Looking for the best barware set for yourself or a friend? We've spent hours researching the top barware sets on the market and put 8 to the test. We've considered the pros and cons of Boston, Cobbler, and Parisian shakers, put strainers, jiggers and muddlers to the test, and have purposefully mishandled pieces testing their durability, quality, ease of use, and value. After making lots of cocktails and sharing them with friends, we're ready to help you find your perfect barware set.If you're looking to stock your home bar, our experts are here to help. For hops lovers, we cover the best home brew kits and the best beer glasses for all your favorite brews. If whiskey is your liquor of choice, take a look at some of the top-rated whiskey glasses. Prefer vino? We got you covered, too with the best wine openers, stoppers, and aerators to fit your style and budget.
The 4 Best Barware of 2023
Our Top Picks
The Mixology and Craft 14-Piece Kit is our favorite Cobbler shaker barware set. This stainless steel kit is simple to use, and it has all of the items that an aspiring at-home bartender needs to make an extensive range of drinks, including a Hawthorne strainer. Pouring spouts with a snug fit make precise measurements into the Classic Double jiggers a breeze. Still, pay extra attention when measuring because the traditional measurements that most drinks are made with (¾ and 1½ ounces) are not the measurements marked on these jiggers — one is marked ½ and 1 ounce, and the other ⅔ and 1⅓ ounce.
The shaker was not difficult to use with only one hand, despite our lead tester's hands being on the small side. The lid and the tin have a secure fit and the cap is easy to remove even when the stainless steel contracts from cold ice. You have the option to mix the drinks in your glass or in the tin with the included European-style bar spoon. If you really want to give your cocktails a professional flair, this set includes two cocktail picks that keep the garnish stylish. They are pretty sharp, so be sure not to poke a finger with the end when using them. We think both beginners and more experienced mixologists alike will appreciate this set.
The Cresimo Cocktail Shaker Set offers simplicity and quality at a reasonable price. This basic three-piece 18/8 stainless steel set with Cobbler shaker, classic double jigger, and European spoon includes everything you need to make basic cocktails without getting too complicated. The 18/8 stainless shaker weighs 8.5 ounces and has .62mm thick walls, which are the thickest of all the Cobbler shakers we tested, giving it extra rigidity. We measured the tin as holding 25 ounces of liquid, which we enjoyed because we could make three drinks at a time instead of two.
Unlike some Cobbler shakers that seize shut after shaking due to contraction of the steel, the cap of the Cresimo shaker was easy to remove with a slight tug. The set includes a basic double jigger with ½ and 1-ounce measurements, meaning we had to flip the jigger back and forth a bit more when making drinks that called for 1½-ounce measurements. By no means is this a dealbreaker, just more of a mild annoyance. This set can be customized with additional pieces based on the user's preferences. Given the quality and price, we had trouble finding much fault with it, making it a great choice for buyers on a budget.
The black ALOONO 11-Piece Cocktail Shaker Set is our favorite Boston shaker set because of its weighted tins. With a weight of 16.48 ounces, they feel rigid and nice in your hand. The set includes a well-made Hawthorne strainer, which has the best tin interface of all strainers in our review. Its tightly wound spring coils fit snugly against the tin, and its head fits perfectly over the tin, helping prevent spills and leaks. The stainless muddler has a rounded top on the handle, which is comfortable in hand and easy to use. We also appreciated the snug fit of the pouring spouts on the bottles. They require a little tugging to remove, giving us peace of mind that they won't accidentally come loose while pouring. The set includes a Japanese-style double jigger whose design is comfortable to hold and pour with. Interior measurement lines of ½, ¾, and 1½ are welcome when pouring (and accurate).
The biggest downside to the ALOONO set is that it is hand wash only. One cycle through the dishwasher caused the black coating to discolor. However, this is a known issue with black and rose gold coated tins that buyers need to consider before making a purchase. Despite this caveat, compared to the other Boston shaker sets in our tests, the construction is higher quality, and the fit of the pieces is much better.
