A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
We (Shawn Michael and Rachel Eva) funded and fulfilled a Kickstarter Campaign in 2014 for two new bar spoons. We're excited to introduce you now to our new Mixing Glass and Maple Muddler:
We're also incredibly excited about being able to make these gorgeous Ebony Muddlers, and contribute to sustainable forestry practices in Cameroon in the process! You can pre-order these right here on Kickstarter:
Quality Barware for Craft Cocktails
As artists, foodies, and cocktail lovers, we enjoy not only the process of drinking a good cocktail, but the process of making one as well. When we started making cocktails years ago, we used a pint glass and a chopstick to stir our first Old Fashioned Cocktail. Not my proudest moment, but hey - we didn't know any better, and hadn't collected the right tools yet!
Making a great cocktail is so much more than just mixing some booze together. With intention, the right tools, and a bit of learning, making a cocktail is a work of art by itself, and just plain impressive to your guests.
In the years since that first Old Fashioned, we've loved improving our cocktail experience with quality tools. Here's an overview of the new ones we're bringing to you today via Kickstarter:
The Mixing Glass
A Mixing Glass is used for stirred drinks as the prepping vessel. Always STIR cocktails when they contain only clear spirits and liqueurs, like the Old Fashioned, Martini, Manhattan, or Sazerac Cocktails. Add your spirits and other ingredients to the Mixing Glass, add ice, and stir to chill and dilute before straining into the glass you're serving in.
A good Mixing Glass makes this stirring and serving experience a really enjoyable one, and adds that special touch of preparation and intention to cocktail making that guests always love.
Since we created our bar spoons, we amassed quite a collection of mixing glasses to go along with them. We found that many of the fine, beautiful mixing glasses were very expensive ($45-60), and those that were more economical ($10-20) left something to be desired in the design department.
We wanted to create something that was stunning to look at, but didn't break the bank. Especially considering the fact that mixing glasses often DO break, it needed to be affordably replaceable.
The Maple Muddler
We love having a good muddler in our bar and use it frequently.
Muddlers are sometimes used in stirred cocktails, like the Old Fashioned when you want to use a fancy sugar cube instead of simple syrup - use the Muddler to crush up sugar and mix it with bitters before adding your bourbon. More often, muddlers are used for shaken cocktails that contain herbs, aromatics, fruits or vegetables. A Muddler is used to press fresh mint to extract its oils, and to crush cucumber, berries, and other ingredients for shaken cocktails.
A Muddler is also an essential bar tool for crushing ice in a lewis bag to make drinks like the Mint Julep Cocktail.
There are a lot of problems with muddlers. Many manufacturers of bar tools throw in a muddler as an afterthought to complete their bar tool offerings. Often they are made of cheap soft wood that dents easily. Quite often (somewhat unbelieveably), they are finished with stains or varnishes, which is a BIG NO NO when you’re working with something you’re about to put in your body. I remember one of the first muddlers we owned looked like a cherry wood muddler, but it was actually a reddish varnish that started chipping off into our cocktails.
Another muddler design we don't prefer is the meat-tenderizer style – a textured muddle end that macerates indiscriminately. We don't always want to get at the ingredient like a garbage disposal. Mint leaves should never be torn to shreds for a mojito, but pressed lightly to release the oils only. A nice flat muddler end does just that.
The Ebony Story
Ebony is a beautiful, naturally dark, dense hardwood. Ebony is strong. Ebony is rare. Ebony is highly desired – and a threatened wood species.
Ebony has a long history of use, dating back to ancient Egypt. Because of its density, it is one of the strongest woods – it is the only wood that is dense enough to sink in water! However, due to high demand and unsustainable harvesting practices, there just isn’t that much Ebony left in the world. Every country (except one) that used to export ebony has either harvested all of it, or is protecting what little is left. Pete Lowry, ebony and rosewood expert at the Missouri Botanical Garden, calls the Madagascar ebony wood trade the "equivalent of Africa's blood diamonds."
So… why are we making an Ebony muddler?
