It's early Friday evening and R.J. Fereira is standing behind the small bar, waiting for his crowd. The piano is empty and the saxophonist is setting up, but R.J. is ready with his line-up of the night's cocktail shakers - including the huge sterling silver shaker that makes 12 martinis at once.
Fereira spends his retirement working part time as a piano lounge bartender at Wine and Roses because he loves the people, the relaxation and a good drink. But he also loves the shakers.
In the eclectic spare bedroom of his Stockton home, a wall is lined with shelves dedicated to the more than 200 cocktail shakers Fereira collects. Made of glass, silvers and chromes, they are little pieces of history and art deco. Many cocktail shakers made during the Prohibition Era look like coffee pots instead of alcohol shakers. Some are shaped like penguins, bells and even barbells. Two large suitcases are his briefcase. Each night he tends bar, he takes along his own collection for mixing his special concoctions such as the Black Rose, Midnight String of Pearls, Chocolate Cake Martini and Moonlight Cocktail.
Q: How long have you been collecting cocktail shakers?
A: For the last four and a half years.
Q: That was after you retired from the medical field?
A: Yes, and I started bartending part time.
Q: What is your oldest shaker?
A: The one from the Prohibition Era, it's dated 1927. It's sterling silver.
Q: What' the significance of the rooster picture on it?
A: In Portuguese, a rooster means good luck.
Q: Which is your favorite?
A: I guess the rooster one is in my favorites. Then, I have other ones that look like a bell. I got it in Catalina. It had been in Catalina for four years but it didn't sell because everybody thought it was a bell.
Q: What is the most money you have ever spent on one shaker?
A: The most was the Prohibition shaker, about $265.
Q: Where do you find most of your shakers?
A: Antique shops all over California.
Q: Why did you want to get into bartending after you retired?
A: I just had an interest because of the enjoyment of people and relaxation. Everybody comes in and has a good time and relaxes.
Q: What drink do you serve most often?
A: I'd say martinis mostly - lemon drops, cosmopolitans. Espresso martini is my specialty. People love that.
Q: What are the shakers made of?
A: Some are silver plated, sterling silver and stainless chrome.
Q: I hear you take a different shaker to work every day.
A: Yeah, just different ones, like the penguin. The reason why I do that is because I make the different drinks. The vodka, the gin, bourbon, the scotch have different tastes. They leave oils in the shaker, so I pick out each one for a certain drink. For a cosmo, I use a certain one so you don't get the taste of the other drink. I bring them with me every day.
Q: How many shakers do you have?
A: I have over 200. They are all over the place, all over the house.
Q: What's the average price for a shaker?
A: I'd say about $55.
Q: Do you ever use your shakers at home to make yourself a drink?
A: I'll make a margarita for myself. That's my favorite. Sometimes I'll make a cosmo for my wife.
Q: Have you ever broken a shaker?
A: No, because I mostly use the metal ones. The glass ones are for decorations.
Q: You hear stories of people going home in the fifties and having their martini's, did you experience that with your father?
A: Yeah, my dad had an old shaker and he'd have a Manhattan and some of those old drinks.
Q: Do your children show any interest in your collection? Do they like to drink?
A: Yeah, my grandson likes them.
Q: How long do you think you'll continue to bartend?
A: Oh, health is good so probably another four or five, six years.
Q: When can people go in and see you at Wine and Roses?
A: I work Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 4 p.m.-11 p.m.
Q: Did you party a lot when you were younger?
A: Oh yeah, my philosophy is the world is a big party.
Q: Do you have any tips for people when they are making cocktails?
A: Oh yeah, just put the minimum amount of alcohol. If it calls for a shot, just put a shot because you can ruin a drink by putting too much alcohol in it. No really, it kind of ruins the taste. I just want to make a drink that's smooth.