In 1979 Alessi of Italy introduced a series of professional barware designed Ettore Sottsass and Alberto Gozzi. Part of this series was the introduction of the first European Boston Shaker, now available in a gold-plated version at Amusespot. Amusespot is publishing articles on the Programma, original materials, and a new interview with Mr. Gozzi. This article is a reprint of the original insert concerning the series. It has been transcribed due to only being available in photocopy form.
Cocktail: a word whose origin is much discussed. An invention claimed by several places in the Old and New World.
It is always the same for legendary events, the birth of famous men, the great discoveries.
Similarly, according to some authors, the birthdate of the cocktail is said to be in Bordeaux in the 18th century and the word to derive from the french coquetel, a term for a special liquor mixture. Others claim that it originated later, in the most french of american towns, New Orleans, and that the word comes coquetier or egg-cup to measure ingredients.
Yet others claim it derives from the word "cock-tail" to indicate a mixture of various coloured liquors resembling the many coloured tails of some cock birds. There is no doubt however the cocktails are original creations following a long tradition and prepared according to strict rules requiring the controlled mixing of many ingredients with professional equipment to produce something new and personal. This is the attraction which encourages the refined gourmet to submit to the severe discipline of the cocktail maker and to appreciate the fine distinction of one cocktail from another. If amongst the ingredients there are milk cream, eggs or fruit juices or particularly dense liquids, as for Flips, Egg Noggs, Sours, Bronx, Alexander, Alessi Cocktail, etc., he will learn to mix fiercely with the shaker.
On the contrary, he will be able to use the mixing glass and the stirrer when the cocktail base is composed of dry liquors not requiring a hard shake such as Martini Dry, G.A. Cocktail, etc. Alessi, in their long preparation of professional articles for cocktails, availed themselves of the most qualified advices.
Only professional people know what is best for professional people. The advice of Alberto Gozzi, the suggestion of members of the I.B.A. and the A.I.B.E.S. allowed Arch. Ettore Sottsass jr. to create a series of very professional articles for the Alessi Programma 5. Here they are detailed below:
The Boston Shaker; a professional instrument.
This is the kind preferred by professional barmen. The Alessi article (Nr. 5050) is the american or Boston style, reputedly born on board Atlantic liner heading from Boston to Europe at the end of the last century, thanks to the brilliant invention of an unknown barman.
It consists of two parts fitting together: a large container of 18/10 stainless steel, very flexible due to a special work hardening process, and a smaller container of hard thick crystal.
The Alessi Boston shaker is available in one size only.
The big container, we suggest the stainless one, can be used as a mixing glass along with the stirrer or mixing spoon.
It closely fits the inside rim of the shaker or mixing glass retaining the ice, lemon residues or other solid parts eventually required for the cocktail dressing.
The double range of finger grips corresponding to the position of the forefinger allows a perfect hold.
This is a long thin instrument (Nr. 5054) indispensable for cocktails prepared in the mixing glass. The upper end of the stirrer, designed by Ettore Sottsass jr. with advice from Alberto Gozzi, has a special knob to pick and squeeze the lemon, orange, mint, etc... On the bottom, a paddle with four vertical slots promotes the best mixing of the ingredients.
The last item in the bar set is a jigger designed by Carlo The last item in the bar set is a jigger designed by Carlo Mazzeri & Anselmo Vitale in the 1950s.
Part Two of the vintage insert concerns the designs complementing the bar set.