We have another story to tell about Ebony – and it starts in Cameroon, the last place in the world where Ebony can still be legally obtained. Most legal ebony is used these days in the music industry – for fingerboards, pegs, picks, and other small parts. However, not all of the ebony that comes to the instrument factories is exactly what they need - it’s too short for a fingerboard, or has a wormhole in it, or some other minor imperfection.
We’ve partnered with Taylor Guitars here in San Diego to make use of the ebony they’ve acquired that cannot be used for guitar making. We’re really excited about this relationship, because it’s a way for us to put into practice in a sustainable way the philosophy of “using the whole pig,” if you will – not wasting a precious resource that is valuable and scarce. In addition, by being an end-user of legal, secondary ebony wood stock, we’ll be supporting the sustainability efforts of ebony growers in Cameroon.
Here’s an incredible clip of Bob Taylor explaining the ebony wood crisis, and what he and his team are doing to support sustainable harvesting practices in Cameroon. Video used courtesy of Taylor Guitars.
We are so pleased to be a part of this story!
Our Design Philosophy
Quality - with so many corners being cut in manufacturing today, our goal is to bring a standard of quality to our tools that takes us back to the era of the 40's and 50's, when products were built to last. This era also contributes to our design aesthetics, because mid-century tools were as beautiful and classic as they were sturdy.
Beauty - because we're artists, aesthetic design is crucial to us. We will not design ugly tools, no matter how functional they are.
Originality - again, probably because we're artists, and we have a great deal of artistic integrity. We are not interested in creating something that already exists, so we consider innovation in every product we design.
Not all products require the same kind of innovation - with our cocktail spoons, we addressed issues with functionality and longevity. With our mixing glass, we've addressed issues of price point and accessibility to a beautiful glass. We're making a muddler the way it should be - strong, natural, and firm. We're making the first readily available Ebony Muddler - using wood so dense that it's nearly impregnable to liquid, with a handle that will give the most amazing user experience.
Design Process & Product Details
Mixing Glass Design
FUNCTION - Gorgeous aesthetics aside, from a functionality standpoint, this Mixing Glass is incredible! We've used it ourselves, it's been used by bartenders, has spent time in several high volume bars, and we've gotten great feedback. Some highlights are:
Feels very natural (effortless even) when stirring with a barspoon - it's a good diameter for the mechanics of barspoon use and the spoon flows like butter around the inside of the glass
Weighted Bottom - feels great! It's heavier than a tin or a Pyrex glass so it stays where you put it, which makes it less likely to slide around and fall off the bar.
Walls of the glass are a good thickness (4 mm) - feels sturdy, but not overdone. Thinner glass means cocktails chill more quickly.
The top rim of the glass is nice and thin (as thick as the walls) - so no unsightly bulging.
This glass fits a lot of liquid for its size. It is in no way oversized in your hand, measuring about 3.5 inches (9 cm) in diameter, but has plenty of room inside - it comes in at a whopping 24 oz, or about 700 ml.
Fits really nicely in the hand when straining - not too big (or heavy) to handle
Fits a Hawthorne strainer like a glove
AESTHETICS - We've gotten a lot of "WOW" moments from folks who love mixing glasses when we show them this one. Here's an overview of some of the aesthetic design features:
Antique hammered glass finish - we wanted something different than some of the popular cut glass designs out there today, so we opted for one like hammered glass. It’s subtle, provides texture, and feels natural and organic, like raindrops, leaves, or ripples in a lake. It reflects light incredibly, and makes any cocktail come alive.
Spout design - small and dainty, not something that looks like a giant, unsightly upside down nose:
Weighted Bottom - because it just feels good and solid when you set it down, and it stays where you put it. It reminds us of those nice Old Fashioned Glasses used in Madmen... there's just something about a beautiful slab of glass...
Seam v. Seamless - For those of you that own a few mixing glasses already, you may be aware that some mixing glasses are seamed, and some are seamless. The seam does not impact performance, but it costs more to eliminate it, because it's a different manufacturing process.
