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The History of Common Bar Tools – Mixology Talk Podcast (Audio)

And this is julia and this is episode number 46 of the mixology talk podcast now we’ve talked about the history of cocktail ingredients before we talked about some pretty fascinating histories of different liqueurs of different spirits and it seemed like folks enjoyed those episodes i know i did we talked about one of my favorites green chartreuse buoy there’s

A lot of cool things that we talked about in my humble opinion of course i think you’re in good company here i hope so so recently a listener actually asked us to look into the history of some of the equipment that we use behind the bar so that’s kind of what we’re gonna be doing today and i’m gonna go ahead and mit this i did a lot of research for this in the

Past but to be completely honest i forgot a lot more than i remember so yeah we did a little bit of digging but it’s actually pretty hard to find some of the history about these bar tools so we’re gonna do our best but i would absolutely love it if you know more than we say let us know in the comments over at mixology tocom slash 46 yeah so the very first piece of

Equipment that we’re going to talk about is probably one of the most utilized behind the bar these days and that is the cocktail shaker definitely the most well known i think mm-hm and since you asked what you didn’t the concept of shaking liquids to combine them is pretty ancient i mean let’s let’s be honest that’s a pretty rudimentary way to mix things together

But when i looked into it there is evidence that goes as far back as 7,000 bc in pre-hispanic mexico and south america where they would take gourds hollow them out and fill them with tequila and agave nectar lime juice sorry now they would well i think i think they’d be very pleased to learn that rest but instead they would they would take this hollowed-out gourd

And they would make a frothy drink with cacao uh interesting very cool yeah so i’m thinking about maybe starting a new line of organic non-gmo cocktail shakers and let me guess what are you gonna use in them gourds yeah okay make them out i’m gonna happen guys so yeah definitely wait for that i think that’s got to be a kickstarter for sure but yeah it had its roots

In it’s a pretty rudimentary shaker that we see way back in the day 7,000 bc and the cocktail shaker has evolved a lot since then even up to the late 1800s where we start to see what is pretty close to the cocktail shaker that we know today this is the story that i could find the rumor has it in the late 1800s there was an innkeeper who was pouring liquid back and

Forth between two containers in order to mix them together yeah actually there is a technique called throwing a drink i think it’s called throwing a drink i know how to do that right not a wall or a person oh about between two containers and it’s a pretty elaborate show and people can get really good at it i remember seeing a video of somebody and i think it was

The philippines doing this and it incorporates a lot of body movements spinning around and the liquid itself kind of following a different path as you spin it’s pretty cool i just i don’t think the innkeeper was doing that he may have that same youtube video back in the 1800s you know i heard that youtube was really in a while so this innkeeper was making a drink

By mixing things together pouring a liquid back and forth apparently he looked down at his two containers and noticed that one of them was smaller than the other he stuck one inside the other and shook them for quote-unquote a bit of a show food i wonder how much he had to drink that night yeah really well the rest is history and actually i would argue that if

You look back on this story if it is true then he actually shook the drink as a show meaning that shaking any cocktail at all is actually flair wow yeah i see what i did there it’s like it’s like flair before it was flair i know it’s like hipster flair but cocktails a vault where the cocktail shakers evolved a lot since then and they took all kinds of shapes and

Sizes even up till the 40s where they were a sign of a really sophisticated household and a symbol of basically kind of the good life yeah definitely and i think the you sort of have the james bond persona a little bit although i think that came a little bit later the sense of the cocktail shaker was a symbol of sort of high society and things like that yeah there

Was actually a tv show called the thin man which really kind of celebrated cocktails it was about a private eye and a lady that was from a pretty well-to-do family and it was about their adventures together and it always had a cocktail or martini involved in the episode that would return home there would be cocktail hour basically so i think that kind of evolved

Through society and yeah became a thing well in the early mid 40s of course everything changed with the beginning of world war two unfortunately at the time cocktail shakers were all made of metal and when you’re in wartime using metal on things like cocktail shakers it’s not exactly shined upon yeah i think there were better uses for metal back then i’m a lot of

Tillery shells bullets right and actually that’s that’s exactly what happened a lot of the companies that were making cocktail shakers switched over their lines and started making war materials like things like artillery absolutely and then after world war two we start to see the kind of movement away from shakers and much more into modern appliances so here we

Start to see shakers being replaced by electric blenders yeah this was like the decade where you see all those goofy ads where the 50s housewife is pressing buttons on a giant cuisinart machine that’s what i always think of when i think of the 50 oh one of my favorites that was like somebody setting on like what looks like a treadmill and they have a belt around their

Waist and they start giggling oh man podcast anyway the moral of the story is in the 50s electrical appliances definitely started to become available to everyone and the electric blender was no exception so what you started to see at this point was the advent of the blended drink and it made its way into everyone’s house yeah and there was a kind of a dark period in

Cocktails well there was a couple of bright spots in it but we start to see the cocktail movement really starting to gain traction again in the late 90s up to kind of where we’re at and i will definitely say that we’re going through this second golden age never a renaissance kind of kind of a grandiose title but basically a lot of care and a lot of attention a lot

Of artistic abilities being poured into cocktails these days porn i see yeah i think that while there was a little bit of a gap there in history we couldn’t find much history of the cocktail shaker between the 50s and the 90s but i’m looking back on what was happening in the cocktail scene i can’t say i’m terribly surprised right and i’m sure there were a lot of

