When Philadelphia-based Felt + Fat first contacted us about collaborating on a product, we leapt at the opportunity to work with a brand we love for its colorful tableware and innovative finishes. 

We started the process by chatting with Felt + Fat founder and CEO Nathaniel Mell and explaining our issues with tiki culture (a term we’ve long abandoned due to its history of appropriation and cultural insensitivity). We’d seen some of the fantastical candles and vases Felt + Fat had made for Seth Rogan’s House Plant brand, and wondered if we could adopt a similar approach for a postmodern (and post-tiki) take on the cocktail mug. 

Felt + Fat cofounder and CEO Nathaniel Mell.

Nathaniel and his team started the months-long development process by creating the ideal form of a cocktail mug: a sturdy base with gently tapered sides and the optimal capacity (around 18 ounces) for serving a variety of crushed-ice cocktails. That was the easy part. 

The Felt + Fat factory in Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood. 

The highly textural “
drip” and “crackle” glazes were a different story. “With a normal glaze,” Mell explains, there’s a much larger margin of error. You have some wiggle room with viscosity, gravity [ratio of solids to water in the glaze] and application thickness.” With these specialty finishes—which Mell calls “adhesion” or “crawl” glazes—”we really had to dial in the whole process. These glazes are dipped on for a precise amount of time, so we used stopwatches to figure out just the right amount of application.”  

Though the manufacturing process is quite delicate, these mugs are anything but. “The mugs are made of porcelain, which many people think of as fragile, but porcelain is very durable,” Mell says. “The same goes for the glazes: they look delicate, but you can run these mugs in the dishwasher and they’ll really hold up.”

We hope to continue this collaboration with Felt + Fat in the future with more innovative forms and finishes. Until then—and until our limited inventory runs out—you can buy the Crackle and Drip mugs here

June 20, 2024 — Nick Fauchald