I was born near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You know, the place that made beer famous. I came from a family of mostly beer-drinkers and my folks played cards at least one day a week. In fact, two of my cousins were policemen and would come from their third shift duties to play cribbage with my mom and dad. Many a Saturday morning I’d come down stairs to the sounds of “15-two, 15-four”, and it has become a tradition with hubby and myself as well.
My parents also belonged to a card club. Sheepshead was the game of choice and once a month a group of friends would ascend on our quiet home. That can be a very loud game and my sister and I would sit at the top of the stairs and giggle at the friendly quarreling. I remember that during these times, my dad would take out the cocktail shaker and his rather humorous bar glasses, and mom would polish up the chrome on our Oster blender. Several of their friends liked the “fancier drinks” and they would be prepared. You did not have to be a professional bartender because most of the recipes were written right on the glass shakers. For example, the Side Car called for “1/3 lemon Juice, 1/3 Cointreau, 1/3 Brandy, shake well with ice, strain and serve.” Simple enough for a child to follow, but I was never allowed to handle the alcohol. These shakers came in all sizes and materials, our two were glass. One had a sporting theme with a golfer, and sailboat, other sports icons near the top. The other one had recipes for every concoction imaginable. They had chrome tops and a screw-off spout. Inside the spout was a small strainer. It was intended to keep the ice in and be sure that none of the liquid escaped during the shaking process.
I understand that all sorts of martinis and Cosmos are super-popular today and, of course, you would use a shaker for their preparation. In addition to their usefulness, these retro shakers would be delightful to display on your back bar. Not overly expensive, you can probably pick them up at antique malls, flea markets and thrift stores. A blast from the past, still with good purpose today.