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Victorian cocktail shaking machine unveiled

A Victorian cocktail shaking machine based on a 200-year-old drawing has been brought back to life by bartender and entrepreneur Jason Crawley.

Jack McGarry of New York’s Dead Rabbit tests out Jason Crawley’s Imperial Shaker

Five years ago Crawley, general manager at the Drinks Cabinet, embarked on a project to bring what was once known as an Imperial Shaker Machine back to life.

Victorian antiquity and craftsmanship coupled with 21st century manufacturing have resulted in what Crawley describes as a “high-end luxury item” for people who “like to drink in the fanciest way possible”.

The original drawing of the machine was found in an ancient duplicated document in London.

Users simply crank the handle on the front of the contraption and the shakers inside move up and down and side to side to mix your cocktail ingredients.

“It has been a lifelong aspiration to finally get the shaker ready to view and sell,” said Crawley. “Having made my career in the drinks industry, being born in the steel city of Sheffield and to honour my grandfather’s steel working life, this has been a dream come true.”

Initially, just 12 Imperial Shakers are being produced and are already being pre-sold globally to collectors and cocktail enthusiasts.

However, Crawley also plans to donate a one-off bespoke Imperial Shaker to the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans.

“I don’t think it will change the way people make cocktails, unless, of course, everyone buys one,” said Crawley.

“However, what I think it will bring to the industry is a totally new aesthetic and new ideas around theatre that consumers can easily understand and convey to others.”

Standing six-feet tall in powder-coated cast iron with solid brass fittings and decorated with four bespoke silver-plated cocktail shakers, Crawley’s Imperial Shaker is sure to turn heads.

The first Imperial Shaker was unveiled on 9 February at the inaugural boutique drinks festival, Top Shelf, at The Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, Australia. The Imperial Shaker has an RRP of AUS$16,500.

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