A few minutes in the Check, Please! Bay Area greenroom, and I came to the conclusion that Gillian was a woman after my own heart. Here she is, a designer of cocktail ware and here I am, a recently published author of a cocktail game.
Gillian's company, Chase & Co., creates high-end cocktail glasses and accessories, and I went nuts when I heard they had a specially-designed cocktail muddler. A muddler, as any mixologist worth his Kosher salt would know, is a tool -- usually wooden -- used to crush herbs, spices, and other ingredients in the bottom of a glass. A muddler is necessary for making such cocktails as a Mint Julep (grinding together the sugar and mint leaves) or an Old Fashioned.
Last Christmas my husband took me to a restaurant supply store where I shopped to my hungry heart's content. One of my most treasured purchases was a wooden cocktail muddler. Sadly, a few cocktails later and the finish is starting to wear off the end. Kind of creeps me out to think I've probably drunk that finish or, at the very least, served it to my guests as a toxic garnish. Gillian nodded knowledgeably when I told her of this situation and mentioned that there are a lot of crappy muddlers out there. Of course, Chase & Co's muddler is not one of them. It's made of eco-friendly bamboo and its smooth shape looks as though it would rest quite comfortably in the hand. Bamboo is one of the hardest woods you can find, which is why there's been a relatively recent explosion of bamboo cutting boards on the culinary market.
Ever since I registered for my wedding, I have been obsessed with glassware. Even though my tiny apartment protests quite loudly at any more glass additions (and my husband worries about earthquakes taking out the lot), I keep wanting to supplement my eclectic cocktail collection with new finds and fancies. When I visited Chase & Co.'s website, I fell completely in love with their mojito glasses. Their classy design recalls Hemingway, cigars, and lime-riddled drinks under a Cuban sun.
A few months after we taped this episode of Check, Please! Bay Area, Gillian emailed me with the news that two of Food Network's shows (Food Network Challenge: Bartender Battle and Throwdown with Bobby Flay) recently featured a bartender by the name of Tobin Ellis who used Chase & Co.'s signature mojito glasses in both battles. Nice placement!
You can find Chase & Co's cocktail ware at Gump's, Sur La Table, Tommy Bahama, and Z Gallery. I think they'd make great Christmas presents. I know they're going on my list.