To keep our costs low, and therefore to keep the price point at a reasonable place, this mixing glass does have seams. However, the texture on the glass makes those seams a lot less noticeable, and we think it’s worked wonderfully. So wonderfully, in fact, that we found them incredibly difficult to photograph!
Maple Muddler Design:
We designed our Muddler out of solid, dense maple wood, with a nice big flat muddle end. It measures 10" long, with a 3/4" diameter on the small end, and a 1-3/8" diameter on the large end. Some smaller diameter muddlers allow a stubborn strawberry or slippery cucumber to get away too quickly – you can really pin them down with this one.
It’s got a straight, simple design which just looks amazing and makes it aerodynamically easy to clean quickly. And it contains no stains or varnishes (those can flake off into your cocktail!) - it’s finished with natural mineral oil only. We recommend periodically applying mineral oil as a maintenance process, which is recommended for all wooden kitchen tools as a life-extending measure.
Since this muddler is made from natural wood, variations and markings in grain patterns are guaranteed - each Muddler is completely unique!
Ebony Muddler Design:
Very similar in diameter to our Maple Muddle, the Ebony Muddler also features a sophisticated, ergonomically satisfying handle. It’s quite lovely, and makes grasping a very gratifying experience.
Our Ebony Muddlers have no stain or finish. Ebony is so dense that sanding and polishing are all the finish it needs. These muddlers are so beautiful and so durable that they will easily become treasured heritage pieces in your bar collection.
A Note on Color: Ebony has a reputation as being pure black, but that’s not how all ebony is. If you watched the video of Bob Taylor (above) shedding light on ebony harvesting practices, you’ll have learned that only about 1 in every 10 ebony trees has a solid black core. The only way to know if an ebony tree was solid black in the middle was to chop down trees until you found one.
Rather than continue this grossly unsustainable practice of wasteful harvesting in order to supply ebony consumers with pure black wood, all 10 trees are now harvested and supplied to end users. This means that 1) we won’t run out of ebony, and 2) the ebony that is now used today has color in it.
And it’s beautiful! Swirls and fades of grey and blonde add character and a completely unique aesthetic to each muddler we make. So please embrace this new era of ebony, and celebrate the color of the wood with us!
Mixing Glass – We are using an overseas factory for the Mixing Glass, and are working with the same project management team that we used for our two cocktail spoons. We learned a lot from our last Kickstarter project, so this will not be our first time working with an overseas manufacturer.
This time around, we have already communicated our design plans, partnered with a glassworks factory, and had two rounds of production samples made. The first sample was a first pass at our manufacturing request; we provided feedback, and the second sample was made, which we are very happy with! We are confident that we’ve partnered with the right factory, and since we’ve already paid for tooling costs and done the legwork on perfecting the design, all that’s left to do is place an order!
Muddlers – We’ve already got our manufacturing process down for making the muddlers, so there’s not much to figure out here! We have already been making some Maple Muddlers at our home workshop, and this is how we plan on fulfilling those (and the Ebony ones) that are ordered by early backers to be delivered in time for the holidays.
We have limited the number of muddlers that we promise to deliver by Christmas, because we have a limited capacity (and time) to get those out. Going forward, we’ll be purchasing some additional machines and be able to buy wood stock in large quantities in order to turn out even more.
Reward Levels & Shipping
The pledge and reward levels are pretty straightforward, but for those of us who are visual people, here's a little diagram of what's included in each tier:
A note on holiday shipping: Only Ebony Muddlers ordered by US backers in reward levels 4, 7, and 10 will be shipped by the holidays due to limited availability. ALL Maple Muddlers and Spoons that are ordered by the first 150 US Backers will ship by the holidays. Please note: Holiday Shipping is guaranteed to US Addresses Only, and Backers MUST complete their surveys by December 14th.
International Shipping: Unfortunately, we are not able to offer holiday shipping to International Backers with addresses outside of the United States.
