Barware, Social Forestry, and the Ebony Muddler Story

We've made an Ebony Muddler.  

It's perhaps the densest and most luxurious tool that's ever been used to muddle mint. 

Ebony is so rare and expensive, that would be reason enough for some people to buy a luxury bar tool like this Muddler.  And look at it - it's incredible!  

Standard Spoon Ebony Muddler (5 of 13).jpg

Just wait until you hold it in your hands...

But while we have a healthy appreciation for beautiful and extraordinary things, we didn't just wake up one day and say, "what rare and protected wood species can we turn into a stick to make drinks with?" In fact, we didn't even ask ourselves that question at all. We already made a beautiful hardwood muddler from sustainably harvested Canadian Maple.

So how did we end up with this incredible tool?  The story might surprise you....

Ok, so if you just watched that video, and if you care about trees, the forest, and our role as stewards of this earth, you might be a little more excited about this tool.

We have a chance to support a business that is actually making REAL CHANGE in sustainable forestry initiatives, is paying a fair and living wage to workers, and is making sure that nothing goes to waste.

We're currently funding a Kickstarter Project to make a Mixing Glass and this Ebony Muddler, using ebony that can't be used in guitar making, but deserve to have a second life.

To continue being a part of this (and to bring you new beautiful bar tools made from Ebony), we need your support.  Tell us you love this by becoming a backer on our Kickstarter Project.

This is a Muddler you can really get behind. This is a story that's worth it.


Rachel Eva and Shawn Michael






Ebony wood is so dense, that it can be polished to a high-shine finish. That's what we did. 



Hospitality Industry Update: Mixing Glass Industry-Only Case Price

This is addressed to those of you that are bartenders, restaurant owners, or otherwise involved in the beverage hospitality industry. And it's about our new Mixing Glass, which we've designed specifically with you in mind. 

One of the questions we ask ourselves when throwing product ideas around is "what problem does this solve behind the bar?"

Now, not all of our tools are going to solve your specific problems - because we all have different issues we deal with. And some of our tools are designed with home bartenders in mind. We try not to be too snobby about cocktails.  Because really, there's nothing wrong with helping people make better cocktails at home, is there?

But whether we're thinking about helping the cocktail movement as a whole - in home or in the bar - we are always designing with the industry in mind. That's you guys.  You mean so much to us!  

Brandy Curry at The Patio on Goldfinch in San Diego - He used the Mixing Glass for service one weekend. He said he loved that the walls were thin - it made drinks chill faster, and it feels great when stirring and handling - the perfect size for bar use.

Brandy Curry at The Patio on Goldfinch in San Diego - He used the Mixing Glass for service one weekend. He said he loved that the walls were thin - it made drinks chill faster, and it feels great when stirring and handling - the perfect size for bar use.

That's why we designed the Aero Cocktail Spoon. You were sick of cheap bar spoons falling apart during service. Those who prefer a straight-handled spoon had no other option. So we made a bar spoon that will last you the rest of your life. 

The Mixing Glass is designed specifically with you in mind. Beautiful bars with impeccable design are using pint glasses or pyrex beakers for stirred cocktails. Some of you don't have a problem with that - that's fine.  But we've heard that a lot of you do. 

Bar Managers tell us it's because they just can't afford to keep Mixing Glasses around. Bartenders say it just takes forever to chill down a drink in a thick-walled Yarai. 

Would you rather use a beautiful mixing vessel? Most of you who like good tools and have an eye for beauty say yes. Presentation is important. The experience for the customer is important. It's nice to see that little "WOW" in their eyes. But is it worth the high purchase cost (not to mention replacement cost) of a quality Mixing Glass?  More importantly, is it worth compromising efficiency and service?  No.

So THAT's where we are.  

A gorgeous Mixing Glass for incredible guest presentation.

A thin-walled Mixing Glass for fast and efficient chilling.

A weighted bottom so it won't slide around during service.

A price point that won't break the bank.

Considering the unique vintage hammered glass design alone, a nice departure from the now-ubiquitous yarai cut glass, this is a no-brainer purchase for those of you looking for a standout piece. On top of that, we've been told it looks like a $50 - $60 Mixing Glass, and we've set the price point at an easily accessible $35. 

But the thing we're really excited about on the service side of things is the availability of an industry-only case price. Because bars can't get access to wholesale pricing, but it's just too expensive to buy 4 or 6 or 8 Mixing Glasses at retail. 

When these come out in the Spring, we'll be putting Mixing Glasses in bars for as little as $25 apiece.  

We'd LOVE to be able to offer it for less, but we also have to make smart business decisions on our end.  In the future, if you show us as a whole that this is a good thing, and that you want more of this, we can place larger orders and get that price down even more.

And we always, ALWAYS love your feedback.  Do talk among yourselves, but please do let us know what you think, what you want, what you love and what you don't.  We're not perfect, we can't meet everyone's needs, but we'll do the best damn job we can.

Rachel Eva and Shawn Michael

You can pre-order this Mixing Glass via Kickstarter for $35 today: Mixing Glass Kickstarter



Kickstarter Update: More Ebony Muddlers Please!

