Plenty of places can make great cocktails these days, but when it comes to presentation nobody comes close to Chicago's The Aviary. Grant Achatz's cocktail lounge is like the Cirque du Soleil of bars, and its custom glassware makes every drink look at least 20 percent cooler. And now the rest of us will be able to get our hands on some of our own.
Of all the eye-catching serveware at The Aviary, the one that stands out the most is probably the Porthole, a flat, clear, teapotlike flask designed for infusions. Arrange it full of whole flowers, fruit, herbs, spices, or whatever, then fill it with the spirit or spirits of your choice for a cocktail that's almost too pretty to drink. (I'm just kidding; drink it. You can make another.)
Martin Kastner of Chicago's Crucial Detail — who designs glassware for Alinea, Aviary, and Next — said they've been working to adapt the Porthole for production for the rest of us. The first manufacturing steps start this week, and Kastner said he estimates the process will take 14 weeks to complete, so the Porthole is expected to ship in October, which puts it right at the top of my personal Christmas list.
According to Kastner, the production run will be funded via Kickstarter. The campaign is planned to launch in early July, and the first hundred backers will receive the Porthole for $75. The second hundred backers will be able to buy it for $85. After that, backers will be able to order them for the regular price of $95. Customers in Europe will be able to get Portholes for €95, including VAT and delivery.
For more information, check out Crucial Detail.