Why A Cocktail Shaker Is The Perfect Tool To Make Salad Dressing

Does this scene sound familiar to you? You collect all the ingredients you need to make homemade salad dressing — oil, vinegar, herbs, and spices — and grab an empty jar (per The Guardian.) You put the ingredients inside, screw on the lid, and give it a shake only to discover the jar wasn't sealed tightly, and instead of having a tasty topping for your salad, you have a big mess to clean up right before serving dinner. You make a vow only to buy store-bought dressings from that moment forward.

It doesn't have to be this way. While reducing, reusing, and recycling are noble pursuits, you may want to forgo that used jar when making your own salad dressing. While it may have been the perfect container for its original contents, a used jar is not always a good choice for making salad dressing. Let's see why you might want to consider replacing that used jar with a tool perfect for the job.

Avoid that mess

A better choice for mixing salad dressings could be right next to your favorite bottle of gin or vermouth — a cocktail shaker. While a cocktail shaker may not be the first thing you think of when making a dressing, it's an excellent tool for the job for many reasons.

The design of a cocktail shaker makes it easy to pour liquids into its wide-mouth opening — no funnel needed. That design makes the shaker easy to clean, too, so you don't have to worry about your Long Island Iced Teas tasting like garlic.

You might be surprised to learn there's a nerdy, science-y reason why using a cocktail shaker for dressing is a great idea: emulsion. According to Science Friday, emulsion keeps dressing from separating when using oil and an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar together. Vigorously mixing that vinaigrette in a shaker allows the mixture to emulsify properly.

The most compelling reason may be that cocktail shakers are designed to be, well, shaken. They have a leak-proof seal and a screw-top to keep the content from making the mess in the scenario above.

The multi-purpose shaker

If your cocktail shaker comes with a strainer, remove it before making dressings that contain dried herbs. You want those herbs to flavor the salad and not be left behind in the shaker. On the other hand, according to a tip from Lifehacker, if you're using fresh ingredients and want to ensure you don't have any citrus seeds or herb stems getting into your salad, leave that strainer right where it is.

Suppose you're trying to justify the cost of buying a cocktail shaker. In that case, this article Sunset suggests other uses beyond salad dressing, such as making simple syrup for your favorite cocktail or mocktail or mixing up a frosty latte using one.

Follow this advice the next time you want to make homemade salad dressing. Grab that cocktail shaker, fill it with your favorite ingredients and shake it up. You might even consider buying a second one to use as a dedicated salad dressing shaker just in case you want a dry martini with your salad. Shaken or stirred?