Make a Better Salad Dressing with a Cocktail Shaker

published Sep 23, 2016
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(Image credit: Chirasak Tolertmongkol)

You probably already know the basic technique for making a vinaigrette, but we have a little twist on the basic method, and it gives a uni-tasking bar tool new life.

Not only can your cocktail shaker make your favorite libation, but it’s also the key to a more successful vinaigrette.

(Image credit: Jenny Huang)

Why a Cocktail Shaker Works So Well for Salad Dressings

We love the cocktail shaker for the same reason we love making vinaigrette in a Mason jar — easy and quick. But a cocktail shaker offers a few big advantages over the jar.

The chief reason that a cocktail shaker makes a great vinaigrette:

  • Fast, perfect emulsion: A great salad vinaigrette is made by emulsifying oil and vinegar (or citrus, or another acidic liquid). It requires brisk, vigorous agitation to make these two things come together into a smooth and silky vinaigrette. Throwing it all together in a shaker and shaking is fast and effective.

Here are a few more reasons that a shaker works so well here.

  • No splashing, no leaking: The tight-fitting lid and cap guarantee all the ingredients stay inside the shaker without leaking out. No splashing up out of the bowl.
  • No-drip distribution: Where the cocktail shaker really excels is pouring vinaigrette. While Mason jars are great for shaking up a batch of vinaigrette, they’re not the best when it comes to serving, often leaving a streak of dressing running down the side of the jar. Because of the small opening on the lid, you have more control over pouring your vinaigrette.
  • Steady pouring: If you have a heavy hand when it comes to pouring, think of the lid’s built-in strainer as your insurance policy for not overdressing your salad.
  • Big-batch storage: While you can certainly use this bar tool to make a single serving of vinaigrette, why not take advantage of its size to make more for another day? The shaker’s large base means making a big batch of vinaigrette to last the week is possible, and the tight fitting lid makes it great for storage.

The Best Type of Shaker for the Job

There are three basic types of cocktail shakers, but all aren’t created equal when it comes to shaking up a vinaigrette. For this job the cobbler, or three-piece shaker, is the best choice. This shaker has a large metal shaking tin, a tight-fitting lid with a round, narrow top and a built-in strainer, and a small cap that covers the lid.

A Few Vinaigrettes to Try in Your Shaker