To the cocktail novice, stirring a drink might seem like a straightforward act of mixing liquids in ice. But proper stirring—achieving a silent balance of chill and dilution—is an art form. So who better than a pair of artists to craft a better barspoon? “We’d been spending a lot of time in craft-cocktail bars, because the art and craft of these gorgeous and delicious drinks spoke to our sensibilities,” says Rachel Eva, who with Shawn Michael forms the San Diego–based pair behind Standard Spoon.
Making a living as an artist requires no small amount of ingenuity. Fortunately, Michael and Eva are quite ingenious people. From painting and hairstyling, to sculpture, fashion and photography, the now-husband-and-wife team has been collaborating and creating together ever since meeting a decade ago. They established the creative art and design house Work of My Hands in 2007; by 2014, the pair was looking for their next—and ideally, profitable—artistic venture, and turned to their interest in well-made cocktails. “We were in Seattle and heard from a bartender that there was this mid-century vintage barspoon that he couldn’t find any more of—it was a spinning barspoon,” says Eva. “With our love of the industry, background in art and design, and experience with manufacturing, we saw a place for us to get involved.”
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Wingman was born. Fitted with a stainless steel tube around the handle, the Wingman practically stirs itself with a flick of the wrist. For a bartender who stirs drinks night after night, the spoon can not only bump up efficiency but also cut down on wrist strain—and for the novice mixer, the Wingman ensures proper technique almost immediately.
“We saw an opportunity to make the craft-cocktail movement more accessible for people making drinks at home,” says Eva. “A huge reason that the Wingman exists is for the home cocktail enthusiast. It takes a lot of intention and repetition to learn how to stir with a barspoon when it’s not part of your job, and home bartenders love the Wingman because they can achieve pro status with stirred drinks instantly.”
For those who prefer the standard style, Standard Spoon created the Aero, a sleek-profile barspoon fused into one solid piece that Michael and Eva tout as virtually unbreakable, as they discovered by bending it in a vice and generally whacking the tar out of it. “We don’t like poorly designed products, and most modern products are not built to last,” says Michael. “We wanted to back these tools with a lifetime guarantee, which meant we couldn’t take any shortcuts with their integrity. They also absolutely had to be sexy. That’s just artistic integrity there.”
After a process of nearly two years of prototypes, testing and revisions, the Aero and the Wingman are now making it into mixing glasses. And while Michael hints at new projects in the pipeline, right now the couple is celebrating life with a new baby and enjoying some well-deserved cocktails. “There will always be a special place in our hearts for a Gibson,” says Michael. Stirred, naturally.
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