The Mixology and Craft 10-Piece Bar Tool Set is our top pick for sets with stands. This set includes stainless steel tools and a stainless Parisian shaker. In addition, the Sapele mahogany stand is high quality and organizes the tools in a thoughtful, uncrowded way. The tools are easy to find and reach, thanks to each one having its own hole or slot. The European bar spoon is the only tool with a slot, and it rests in front of the Hawthorne strainer. Some reviewers thought this slot was annoying, but ultimately we think it is easy to use, so long as you remember that the spoon needs to be inserted before the strainer.
This kit comes with a Parisian shaker, which is sleek, easy to use, and stores nicely in its hole. The European-style spoon is heavy-duty and is great for making stirred drinks. We also appreciate that its handle is long enough to comfortably stir with your hand above the tin. Also included is a Waiter's Friend corkscrew, which is a corkscrew, bottle opener, and foil cutter in one. This tool is great for opening beer bottles and wine bottles alike and is a nice addition to a home bar. If you're looking for a quality set with a good-looking stand, look no further.
Featuring 304 stainless steel pieces, a weighted Boston shaker, three types of strainers, and other useful accessories, the VinoBravo 12-Piece Bartender Kit is a quality set that rivals higher-priced options in many regards. We enjoy the quality of the shakers with their thick .84mm walls and weighted bases. They are comfortable to use and easily come apart with just a few taps of the hand. Measuring is easy with the internal lines on the Japanese-style jigger; however, we are concerned that the pouring spouts come loose since we found them to fit a bit loosely in our bottles.
Our biggest complaints about this set are the fit of the Hawthorne strainer in the tin and the weight of the muddler. The springs of the strainer are not as snug against the sides of the tin as other strainers, causing the liquid to occasionally seep out of the side when pouring. Though the muddler works, it is relatively lightweight with a narrow head, and we found heavier and wider muddlers that perform better. Still, given the overall quality and performance of the pieces in this set, we feel it is a good set for the price.
The Barillio Black Shaker Set is compact and travels well. Featuring a black storage bag, it includes the basics to make a drink just about anywhere. It has a cobbler shaker, classic double jigger, pouring spouts, a muddler, and a European bar spoon. We like the shaker's weight (8.7 ounces) and are pleased with how easily the cap comes off after shaking. However, we did notice that the ½-ounce measurement on the jigger is slightly under the lip instead of at the top.
One of the downsides to this set is that the stainless steel has a black coating that should only be hand washed to prevent peeling and discoloring. All of the set's pieces except for the spoon fit into the tin, and the spoon fits easily into the bag, making it a great choice for picnics and other outings.
We were completely underwhelmed by the Modern Mixology Kit With Stand, especially when tested side by side with similarly priced kits. The set includes a lightweight, unfinished wood stand which is much lower quality compared to other stands. The 18-ounce shaker is very lightweight, weighing only 7.5 ounces, and flexes easily in hand. The 18-ounce size is also considerably smaller than other Cobbler shakers tested, which average 25 ounces.
The American bar spoon easily bends in your hand and is fairly short, making it more difficult to mix in the tin. The overall lack of quality in this set, combined with the cost, makes this one a hard pass, and we recommend looking at some of the other higher-quality Cobbler shaker sets.
The FineDine Premium Cocktail Shaker Set was the only set we tested whose tools have rough and sharp edges and whose stainless steel surface is easily scratched. Both the tin and Hawthorne strainer came out of the box with markings on them. We were not fans of the screw top on the Japanese spoon and felt it could easily get lost. The Hawthorne strainer's spring is loosely coiled and fits poorly to the tin.
One feature we appreciated about the set was that the shakers easily came apart with a tap of the palm after shaking. However, in comparison, many of the other sets we tested are much higher quality for just a few dollars more. We recommend passing on this set.
Why You Should Trust Us
To begin our research to determine the best barware sets, we spent hours researching and cross-referencing reviews of 29 barware sets. After taking copious notes on the pros and cons of each set, we narrowed our selection to 8 sets and began testing. We spent hours analyzing each set's features, durability and quality, ease of use, and value to help you find the best barware set for your home.
A cocktail aficionado, Tara Reddinger-Adams has most likely spent far too many hours reading about the history of Amaro, barware, and learning the ins and outs of making a great drink. No stranger to product reviews, you'll find Tara's reviews of mountain bike shoes on our sister site OutdoorGearLab. Tara enjoys extensively reading about and researching products before making a purchase and brings a critical eye yet practical perspective to her reviews.
