler shaker is most likely named after the pre-prohibition classic style drink, “Cobbler”, that were made generally with wine, syrups and other spirits and decorated with fruit. Shaken and strained over cracked ice for a refreshing summer tipple. It was a very popular, and very old, drink style that most likely lent it’s name to this shaker style.

It consists of 3 pieces. The base in two pieces that open to allow all ingredients to be added easily. The third piece is a cap that finishes the enclosure. This set is made for shaking drinks.

Positives are aesthetic appearance, clean pour, and all in one unit. Negatives are it doesn’t lend itself to making stirred drinks, can easily stick shut making it a poor choice for busy bartenders, caps can be lost thus rendering the whole unit useless. Best for the home bartender.

Classic Boston Set

The Boston shaker. Two pieces that easily separate along with either a Hawthorn strainer or Julep strainer. The Hawthorne being used to strain from the metal shaker tin, and the julep from the mixing glass.

There is a new breed of bartender using metal on metal shakers these days. While it is generally just a personal choice or statement, there are drawbacks to the double metal set. The metal shaker tins are exactly the same. The difference comes in the mixing glass versus the metal replacement and why you would want to have one or the other. There are benefits to the glass and none for the metal except style points.

The metal tin is not a versatile mixing glass. The tin is thin. It makes an unpleasant tinny noise while shaking. The tin is light, the piston motion for a hard shake is less powerful than the heavier mixing glass. The heavier glass is also well insulated, and the melt of the ice, while shaking, is controlled better. We don’t want our warm hands melting the ice. We want the drink inside to do that.

The mixing glass is just that, a mixing glass. You can build and stir your drinks in the glass and strain them with a julep strainer. You can see your drink being built, which can help in avoiding mistakes.

So while it is mostly a style thing, the metal on metal really does have its drawbacks.

This now brings us to the free standing mixing glass that has been kind of lost in our modern world. Familiar in many old movies with a host making “pitchers” of martinis, the free standing mixing glass really is a beautiful idea.

Either for entertaining or making several cocktails at once that may not fit in the Boston or Cobbler shaker or just for aesthetics as the mixing glass can come in various sizes and be beautifully designed, adorned, shaped, colored and cut. And for simplicity, the pinched lip on many of the old mixing glasses acts as a strainer to keep ice out of your drink. Most of these shown aren’t great for muddling, or for drinks that really need to be shaken, so they have a bit more specialized purpose. The tall pinched lip mixing glases are ideal for Martini’s and Manhattans. Cocktails that are spirit heavy that require stirring.

Tall pinched lip mixing glass with glass stirrer

Old 50’s style free standing mixing glass with measurements for cocktails

Snifter style mixing glasses with pinched lips

Old style mixing glass that can act as a shaker. Similar to a Cobbler
Japanese Yarai Mixing glass from Cocktail Kingdom

Many of them do not require a strainer because the lip is designed to trap the ice and let the drink flow. Some have tops with valves that open after shaking to strain cocktails. And some are just beautiful mixing glasses meant to stand alone, but do require a julep strainer such as the Yarai mixing glass above.

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