Shakers back then anyways the next piece of equipment that we’re gonna take a look at is one of my favorites and that is the cocktail strainer so chris i’m gonna ask you a question here that i’m sure you know the answer to there’s two common types of cocktail strainers the julep and the hawthorn which one do you think came first definitely the julep strainer yeah

It’s kind of an easy question yeah just look at them it makes sense the julep strainer and just to describe it’s kind of a big flat spoon with holes in it really yeah i can looks like a giant serving spoon that is a little bit more rounded out and it has perforated holes through it so the manufacturing process would be way way super simple right not only that but

Actually back in the day and by back in the day i mean the 1800s when you start to see the julep strainer come about they really resemble some specialized spoons of the era so they weren’t their own unique thing they were actually fairly common and actually in some cases they resembled a tea caddy as well wow nice yeah and i actually over the years have figured

Out that if you do a lot of sugar or salt rims like in margaritas or lemon drops some of the liquid can collect inside of the wherever you hold that salt or sugar and the julep strainer is a great way kind of like a colander to sift through some of those big chunks something i’ve used in the past some of the bars i’ve worked with this is gonna sound terrible but

It’s just like cleaning kitty litter it’s exactly you’re just you’re just sifting out the clumps exactly there’s no difference at all so that’s another way that you could use your julep stir i don’t recommend it so nobody’s really sure i’m gonna just get right back into it oh my god i wouldn’t go down that road so nobody’s really sure how a julep strainer was to

Be used with a mint julep there are a couple theories though one of them is to keep the mint and the ice away from people’s teeth yeah so they were actually served to the guests and the guests would hold the strainer and hold back the crushed ice from falling in their face which i don’t know about you but i just i just can’t stand it when i get mint and ice in my

Moustache ya know it’s terrible it’s just rough it’s so terrible i also heard another theory that there was a medical term called quote unquote julep which refers to quote a mixture containing no solids quote that would certainly explain it although it seems a little bit far-fetched yeah well maybe they had a julep and then they adapted it to medical usage but yeah

We can definitely see the evolution pattern happening from a julep into a hawthorne strainer which is the more modern version of a strainer yeah in 1889 we see the first evidence of a patent that appears it appears to refer to a julep strainer that’s had a spring added and holes in the middle so this in my mind like it becomes a hawthorne strainer when a spring is

Added that’s like the thing yeah definitely and that is pretty much for we know as a cocktail strainer up to now i mean it’s name that’s kind of the the big purpose of it and that’s what most people identify with a cocktail strainer yeah yeah when you think about the word cocktail strainer you’re not you’re probably not thinking of a julep let’s be honest yeah if

You were just to choose one of these strainers definitely want to choose the hawthorne strainer it’s a much more utilitarian kind of piece of equipment behind the bar the julep strainer is always a nice touch but you can accomplish a lot of the same things with a hawthorne strainer and i don’t think most people need more than one strainer so it makes a lot of sense

Mm differ most people not cocktail nerds like us right so i did some digging but i just could not figure out the origin of the name hawthorne i know most people out in the real world call it just a cocktail strainer but we in the nerd circle know that it’s actually called a hawthorne and i could not figure out why i it wasn’t the name of the company that made them

It didn’t seem like it was the name of a hotel or bar where it was used and i couldn’t find any evidence of a bartender named hawthorne who used it either so if anybody out there knows the origin of this term i would i’m actually just really stinking curious so you know actually i would like to ask everyone please if you know the answer please contribute and you

Know now i’m in sin – mixology tocom slash 46 or if you want to make up a really great story which is usually what i do you just make something a tribute to that because that would be equally as amazing you know as long as you own it that’s really all we do on this podcast so just own it you probably fine right exactly i’ll go ahead and update the wikipedia entry

And then nobody’s gonna know it will become history you could be a part of history so i hope you enjoyed this topic we had a little bit of fun with it but i found it really interesting i learned a lot while doing the research for this topic and hopefully we did a good job of explaining yeah no i remember you saying that we’re gonna be doing a couple of posts on

Other piece of equipment and the history of that in the near future as well right yeah so coming soon it probably won’t be posted by the time this podcast is up but coming soon we’re gonna be doing a series of blog posts about this very topic and we’re gonna talk about shakers and strangers as well but hopefully go into a bit more detail and this is part of the

Reason why i’m hoping someone can tell me where the word hawthorne came from or make up a good song or make up a good story exactly um but we’re also gonna do some posts about other types of cocktail equipment so definitely stay tuned and if you’re listening far in the future go ahead and head over to mixology talk on slash 46 and we’ll include a link yeah and

Thank you very much everybody and one last thing i know i’m gonna sound like a broken record here but if you could leave us a review on itunes it would definitely do a lot of good for us yeah so leave five star yeah there’s pretty much a five star review on itunes yeah it helps other people find this podcast and it helps us get into more ear buds we would definitely

Appreciate it so until next time cheers everyone cheers never miss an episode by subscribing in itunes or youtube and as always check out the show notes by clicking on the right

Transcribed from video
The History of Common Bar Tools – Mixology Talk Podcast (Audio) By A Bar Above