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Pottery Barn's Recipe Cocktail Shaker: $39 gift or party pleaser with a twist

December 23, 2010 |  9:29 am

Recipe Cocktail Shaker 1

The cocktail recipe shaker -- the 1950s glass vessel imprinted with directions on how to make drinks, plus cartoons and the occasional pink elephant -- is a staple of vintage barware, seemingly as common as a hangover on New Year's Day. The design above, the standout in Pottery Barn's Antique Bar product line, looks like a twist on the idea but actually has an older, more sophisticated Machine Age pedigree.

Img44lThe Pottery Barn Recipe Cocktail Shaker is based on a simple operating principle: To fix the perfect old fashioned or 14 other cocktails, a budding bartender need only turn the lid to dial in the drink of choice. The ingredients appear in windows on the side of the 33.5-ounce stainless steel shaker.

According to Mark Bigler, collector, dealer and the steward of the Cocktail Shakers website, the Pottery Barn product is based on a 1930s design by Napier, a silversmith company also known for its modern costume jewelry.

Bigler, who said his 700-shaker collection is one of the world's largest, declared the design an enduring classic.

"I do have some of the Napier originals and they sell for around $250 to $300 depending on condition," he said.

Though Bigler doesn't believe that this newly mass-produced version will become a future collectible, the 10.5-inch tall Pottery Barn Recipe Cocktail Shaker is nicely priced for a personal bar tool or a holiday hostess gift. It's $39 in stores and at last check offered with free shipping for online purchasers

-- David A. Keeps

Photo credits: Pottery Barn