Cocktail Kits – Impractical Barware

Found this at Target. It supposedly contains everything you need to make a martini….except gin, vermouth, vodka, and a glass. Also martinis are a stirred drink so a shaker tin isn’t going to be useful here. Stemmed glasses don’t generally need coasters because they aren’t served with ice. Rimming sugar with olives?  Who the hell put this together? Rube Goldberg?

Floating Cup – Impractical Barware

Another entry in the annals of impractical barware. For a measly $229 you too can buy one single cup that floats when plugged into power and suspended above a single specific coaster. Great trick, and the video of someone walking while holding one of the wireless versions is sure neat. Would be more neat if the wireless wasn’t the size of a brick.

Within reason these are neat but there is just too much going on here for this to be anything other than a newton’s cradle for drinkers with more money than good sense.

Stuff You Can’t Have – Bulleit Edition

Photo sourced from Bulleit Whiskey Facebook pageThe following is a repost from the Shaker and Spreadsheet Facebook page.  Not exactly impractical barware but if you look at this photo I can tell you what the first 15 comments are going to be after the picture. “Where can I get that flask and mug”. The wrong answer is the one they were giving all day long. “You can’t.” Those are props made for internal use only. The flask is one you can buy and customize from another site. You could probably even get it with the Bulleit logo if you have a high Rez vector copy of their logo handy (you won’t, don’t even bother searching). This was just Bad Marketing ™, show people something they want but can’t have then badly explain why they can’t have it.  Does it make people who don’t want Bulleit want to drink more?  Probably not, does it anger and frustrate a class of fan who would otherwise buy anything branded that you could put in front of them, YES.

Impractical Barware: The NES Flask

flask-drunk_huntAt first blush this appears to be a simple cartridge game from the original Nintendo Entertainment System.  Fond memories and nostalgia for the days when you had to blow on your games to make them work properly will fill anyone old enough to drink at this point.

I know my own childhood was occupied by an NES light gun pushed point blank to the CRT of my TV trying to nail rapidly moving pixelated ducks.

So when the kickstarter for Inkwhiskey.com and their NES inspired flask came out I was intrigued.

Their current line runs to at least 10 styles including tetraquila, Kegaman, Metal Beer and my own favorite CastleVodka.

The flask itself is a neat piece of design, the tab of the cartridge is rubberized and fits snugly into the flask generally preventing leakage.  It also fits flush to the point where many many people have walked right by them thinking they were old games rather than barware.

It isn’t listed on the website but testing has shown the flask able to hold slightly more than 4 ounces.

As funny an idea as this is, the design still suffers from a number of flaws.  Like many flasks you will need a funnel to fill it properly.  The package includes a plasticized card which they claim can be rolled into a funnel.  Experience shows this to be folly.  The card is not a good funnel and often requires two hands to operate properly meaning you would need someone else to pour.

The opening of the flask is recessed into the tab slot, meaning you will need either a straw (recommended) or will need to put your mouth entirely over the cutout to prevent spillage.  Pouring from the flask itself is also difficult as the opening isn’t really a pour spout and is hard to aim.

Finally the flask is entirely plastic.  There is a reason most liquor bottles aren’t made of plastic and it has to do with the solvent properties of ethanol and the tendancy of plastic to leech unwelcome flavors and chemicals into the contents.  Judging from the plastic type I’m not entirely worried about chemicals, but plastic flavors wearing over time could be an issue if the flask isn’t properly cleaned.  Proper cleaning is another problem given the interior corners and unusual position of the spout.

For $20 I’m not expecting a great deal out of this item.  It’s mostly for the wow factor of drinking out of a game cartridge in front of other geeks.  If you’re actually trying to smuggle alcohol into an event or carry it with you there are many other more functional options.

Impractical Barware: Sempli

The history of barware is the history of housewares itself.  Properly storing your home brew required a ceramic crock able to handle the fermentation without breaking down.  Given the stretch of time since the dawn of human civilization the drinking glass has undergone numerous beneficial improvements.

Sempli_Cupa-RocksThis is not one of them.  Produced by the fine people at sempli I give you the CUPA-Rocks glass.

Like a number of products the visual impact of this piece is stunning.  It is from there that the process begins to fall flat.

For starters let us assume that like many people your table is a flat surface.  This glass, when placed upon the table, will have a natural tendency to roll.  Unless of course you used a level to place your table it is entirely possible that your first careless guest is going to have fine bourbon splashing to leeward the first time they need to bend over and tie a shoe.

But wait, surely the designer foresaw this?  You would be partially correct.  I’m assuming that after a few catastrophic dinner parties the light bulb went on, but rather than simply find a way to redesign the glass itself they elected to cash in on their own flaw.  They offer specialized coasters and place mats with a slot in them to prevent the glass from rolling.  (Yours for $18 a 4-pack, $38 for the place mats).

Next problem is the server, when you have a table full of people who want a nice double whiskey you would normally put the cups on a tray and save time.  Attempting to do that with these would result in a short wine-glass version of carol of the bells followed by a lot of spilled whiskey.  Never fear, the CUPA-LIFT comes to the rescue.  A piece of wood with divots in it designed to hold the CUPA glasses flat and stable you can buy them in a 2 slot for $40 or a 4-slot for $80.

Next problem, the pour.  I’m going to assume you elected not to buy the lovely $80 CUPA-LIFT and want to pour a couple of quick glasses for friends.  Normally, with a standard straight sided cylinder you can pour one or two fingers and be relatively assured of an even pour at a standardized amount.  With CUPA the tilt of the glass creates a somewhat oblong trapezoid where the volume requires a slide rule and some advanced trigonometry classes to figure out.

Did I mention that these ROCKS glasses cost $50 for a pair?  A steal after you tack on the $40 tray, $18 coasters and $38 place mats.

If you seriously have the money to burn for a boondoggle like this, send the money to me and I’ll gladly forward you a considerably less troublesome bar glass.

You might say, “It’s just one glass, what’s the big deal?”  Ah ha, there you would be wrong.  The CUPA is part of an entire line of products from wine “goblets” to shot glasses, from wine decanters to water carafes.  All with equally IKEA-esqe names and all with the exact same ridiculous spinning-top bottoms to them.