Update #1 Posted via Kickstarter on 11/17/16

Hi Backers!

First off, thank you so much to our first backers and the support you've pledged to our campaign the first day!  Early backers mean so much to us, and you've enabled us to reach nearly 60% of our funding in the first 24 hours.

Here's a little video update from us saying thanks, and chatting a little about Ebony. 

The basic thing to know is that we are making MORE Ebony Muddlers available. We've got details below the video on how this works.

(video note: it sounds like we said there is NO WAY you'll get any of the additional Ebony Muddlers by Christmas.  What we mean is, we cannot 100% guarantee any additional muddlers will ship by Christmas. We're going to do our best ;) Read on for more)

One of the reasons we love working with Kickstarter is that we are able to gather immediate information from our backers about what they want. In the last day, you've told us that you want Ebony Muddlers.  

Many of you have contacted us wanting to add extra Ebony Muddlers to your pledge, and we've nearly sold out of all the muddlers we listed in the limited ebony reward tiers.


More Ebony Muddlers are now Available!

We've added new reward tiers for you to pre-order additional Ebony Muddlers.  You can also get an extra one at your current reward level by adding $55 to your pledge.

We cannot 100% guarantee that these will be shipped out by Christmas, but it's very likely we'll have access to more ebony wood next week, and we'll do our best to make as many as we can before the end of the Kickstarter Project. 

Beyond the first 50 that are guaranteed for Christmas, we'll be fulfilling Ebony Muddlers in the order they are pledged for. That could be by Christmas, or it could be January. Once we run out of locally available ebony, the next batch will arrive from Cameroon in a few months, so we'd fulfill the rest of the muddlers late Spring. So if you want to add a +1 Muddler to your pledge, or if you want to upgrade to Ebony from Maple, you can do that now! Check out the FAQ at the bottom of the project page for more.


Rachel Eva & Shawn Michael

How to Fail at Launching a Kickstarter

When you decide to launch your Kickstarter via a Facebook Live Broadcast, and you forget to change the privacy settings, so no one knows you launched.... 


Ok, this is only a minor fail, and one that actually caused us to laugh our pants off when we found out.  Using the Live Broadcast was pretty fun, and we'll probably do it again during this Kickstarter!

Here it is if you missed it (yeah, that would be all of you).  We had some technical difficulties with the WIFI at the start (all part of the process, right?) so skip to 10 minutes in to see us hit the infamous "LAUNCH" button.

We're on day three of our project, so there's still plenty of time left to pre-order a Mixing Glass and Ebony Muddler.  And there are still Maple Muddlers that will ship by Christmas!  Here's the link: Kickstarter: Cocktail Mixing Glass and Wood Muddlers.


Rachel Eva

A Mixing Glass and two Muddlers Walk into a Bar...

If you've followed us on Instagram or Facebook, you've already gotten a sneak peak at some of the new tools we're releasing this month.  If you're not connected to us there, come on over and join the crowd!  We think we post some pretty pictures and have some fun banter on social media (because life shouldn't be so serious!).  Sorry to you twitterers out there -- we try, but it's not quite as fun for us visual creative types. 

On to the goods already!

Mid-November we'll be launching a Kickstarter campaign to bring to life these beauties:

  • A Mixing Glass with an antique hammered glass finish ($35)
  • A streamlined, solid wood Maple Muddler with no stains or flaking varnishes ($15)
  • A specialty Ebony Muddler with handle, and a great story behind it ($55)

We've been working on a Mixing Glass design for most of this year, and are excited to finally have a production sample worth sharing.  We just received it from the factory the first week in November, and so far people that have used it have LOVED it!

We have been making a few Maple Muddlers this year and they have also been really well received.  Most of the ones we've made so far we tested with our current retailers, and since people have been buying them, we've decided to move them into the next stage of manufacturing with mass production, which will create greater efficiencies for us.

AND - we also have EBONY!

A few months ago, we were having some conversations about ebony wood with Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars.  He owns part of a company that has permission to harvest the last legal ebony on the planet in Cameroon. The ebony story we have to tell is pretty incredible, and we'll be adding a blog post about that soon. To make a long story short (for now), we've developed an ebony muddler using sustainably harvested ebony. The wood we're using can't otherwise be used in the music industry, which is the primary end consumer of this very valuable and limited wood resource.

Curious about the ebony story?  Check out this clip of Bob Taylor on the state of ebony to get your started, and look for our next blog post for more:


Holiday Delivery for Muddlers

The first 150 backers who order Maple Muddlers will receive them in time for Christmas!  Same with the Ebony Muddlers, although for now we can only guarantee 25 of those, so be sure to sign up to be notified of our launch to get first dibs.

Kickstarter Launch

We plan on launching the second week in November (trending for Wedneday, Nov 16th). We've got additional information about the Kickstarter, including product details, photos, and FAQ on our Kickstarter Page.


Imbibe Magazine Feature: Standard Spoon

The current issue of Imbibe has a great feature on Standard Spoon! Editorial Assistant Penelope Bass asked us about how Shawn Michael and I began a bar tools company, the genesis of the Wingman concept, and about what's next for Standard Spoon.

