telephone, and revolutionary steelmaking processes were reshaping cityscapes with tall skyscrapers. At home, domestic life was changing with the emergence of household timesaving devices. At fancy downtown hotel bars and workingman’s saloons, innovations were impacting the bartending trade, as well: The popularity of cocktails demanded a more efficient method of shaking for busy bartenders. In December 1872, William Harnett received a patent for his apparatus for simultaneously mixing six drinks on a turntable. Between the 1870s and 1920s, dozens of patents were issued for cocktail-related tools and equipment, with the majority pertaining to the shaking of drinks. While there are many different cocktail shakers, they all fall into three categories. The Boston shaker, sometimes favored by professionals, consists of a pint glass and tin tumbler. Cobbler-style shakers are three-piece setups that include their own strainer, and they are most common in the home bar. The French shaker consists of two tins, and they are also a favorite of professional mixologists. The 1920s Prohibition era was the golden age of cocktail shakers. All sorts of shapes, sizes, and types were created for bartenders and common folk, alike. It was the birth of the home bar, where cocktail shaking skills and drinking rituals were as much symbols of the Roaring ‘20s as was the flapper or the Model T. When Prohibition ended in the mid-1930s, cocktail shakers continued to evolve, with dozens more patents issued — many with mid-century modern designs. This all leads to the question: Why are some cocktails stirred while others are shaken? Stirring versus shaking is about chemistry. The rule of thumb is stir for spirit-to-spirit, and shake for spirit-to- juice, egg, or dairy. When shaking, the idea is to quickly move the contents inside the shaker from one end to the other. This complex movement allows air to be incorporated, resulting in an ice-cold frothy libation. Much like what you do at your artisan distillery, this marriage of skill, proper tools, and quality ingredients is what craftsmanship in a cocktail is all about. The birth, evolution and purpose of the shaker is an excellent opportunity to talk cocktail history with your customers. Consider providing them with information about what cocktails can be made with your spirits, and pair that with a bottle and a shaker. If the law allows, boxed sets containing your spirits, a shaker, and a collection of cocktail recipes make excellent gifts, and may be just the thing to get your clientele shaking for the holidays. Renee Cebula is a cocktail historian. She is the owner and curator of Raising the Bar: Vintage & Badass Barware. FB: Raising the Bar Northwest, Insta/Twitter: badassbarware, raisingthebarbarware.com. WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM
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