The most important tool for the home mixologist is the cocktail shaker. If you buy only one accessory for your bar, buy this essential utensil. Cocktail shakers serve to effectively combine the elements of a drink and quickly chill the mixture before it is poured into a glass. There are two types of cocktail shakers the cobbler and the Boston. The cobbler, like the sleek shaker at left ($10.00), is the classic 3 part shaker that consists of a metal tumbler, a snug fitting lid, and a small cap that fits over the lid and covers the strainer that is built into the lid. This is most commonly used when entertaining at home. The Boston shaker, commonly found behind professional bars, has two parts: a larger metal mixing tumbler and a smaller glass tumbler that fits together to form a sealed container. A few more shakers so

The bartender's best friend, this Boston cocktail shaker has a durable glass measuring cup that will not stick and is dishwasher safe. At $45.00 it's a little more expensive than the cobbler but if you're considered an expert mixologist it's worth the splurge.

For the hostess with the mostess, who has an amazingly chic apartment, a sleek cocktail shaker is a must. I love this moderately priced ($35.00) stainless steel shaker with removeable hawthorne strainer and streamlined, flat top.