THE STORY BEHIND SWIZZLE AND SHAKE
Kathy Black-Dennis, Owner:
My cocktail shaker obsession began in Washington, DC, specifically Georgetown at a lovely little antique shop. Not the best of places, if you know Georgetown and its prices at its “cute, little shops.” It was a Napier shaker for one. I was hooked. I kept collecting…and collecting-not because I made so many drinks, but I thought the shakers were elegant, fun, unique and particularly so if they had a story to tell. I loved researching the shakers.
About that time, another cute, little shop named “The Hour” opened in Alexandria, VA where I worked. The Hour specialized in vintage barware. I watched the shop take shape, met the owner (also a Kentuckian), and was the first customer. I was like a kid walking into a candy store. At some point I decided I’d like to open a “cute, little shop” even though I had absolutely no experience working retail.
My professional career had been in the criminal justice field, and in academia (I am a hardcore University of Louisville fan). I didn’t drink a lot of fancy cocktails, being more of a bourbon (Maker’s Mark and Basil Hayden’s) and wine drinker. I started thinking about names for the shop, where I wanted to be and a concept for the shop.
I wanted to be at The Shops at Tybee Oaks and was on the waiting list for almost two years. On January 17, 2015, I received an e-mail stating a space had opened up. It wasn’t the best of timing, but sometimes opportunities show up when you least expect it. Gary and I had left our jobs in DC to move to KY to care for my mom who had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. She died the same day I received the e-mail.
My mom and I had always enjoyed our cocktails together and she had a full bar set up in her home. We would go to flea markets and antiquing together searching for shakers, although she didn’t quite get my obsession with “old things”. I like to think mom had a hand in the timing-she would be right at home at the 1950’s era kidney shaped bar in Swizzle and Shake.
Even though we intended to take some time off to travel, we had to move quickly. I met with the new owners, put together a business plan and hoped it would be a match. My husband, Gary and I, decided to move to Tybee full time, after being part time residents for 12 years. We put our condo on Capitol Hill (DC) on the market, loaded up the SUV and we’re now home on Tybee!
Swizzle and Shake isn’t just about vintage barware, we also carry hostess gifts, barware accessories and believe if you are going to a “stock the bar” wedding shower, we are the place to shop! Collecting vintage barware is a passion for me, and it’s going to be hard to part with some of my special pieces, but I will part with them if they are going to a good home! If you have a collection and are ready to part with it, get in touch, we can see if we can work together. If you are looking for a special piece, I can let my contacts know and hopefully find it for you! If you are looking for the Hazel Atlas Dancing Sailor shaker, we’ll have to chat. Those shakers are hard to find!
In developing the concept for Swizzle and Shake, I also wanted to be unique and not duplicate what was already being sold on Tybee in its many cute shops. So an idea, a passion, timing and the willingness to take a risk turned into Swizzle and Shake.