If, improbably, you were to ask the Manolo, “Manolo, what are your two favorite utensils,” he would reply, “The french press and the cocktail shaker!”
The French press and the cocktail shaker are not merely artifacts of beverage production, but exemplars of civilized life. The proper use of either of them force upon us the sort of ritual of preparation, the tiny tea ceremony, whose orders we must follow exactly if we hope to achieve perfection.
In the morning, it is the heating of the water, the grinding of the fairtrade coffee (from Ringtons), the pouring of the water to the proper level, the stirring of the pot, the placing of the lid, and then the waiting, three minutes of anticipation. Only, at the very last, is the plunging of the press, done so carefully, so deliberately, with such satisfaction.
In the afternoon, the ritual is different but similar. The ice, the gin, the whisper of vermouth, the vigorous shaking, up and down, up and down, and then the celebratory decanting, the careful, deliberate pouring of the elixir into our glass. Ayyy! Keep out the ice!
What can be more civilized than this? Done alone or with friends, the proper employment of the French press and the cocktail shaker are marks of civilization, tokens that we have triumphed over our primitive past.
“But, Manolo,” you may ask, “what of the tea pot?”
It has it’s place, the Manolo cannot deny. The drinking of tea is the civilized act, although, too often, the tea pot is rendered frou-frou fussy, with its baroque patterns and garish colors.
The colorful teapot lacks the solemn, pleasant dignity of the French press and cocktail shaker, which makes the latter two the superior objects, and their employment the superior act.
And so, dear friends, raise your glass and hoist your mug to the French press and the cocktail shakers, two of mankind’s greatest inventions.