Not too long ago, we posted about a successful but mind-boggling Kickstarter campaign for the “mason jar cocktail shaker,” which reminded us of a Pinterest experiment gone awry and maybe even some larger indicator of the eye-roll-inducing vision of an immediate future where everyone suddenly starts inviting us to their apartments to try their terrible “artisanal” cocktails. But instead of ridiculing other bar innovations seeking crowd-sourced funding, we decided it would be best to show you one that is decidedly more expensive than the shaker, but infinitely more versatile and aesthetically pleasing.
Martin Kastner of Crucial Detail studio in Chicago has contributed much to some of Chicago’s best-known restaurants, including Alinea, Next and The Aviary, although his name may not be as recognized as chef Grant Achatz or mixmaster Charles Joly. But Kastner is responsible for one key element of the experience at The Aviary, “the Porthole”: a part-decanter, part-infuser, part-serving vessel built with a round, visible center so diners and drinkers can view the ingredients of their cocktails in full color and bloom and watch them combine for a delicious libation in real time. All-star chef Achatz and Nick Kokonas, the co-owner of Alinea, Aviary and Next, sing the praises of the device—Achatz for its potential for other foods (infused broths and olive oils, among others); Kokonas as a centerpiece for a great at-home party. Kastner is looking to make this Aviary treat available for the aspiring home entertainer/cocktail enthusiast for under $100 each.
The big-name endorsements, association with The Aviary and stunning design (as well as it, you know, actually being a good idea) have certainly helped Kastner and the Porthole’s campaign along—with 25 days to go at time of writing, he’s already nearly quadrupled his initial funding goal of $28,000, which could mean many, many batches of Portholes in the works, or perhaps that they’ll retail for below what Kastner targeted. If you still want to help, donors can take home anything from an Aviary cocktail recipe to, if you’re willing to kick in five G’s, two autographed Portholes and the opportunity to learn mixology hands-on and drink with Grant Achatz and Charles Joly.
Watch the Kickstarter video, featuring an intriguing look at the design and building process behind the Porthole, below.