Imbibe Magazine Article Standard Spoon Cocktail Tools

Imbibe has a reputation for being the foremost drink-centered publication in the US, hailed by The Sacramento Bee as "a leading magazine of cocktail culture."  It received a James Beard Foundation Award in 2012, and was named Best Special Interest Magazine (2007 & 2008) by the Maggie Awards, and Best Epicurean Magazine (2007) with Eddie Awards.

If you're interested in staying current with your cocktail, beer, and wine knowledge, we HIGHLY recommend a subscription to this magazine. It comes out 6 times a year, and is a gorgeous, extremely informative resource. You can also pick up single issues at the more culinarily inclined retail spots in your city.

Thanks Imbibe!

How To Make Clear Ice at Home

You've seen it by now - clear ice, crystal clear ice, ice rocks, pond ice, the holy grail of ice -- we all love the beautiful illusions, the bare reflections, the looking-glass clarity and almost-not-there effects of a big ass clear ice cube chilling down a cocktail in our rocks glass. 


If bars and restaurants get fancy with clear ice, it often comes from a giant block of ice that is broken down using saws and chisels.  Some restaurant groups have entire ice programs devoted to keeping them in supply, while others contract with ice companies who deliver the goods. 

Some bartenders take their ice very seriously, and continue to carve it into spheres or other shapes (very popular in Japan).  Here's an impressive demonstration by Hidetsugu Ueno:

And of course, as the clear ice craze has made its way into the home bartending scene, there have been many, many new products created for helping you achieve crystalline perfection. We've tried a few, and while some work (and others don't), we find we have a bigger appetite for clear ice when we do decide to make it, and producing one or two clear chunks at a time just doesn't cut it.  

Thankfully there have been some pioneers in the clear-ice-at-home movement that have done extensive testing and experimenting, the foremost being Camper English of Alcademics, who has a whole treasure trove of blog posts devoted to his ice experiments.  Our favorite methods produce a good quantity of ice for relatively little expense - here are our top two for making some fancy-ass ice at home:

For both methods:

  • Use distilled water - it has less impurities than tap water!
  • If you can adjust your freezer temperature without compromising food contents, set it to a higher cool temperature (or, LOW COOL on your freezer).  The goal here is to get the water in the cooler to freeze slowly from the top down, like pond ice. (Food safety guidelines say your freezer should be set at 0° F or -18° C. If you're not storing food, you could set the temperature higher than 0° F.  Just try not to set it at sub-zero temperatures like -10°  F.) In other words, the colder the temperature, the faster the freeze, and the less clear your ice will be!

The Cooler Method for Making Clear Ice

  • Fill a small, clean, hard-sided insulated plastic cooler with distilled water.
  • This part is important:  Take the lid of the cooler OFF, so that the surface of the water is exposed to the air in the freezer.  Put it in the freezer.
  • Wait.  Depending on the size of cooler you're using, and your temperature settings, it could take a few days to freeze all the way, so plan ahead. (If you let the water freeze all the way solid, its possible the cooler can crack!  One option is to check on it every day, and when about 75% of the ice has frozen, remove the ice block that has formed so far from the surface of the unfrozen water.  If you let the block freeze all the way through, the bottom 25% or so will be cloudy, so this just cuts your time down and leaves the to-be-cloudy portion unfrozen.
  • Take the cooler out of the freezer, and let it sit at room temperature until you can extract the ice from the cooler.  This could take some time, anywhere from 20 - 45 minutes.
  • When you've got your solid block of ice free, you're ready to render it down into smaller pieces. You may have to let it sit out at room temperature some more; if the ice is too cold, it could shatter a lot when you're cutting it.  Let the ice block sit until the surface is shiny and starting to sweat.
  • To cut the ice, use a serrated blade to score around the block at the width of your first desired cut. Be sure to score all the way around the block, drawing a line where you want the ice to break apart.  Use a chisel and hammer right on the scored line to break the ice, which should follow the score line and calve off a nice big block.  
  • First cut off any cloudy areas - you can cut these down and use them for shaking or stirring ice. Continue to score and use the chisel to break down the larger block into smaller blocks, ice rocks, and cubes.

The Cube Method for Making Clear Ice

  • Procure some silicone ice cube trays in the size you prefer
  • Punch or cut holes in the bottom of the trays
  • In a deep tray (we used bread loaf pans), elevate the ice cube tray about 1" above the bottom using whatever you can. Ideally the support will allow water to flow freely - we stack a few metal trivets on the bottom and put the ice trays on top.
  • Put the whole thing in the freezer, and wait until the water in the trays has frozen all the way through.  Then you can take them out, and let it rest at room temperature until the ice cube trays can be separated from the rest of the block of ice.  You should have clear, already shaped square cubes ready to use from the trays!


Clear Ice for Craft Cocktails Standard Spoon Bar Tools

Ready to take the Clear Ice Challenge?  Try your hand at making some at home, and tag us on Instagram @standardspoon #clearice!