In addition, because international shipping rates can be very expensive, we are not able to send multiple packages to international addresses. So if you pre-order a Mixing Glass and order a muddler or spoon as well, we will hold on to your muddler and spoon, and all your rewards will ship in one package.
If you really want your muddlers and spoons before the Mixing Glass is ready, please add $15 to your pledge (in addition to the included shipping charges), and we'll send them separately.
Looking for Multiples? If you want to add extra tools to your pledge, you can do so by increasing your pledge amount to include extra Mixing Glasses, Muddlers and Spoons. To add an extra item, increase your pledge by:
$15 to add one Maple Muddler
$35 to add one Mixing Glass
$55 to add one Ebony Muddler
$35 to add one Aero Cocktail Spoon
$45 to add one Wingman Cocktail Spoon
Don't worry about adding extra funds for additional shipping costs; we've got you covered.
The Aero and Wingman Cocktail Spoons
Missed our first Kickstarter? These spoons were the result. The Mixing Glass and Muddlers pair perfectly with these beauties, and we have a few reward options for you to buy a little cocktail set - a Mixing Glass and Maple Muddler with either the Aero or Wingman to accompany them.
Aero Cocktail Spoon: While most straight-handled bar spoons are tacked together with a weak weld and often break, ours is fused into one piece for a seamless design.
Its slim profile is easy to insert around the ice in a mixing glass, and its aerodynamic body is great for near-friction-less stirring (perfect for left-handed use too). The bowl of the spoon holds 1/8 oz of liquid, including the meniscus. The weighted end provides for a beautifully balanced bar spoon, something that feels like a tool, not a toy.
Wingman Cocktail Spoon: For bartenders, this spoon requires less hand and wrist motion, improves consistency of dilution (especially when stirring two drinks at once), and decreases the concentration required in a high volume setting. This is a go-to spoon for bartenders dealing with occupational injuries or wrist strain.
For the home cocktail enthusiast or beginning bartender, this swivel spoon is the easiest way to stir a drink. The bowl of the spoon holds 1/8 oz of liquid, including the meniscus.
You may have noticed that the Benefactor Tier includes a special muddler we snuck in for generous backers. We JUST received a very limited supply of Cocobolo; enough to make only 10 Muddlers. Cocobolo is a tropical hardwood from Central America, and is known for its incredible orange and reddish-brown grain.
We'll be turning some of those on the lathe this week and hope to post some finished photos soon, but until then, here's a peek at the raw wood stock we have on hand:
You can explore more about our business, our tools, and our approach to projects on our website and blog: standardspoon.com
Risks and challenges
Holiday Delivery: We've said some of our items (Muddlers and Cocktail Spoons) will be delivered by the holidays, which are right around the corner! Assuming the project is funded successfully, we will be able to send out those promised items to backers, as long as qualifying backers complete their surveys in time. We have a fulfillment system set up already for our cocktail spoons (packaging, labels, shipping boxes, software, etc), so this isn't our first rodeo. Also, because we know the holidays are busy, we have already made many of the muddlers that will ship out as rewards, and have limited the number that we offer for holiday delivery to keep our deliverables realistic.
Mixing Glass: We have worked with overseas manufacturers before (see our last Kickstarter Project), and are very familiar with challenges and delays during the prototyping and manufacturing process. After our last project, we made sure to work out the most painful part of that journey before coming to Kickstarter. We already have production samples for the Mixing Glass, and are ready to place our order with the factory when this project successfully funds. We are also very well familiar with manufacturing timelines (for example, we know Chinese New Year will be right in the middle of our production schedule), and have selected fulfillment dates that are realistic.
You're a friend of the cocktail community and a patron of the arts, and really want to see these tools come to life! As a token of our thanks, we'll send you one of each of our tools, plus a Limited Edition Cocobolo Muddler.
Make delicious, gorgeous Mint Julep Cocktails at home with this complete kit. Just add Bourbon, Mint, and Sugar! Choose from hammered copper or nickel-plated julep cups.This kit will ship in time for the Holidays to US Backers for Free.