The bartending founders of Portland-based barware producer Bull in China are obsessed with glass. Specifically, the mixing glass, that most essential of craft bartending tools. Believing there was an absence of quality mixing vessels on the market, they set out to create a glass that could endure a 200-drink shift and still look good. But they didn’t stop there. Bull in China has expanded deep into the bar toolkit, producing pretty much everything a professional bartender or home mixologist could need (and a few things they may not even know they need). We’ll review more of that gear at a later date, but today, we’re looking at the item that started it all. In its most superlative form.
According to the folks at Bull in China, their Artisan Series Mixing Glass “bridges the line between high end equipment and functional art.” Looking at it, there’s not much arguing with that claim. The glass, handblown in the Venetian style by an artist in the Pacific Northwest, is a refreshing visual departure from the clear or patterned vessels typically found on back bars and home bar carts. The production process involves shocking the semi-molten glass with water, producing a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind dimpled effect that mimics the look and texture of hand cut ice. No two glasses are alike. A uniquely colored version, made in collaboration with infamous cocktail bar Death & Co., is also available.
As for its durability, production involves a 48-hour annealing process that makes the glass almost impervious to temperature fluctuations. It’s a bit heavier than other mixing glasses I’ve come across, so it’s sturdy enough for even the most aggressive mixing (for those who like to show off). And at 22 oz., it’s an ideal size for high volume use or casual home bartending.
Their mixing glass isn’t the only glassware that’s gotten the artisanal treatment. A highball glass can also be had that sports the same beautiful warbled texture and impressive durability (like the mixing glass, they are also dishwasher safe).
Beautiful and high quality things often come with a premium price tag, and that’s certainly true here. But hey, life is short, and your cocktailing friends are probably hard to impress.
A / (Artisan Series Mixing Glass: $120; The Highball: $55 each) / bullinchinapdx.com