Cocktail Bar Collectibles 

Cocktail Bar Collectibles 

The recent and continued popularity for the Art Deco look and that of the frivolous fifties has encouraged the growth of yet another collecting theme - anything and everything to do with cocktails.

The essential requisites for the cocktail bar collection should consist of 1, the cocktail bar itself, 2, cocktail shakers, 3, ice buckets and 4. any other associated paraphernalia that you can get your hands on.

In this last category are books on cocktail making, hors d'oeuvres dishes, ashtrays, drinks stirrers, cocktail snack and biscuit tins, glasses, advertising and particular popular brands associated with fun drinking - such as Martini, Babycham, Cherry B and so on.

Cocktails or the idea of mixing drinks has been around since the 1860s but the craze for cocktails took off during the early years of Prohibition in the U.S.A ( 1919 - 1933).

The idea was that mixing the alcohol with more pleasant tasting ingredients would both disguise the illegal goods and smother the unadulterated taste of some of the almost pure alcohol substances.

Cocktail Bar Collectibles 

From these inauspicious and illegal beginnings the high society of the 1920s transformed cocktail drinking into a glamorous art form and cocktails and cocktail parties became synonymous with wealth, extravagance and style.

The cocktail bar itself is an essential piece of equipment in so much as once you have this piece your entire collection has its own home and reason for being.

Top designer cocktail cabinets are very expensive but many manufacturers produced cabinets in such materials as bur walnut, satinwood and even mirrored glass.

 Though these have gone up in price on the back of the demand for  Art Deco, some nice examples can still be found for around £200-500.

Cocktail Bar Collectibles 
In the 1950s the cocktail cabinet survived but its lively offspring included such items as novelty home bars - the one designed in the shape of the prow of a boat is particularly popular at the moment.

Cocktail shakers from the 1920s and 30s have had a lot of attention lavished on them by popular antiques and collectibles programmes and prices for the novelty shaped shakers fashioned out of silver can be quite astronomical (several thousands pounds in some cases).

Popular shapes for shakers include the bell, Zeppelin, aeroplane, lighthouse, penguin and skyscrapers. All the top and swanky makers of the period made them and as the perfect show off item their prices reflect both the quality of manufacture and their visual appeal.

In 1998 the Pullman Gallery in London held an exhibition of cocktail shakers and other accessories including top of the range designs by Dunhill, Asprey, Carrier and Tiffany.

 The Gallery has continued to put cocktail shakers firmly on the collecting map with a second exhibition earlier this year featuring what has become known as their 'Cocktail Culture Collection'. The director of the Pullman Gallery, Simon Khachadourian, has also written a book 'The Cocktail Shaker'.

Cocktail Bar Collectibles 
Cocktail shakers are not just about silver, stainless steel or kitsch 1950s examples. Some highly stylish ones can be found made of glass, often known as 'drink shakers' and decorated with contemporary or sporting scenes.

Glass ice buckets are very popular as well, particularly with American collectors, e.g. a Stevens and Williams blue jade glass ice bucket made in England in the 1920s.

This firm made many stylish items and another item on the cocktail collectors list might include a Stevens and Williams orange glass cocktail server.

Ice buckets are an essential and stylish cocktail accessory.

Thermos Ltd. made vast amounts of them in Bakelite and later plastics, often employing a two tone colouring.

Make sure they come with their original liners and that the lids match the base. Expect to pay anywhere between £15-25 for good examples and more for those made of chrome or silver plate.

The 1950s saw the arrival of many novelty shaped ice buckets - the most well known ones shaped as pineapples (by Britvic) and other fruit such as apples.

The sparkle of glass and shiny surfaces, twisted glass cocktail stirrers, streamlined glasses, jugs, decanters and swizzle sticks can be a really elegant centrepiece; alternatively you can let your hair down with a vast array of kitsch 1950s drinks items - anything from Babycham deer to soda syphons and naked lady drinks stirrers.
Cocktail Bar Collectibles 

Another collecting possibility might be the history of cocktails and their ever changing popular appeal. Many cocktail recipe books feature strong Art Deco graphics and have great visual strength. There are lot of period books, manufacturers' catalogues and contemporary advertising for popular brands that make for both an informative and highly colourful collection.

A collection of cocktail and drinks associated items is ideal for the more outgoing collector. Not only does it give you the perfect excuse to have a lot of interestingly shaped bottles of booze around the place but the actual contents add a lot of colour  and reality to your collection.

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A collection that can literally be used to get the party moving.

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