Last December, I created a design for a unique cocktail shaker that I call the Rollatini Cocktail Spinner. It mixes the cocktail ingredients by gently rolling on its cone shaped bottom.
Perhaps a little known fact is that classic gin or vodka martinis do not require stirring or shaking. Gin and vodka with sweet or dry vermouth mix thoroughly without the ‘’shake don’t stir” (famous instructions from Sean Connery’s 007). Only if ingredients like sugar, or orange juice or tomato juice, for example, are added is some action needed to get a full blend.
Mixing cocktails in the Rollatini is pleasant—and even mesmerizing. It adds fun and romance to this age-old social custom.
The first Rollatini was made in sapphire blue with cobalt detailing (called lip wraps). We had a request to make it in cobalt blue, so we added that color to the line. Then we added chartreuse (which we call the Absinthe Rollatini—“Choose your poisin!”), and a tangerine (called the Tequila Sunrise). Create the cocktail that best fits its Rollatini. We like martinis in the sapphire blue (with Bombay Sapphire gin) and cobalt blue (Sky vodka). Any cocktail that has orange juice calls for the tangerine Rollatini.
The collector who ordered number one of the Absinthe Rollatini told me that he had been especially fond of the Rialto line that I designed at Blenko in the 1950s, and said that if I made the Rollatini in the Rialto colors of opal white with ruby wraps, he would definitely place an order. We did so, and he did. We now have the opal white Rollatini with ruby lip wraps and are offering it as a limited, numbered edition of 50. The opal Rollatini calls out for daiquiris.
Here is a fun story about the vintage Rialto line:
One of my most unusual designs from the 1950s made at Blenko Glass was a Rialto bottle with a single red eye in its stopper. As I recall I had to beg a little to get it into the 1959 catalog as it was definitely far out for Blenko.
It didn’t sell well, and as a matter of fact, the entire Rialto group of 12 designs kind of bombed on the market. But that makes it very rare. (One is on the website 1stdibs now for $3,500). The opal Rialto bottle with the red eye in its stopper was inspired by a line in the movie “Casablanca”. I was an usher in a movie theater in high school in 1944—ten years before I created the design—but I had seen the movie at least a dozen times and loved it.
Of course “blanca” means white and, set in a hot climate, everyone in the movie wore white as well. In a poignant scene, Humphrey Bogart looks longingly at Ingrid Bergman, who is about to board a plane out of Casablanca to leave him forever and Bogart says “Here’s looking at you, kid”. My sinister plot at Blenko was to memorialize this famous movie line with the design of my Rialto decanter. How amazing is it that 50 years later, a vintage one is offered for sale at a price that would have been almost a year’s earnings for a glassworker at Blenko in the 1950s.
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