Analysis and Test Results
To determine the best barware sets for the home mixologist, we first considered the type of shaker. Reading through reviews, we quickly learned that there is a lot of confusion regarding shakers — especially between the Cobbler and the Parisian shaker — so we've added a quick overview of each to help you better understand the three types of shakers in our review: the Boston, the Cobbler, and the Parisian.
The Cobbler shaker is a three-piece cocktail shaker with a strainer built into the lid. This is typically considered an easier shaker to use due to its size and is more frequently used by beginners since it alleviates the need for a separate strainer. However, the Cobbler's downfall is that it is not suitable for drinks with eggs or those with muddled herbs, fruits, or vegetables, as the strainer holes are relatively large, allowing ingredients to easily pass through.
At a glance, the Parisian shaker looks like a Cobbler shaker, but it lacks a built-in strainer. The Parisian shaker is a two-piece shaker and requires the use of a strainer. The walls of the Parisian shaker fit tightly together, allowing for some visual flair while making drinks. However, this tight fit can also be harder to open.
The Boston shaker is a two-piece shaker that traditionally has a 28oz tin and a 16oz glass. For our review, we tested tin on tin shakers, which are gaining popularity and are commonly referred to as Boston shakers. The Boston shaker requires the use of a strainer and is considered more difficult to use as you must hold the two pieces together as you shake, and the tin on tin design forms a tight seal that can be harder to open.
So, what about jiggers? A standard double jigger is 1.5 ounces on one side and .75 ounces on the other side. Jiggers come in varying shapes and sizes, and in our testing, we measured each jigger for accuracy of its advertised size and found some measured more than their stated amounts. Our testers also weighed the shakers and muddlers, dropped pieces on purpose, tested shakers and pouring spouts for leaks, and considered, "who would benefit best from this set?" With 8 sets to test, we could easily compare differences in quality, construction, and ease of use between sets, giving us some strong opinions and scientific findings of each set.
All of the barware sets in our test will make a basic drink, such as a Martini (shaken, not stirred), but not all feature the tools required to make a Mint Julep or a Kentucky Maid. For this metric, we considered the tools included in the set that allowed us to make the greatest variety of drinks. The VinoBravo 12-Piece Bartender Kit and the ALOONO 11-Piece Cocktail Shaker Set were the most complete sets we tested and included tools to make everything from a Gin Fizz to a Pisco Sour.
The ALOONO and VinoBravo each feature a Boston shaker and a Hawthorne strainer, a Julep strainer, and a fine mesh strainer, which is always used in combination with a Hawthorne or Julep strainer to help remove small ice chips and pulp from the pouring into the drink. Each set also includes a Japanese-style double jigger with interior measurement lines, a muddler for crushing up sugar cubes, fruit, or herbs, a Japanese bar spoon, two pouring spouts, and ice tongs.
The Mixology and Craft 14-Piece Kit will allow you to make a variety of cocktails (except for those needing a Julep or fine mesh strainer), and its stainless steel cocktail picks will give your drink garnishes a professional touch.
Durability and Quality
Differences in the quality of the shaker, pourer, and other tools can make creating the perfect cocktail a more enjoyable experience. For this metric, we looked at the overall construction and durability of all pieces in each set. We dropped them, weighed and measured pieces, washed them with ScotchBrite pads, and even when it said not to, we put them through the dishwasher. We closely examined the springs on Hawthorne strainers and evaluated its fit with the tin. A poor-fitting Hawthorne strainer can cause liquid to pour out the sides and onto the counter. We also tested the pouring spouts on various bottles to see how tightly they fit the bottle and if they leak.
Two things can affect the weight of a cocktail shaker; if the base is weighted and the thickness of the shaker wall. These two elements also affect the rigidity of the shaker and can make it easier to grip. We found shakers with walls under .60mm to have some flex to them; however, not all styles tested were available with a thicker wall, such as the Parisian shakers. As hard as we tried, none of the products we tested failed, which is impressive.
