As the clock counts down to the official start of Tales of the Cocktail, a few quiet goings-on will already have been taking place around town.
On Monday night, July 14, the Museum of the American Cocktail threw a party for a major donation: the Tanqueray No. Ten Imperial Shaker. The party was well-deserved as this art work cum functional cocktail tool is a glimpse back in time. The shaker will be on permanent display at the museum as part of its collection.
Philip Dobard, who is Director of the Museum of the American Cocktail, is understandably pleased about the shaker taking up residence at MOTAC.
As he notes, “We knew this was going to be a remarkable piece. But until we saw it in action, we just didn’t know how remarkable. When we finally watched someone hand crank it to mix drinks, it blew us away.”
Indeed. During the event, bartender Eric Ribiero used the shaker to elliptically shake dozens of Ramos Gin Fizzes, which were delivered with just the necessary froth – not to mention the additional aplomb of being served from what is essentially a piece of history.
Why all this fuss about a cocktail shaker? Here are the basic facts:
- It stands 6 feet tall.
- It’s made of cast iron, brass, copper, and silver.
- It shakes cocktails elliptically with a crank rather than in the standard up-and-down motion.
- It is based on a 19th century design of a working shaker.
The man behind the creation is renowned spirits guru Jason Crawley, who was introduced to the shaker via a drawing in a 19th century cocktail book. As he recalls, “As soon as I saw it, I knew immediately that this thing needed to exist again and I spent five years meticulously bringing it back to life. A major influence in the build was my grandfather William Crawley, who helped create the crank shaft for the V12 Merlin Engine, which powered the Spitfire in WW2.There are lots of references to it in the design, with a German Helmet spike on top and the four Spitfire armor piercing artillery shell shaped shaker tins.”
To see the shaker in action, watch the Youtube video below:
And make sure to visit the Museum of the American Cocktail when you are in New Orleans.