How Dry I Am or Vintage Barware

You would think we would both be wildly tipsy all the time, if you would examine our predilection for vintage barware, but you would be wrong.  We just like the equipment!  I think it comes back to our love for everything that made the average housewife the hostess with the mostess.  Back in the day, a clean house with all the latest gadgets was the thing you strove for, and we admire those ladies in their pearls and house dresses who got it done.   Plus, seriously, some of it is just plain fun!!  We also have a give-a-way at the end so stay tuned, and don’t forget to put your name in the hat.

Deb has always had a little more room, so some of her items are bigger than mine.  Here is most of her collection:

Forgot the Dog DecanterShe has several fun sets, that I have yet to find an example of for my collection.  I do want you to pay close attention to the hungover doggie decanter, as there is a similar item in my stuff.

Check out this awesome ’70s barware set:

Seventies Bar WareI mean seriously, grab a bottle of booze and the ice bucket and you have a party all in one place.  It is missing a glass and one of the holders on the other side of the shaker, but it was so incredible, we couldn’t leave it.  Love the bright colors and the gilded opulence of it.  Whatever you do, DO NOT place items like this in the dishwasher.  Have your party and wash up in the morning.  The gold will come off in just a few trips through the automatic washer.

And here is a closeup of the chrome set:

Chrome Shaker with Red Bakelite HandleFabulous Bakelite  handle in the oh-so-desirable red color.  So chic.  Its Deco lines make you want to put on some fringe and do the Charleston.

As promised, here is my decanter:

Drunken Kitty and MoreIt might be a little hard to see in the photo, but Kitty has been hitting the booze hard; blood-shot eyes and a lolling tongue tell the tale.  Also included in this shot is my only shaker, a couple of paper napkin sets, aluminum spoons and the party coaster set.  The party coasters were little socks that you put on your glass.  I am pretty sure it was a desperate move by the hostess to protect her heirloom furniture.  After all, if the coaster were attached to your drink, you couldn’t forget it.  The spoons have since been joined by a set of aluminum glasses and the matching coasters, but the spoons are the unusual piece of the set.

These next couple of items are a little harder to come by:

Light my BarThe little hobo is an oil lamp and the bartender presides over a bar of drinks that are really tiny cocktail picks.  He is made of pot metal and weighs a ton!  He probably dates to the ’30s or ’40s.

If you notice in Deb’s stuff there are some recipe books in the ice bucket.  I have a pile of those as well:

How To'sI particularly like the wooden-covered book.  It was actually a commercially produced book and dates to 1941.  It was published in S. Carolina, so has its fair share of hillbilly drinking references.  There were tons of pamphlet-type drink books put out by almost every liquor brand out there.  I love the ones with the cooking recipes in them as well as the proper ratios for your favorite beverages.  Frequently, the graphics in these are just amazing.  The tiny fan looking one in the back is a key-chain that folds out all the pertinent recipes.  I guess it was for the bartender on the go.

Here is a charming example of a recipe holder:

Recipe TenderThis little fellow is probably celluloid and only about 3 and 1/2 inches tall.  More cute than useful, but he does have about ten recipes in his little holder.

This next item gives you the drinks and the coasters all in one:

Avocado CocktailThis wooden case has a recipe index in the front and four cork coasters in the back.  Avocado decorating at its finest.  It was made of nice walnut, but the front panel is just plain old cheap plastic.  Guess they figured they had to decorate it somehow.  I actually like the graphics, a better color scheme would help, but still.

When cocktail parties reigned supreme in the ’50s, every hostess got lovely sets of cocktail napkins for wedding gifts.  Here are a couple of really cute ones:

Cocktails AnyoneThe printed ones had two each of four different printed roosters, and the tiny embroidered ones had two each of five colors.  These really weren’t good for much, as they were tiny and very thin fabrics, but they sure look sweet.  Notice that the printed one on top has the rooster and the dog alternating.  I suppose that is a sly reference to cocktails and hair of the dog.  Do check out the link, I had no idea that phrase was that old!

I have to admit that I have a really bad habit of buying the most goofy stuff, and foisting it off on hubby for his bar.  This next item falls into that category:

Hefer openerYou could open a wine bottle with his tail and beer bottle with his horns, all the while being mesmerized by the lenticular eyes.  I think the person who designed this had probably had a few too many beers before he even came into work.  I still love it, though!

Now we come to my biggest problem:

Swizzle ManiaOh, do I love swizzle sticks.  It started out with my seeing a story about them in a book, and I though how cool it would be to have a few for the mythical (at the time) bar.  Well, one thing led to another and now there are hundreds.  The best thing about them is that they are inexpensive, and don’t take up a lot of space.  The pile shown in the picture is a just a sampling.  Here is quick article on the history of them.  These can be picked up easily at yard sales, especially at estate sales, and don’t really cost more that a buck or two for a bag of them.  There are sticks from the Las Vegas casinos, the Playboy club (those are surprisingly easy to find!), restaurants and bars galore, weddings, snacks (there are Planters Peanuts ones in both mine and Deb’s stuff, as I got oodles of those!), lots of airlines, and some just plain old buy a set for your bar ones.  I have sets with both whistles and bells to call the barmaid.  In my house that would probably get the beer thrown AT you.

So, this brings us to our give-a-way.  I don’t want to be the only crazy one in the world, so I have put together three sets of fun sticks that I have extras of, so you can start your own obsession.  Here is a photo of just one set:

Prize SwizzlesA nice sampling of this and that, even a more modern stick from Coors Field, so you know it came from Colorado.  To enter, just post a comment here, or on our Facebook page.  If you don’t want to be public, drop us an email.  We will pull three names on the 29th of Feb. so get those entries in, and then go have a drink!

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7 Responses to How Dry I Am or Vintage Barware

  1. I’ve got a decanter set I’ve got to go home and take a picture of…it defies description, so you have to see it to believe it!

  2. LOL! So after I read this, I got an e-mail from Etsy with a selection of swizzle sticks available for purchase…

  3. fran says:

    I Always enjoy your posts they r so funny and that steer thing with the cork screw as a tail is a scream.

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