Friday, August 19, 2016

A better cocktail shaker, thanks to another product's Kickstarter

The old and the new
We got a heavy metal cocktail shaker as a wedding present, because you know how important cocktails are to a marriage. I've been using it for years and we are still married, so it must be working.

Recently I was offered a chance to try the Shaker 33, which its makers tout as "the best cocktail shaker since Prohibition." It looks exactly like a wine-preservation canister I tried out three years ago called the Savino, and that's because it is essentially a repurposing of the design.

I didn't love the Savino, though people on Amazon seem to like it.* It didn't seem to preserve wine any better than just sticking a cork back in the bottle, or, even better, rescrewing the screwcap.

(* For people who think ratings are dead, this is the first sentence of the first Amazon Savino review: "My husband and I typically buy low-cost but highly rated wine, sometimes spending a lot but more often buying 88+ rated wines (Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator rated) that cost less than $12 at Costco.")

Founder Scott Tavenner got $85,005 to bring the Savino to life. For a small business, that's not too much to ask. He got another $30,844 to repurpose it into the Shaker 33. Again, not a hell of a lot of money in the scheme of things (though backers on the Facebook page are complaining that they don't yet have their shakers.)

This extra $30K was well-spent. I don't think professional bartenders are going to start using the Shaker 33, but it's a good product for home use.

The best feature is that the hard plastic walls do not get cold while you're shaking a cocktail. Freezing hands are a small cross to bear on one's way to a delicious Manhattan if you're drinking alone, but if you're trying to whip up cocktails for a dinner party, warm hands are a plus.

Speaking of dinner parties, the Shaker 33 is also a lot bigger inside than you expect. I have a hard time making more than two cocktails with a traditional shaker (you should always use a lot of ice in the shaker and then discard it), but I could make four at a time with this.

The see-through plastic is a little dorky at first and I thought it compared poorly with the '60s-futurist look of my wedding present shaker. This is still true; the metal ones have a mystique. But it's also pretty cool to see the cocktail frothing inside the Shaker 33. I can even envision making adjustments to the garnish of a cocktail based on its color, which you can't always predict until all the elements are together.

I don't know how durable the Shaker 33 will be. The metal one has lasted me for years and shows no signs of breaking. The Shaker 33 is made from Tritan, which Eastman Chemical claims is a BPA-free, "tough, clear, high-temperature, chemically resistant and also dishwasher-resistant product."

For now, I'm making cocktails with the Shaker 33. Our marriage should still be fine.

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