The Cresimo Cocktail Shaker Set with a 24-ounce tin made of .62mm thick 18/8 stainless steel performed very well in this metric. This shaker was the heaviest of the Cobbler shakers tested, weighing 8.5 ounces. It has a nice rigidity to it and only flexes subtly in hand. The set includes a sturdy European spoon and classic double jigger, which are on the lighter side. Unlike some shakers that can bind after shaking, the lid easily comes off, and the stainless steel is scratch-resistant.
The ALOONO 11-Piece Cocktail Shaker Set performs very well in this metric with one exception: its black coated 304 stainless steel set is not dishwasher safe and will discolor. This aside, the set features a 16.48oz, 304 stainless steel weighted Boston shaker with a .86mm thick wall. This weighted base and wall thickness add rigidity to the shaker and, when closed, forms a snug seal. Of all the products we tested, the Hawthorne strainer included has the best fit with the tin and is our tester's favorite strainer of the bunch.
The FineDine Premium Cocktail Shaker Set and Modern Mixology Kit With Stand were both lackluster in their quality. The FineDine set has sharp edges on the spoon, and the stainless steel is easy to scratch. The spring coils on the Hawthorne strainer are loosely spaced, resulting in a poor fit with the tin. The Modern Mixology Kit has a very short, flexible spoon and the lightest weight and smallest Cobbler shaker tested, measuring just 18-ounces. In comparison to similarly priced kits, neither was of the same quality.
Ease of Use
In this metric, we considered how easy the shaker is to get apart after shaking, how well the strainers fit into the tins, if the jigger measurements are accurate, how easy it is to hold the jigger, the weight and shape of the muddler, and lastly how easy the pieces are to care for.
People have their preferences when it comes to shakers, and the pros and cons of each are outlined in our tips. We found the Parisian to be the easiest to use of the three types of shakers we tested, allowing us to make the widest variety of drinks.
The Mixology and Craft 14-Piece Kit has a stainless steel Cobbler shaker that forms a solid seal when ice is added, and only a slight tug is needed to release the cap. For those drinks that have muddled ingredients, it comes with a Hawthorne strainer. Without being too heavy, the 4.0-ounce muddler easily breaks up mixed items. All of its pieces are also dishwasher safe. The jigger measurements include ⅔ and 1 ⅓ ounce, in addition to the more standard ½ and 1-ounce measurements, so a bit of extra attention is required when selecting what side of the jigger you will use so have accurate pours.
The simplest set to use was the Cresimo Cocktail Shaker Set, with three basic pieces consisting of a stainless steel Cobbler shaker, a classic double jigger, and a European spoon with a muddler. All the components to make basic shaken and stirred drinks are included in this kit, and all are dishwasher safe. With only three pieces in this set, the jigger can be stored inside the shaker, making it is easy to take along with you.
The Barillio Black Shaker Set and the ALOONO 11-Piece Cocktail Shaker Set are both hand wash only as the black coating over the stainless steel can discolor, peel, and chip in the dishwasher.
When considering a set's value, we compared it to other sets that fell within a similar price range while taking into account the overall construction of the set, pieces that add value, and ease of use.
The VinoBravo 12-Piece Bartender Kit is one of the most complete sets we tested and is a great value when considering the tools and the quality of the 15.2-ounce weighted shaker. We found the muddler to be middle of the road and the pourers to not fit quite as tightly as others tested, but the other tools performed well. For someone looking for a more "complete" kit to make juleps and drinks with egg whites in the recipe, the VinoBravo is a solid choice, especially considering the price.
For those looking for a more simplistic set at a lower price point, the Barillio Black Shaker Set is worthy of consideration. Its easy-to-use stainless steel Cobbler shaker comes with two pouring spouts, a classic double jigger, and a European stainless spoon. Everything you need to make basic shaken or stirred drinks is included. Due to the black coating, take note that the set is hand wash only. A bonus to this set is the storage bag that allows it to be easily transported.
There are plenty of barware sets on the market with varying accessories and price points. For those seeking simplicity, we recommend a Cobbler shaker with a built-in strainer. If you're looking to make drinks that have muddled herbs, fruits, vegetables, or egg whites in them, we recommend looking at Parisian or Boston shakers with a Hawthorne strainer. Regardless of what you choose, we encourage you to experiment with your set. We hope our review taught you a little about the types of shakers and accessories available to help you make the perfect cocktail. Cheers!
— Tara Reddinger-Adams
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