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glassware: the coupe

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Martin Doudoroff Posted: 7 Mar 2009 6:09 AM

I've been editing hundreds of brand new experimental cocktail recipes submitted by dozens of mixologists from around the country (and a few internationally) for a new project. One trend across this body of recipes that really leapt out at me was the embrace of the “coupe,” both as a term and as the serving glass design of choice for cocktails. In my (admittedly limited) experience, you don’t see much use of the term in cocktail books, and circa 2004, the term didn’t rate as significant enough to make it into the CocktailDB barware database; there you'll find the vessel in question listed only as the “Champagne glass.”

It’d all be so trivial if it wasn’t so ubiquitous.

I speculate that one reason for the coupe's rise in popularity is that classicists are trying to distance themselves from the nasty stuff that lowest-common-denominator establishments are dumping into (enormous) v-shaped cocktail glasses. Since the coupe can be just as elegant—and impractical—a serving vessel, perhaps the coupe is turning into one of the key symbols of the cocktail renaissance?

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Martin Doudoroff:

I speculate that one reason for the coupe's rise in popularity is that classicists are trying to distance themselves from the nasty stuff that lowest-common-denominator establishments are dumping into (enormous) v-shaped cocktail glasses. Since the coupe can be just as elegant—and impractical—a serving vessel, perhaps the coupe is turning into one of the key symbols of the cocktail renaissance?

  I believe you hit right on the reality of the situation.  When someone who knows anything about cocktail sees a coupe, there's an understanding that the person that picked that glass went out of their way to get such an item, and if they know enough to find a new glass, then they probably have thought about what goes INTO the glass, too.

  Also, it is a differentiation - if you have a coupe, you are telling every customer drinking that cocktail that they are doing something different...

 Here in Seattle, Jamie Boudreau went mad for a while at antique stores and bought every old coupe that he could find and stocked Vessel with the glassware.  Many of his photos at his blog are those glasses.  Since he did that, many bars started using coups - antique/crystal or not.

 

 

Liberty Bar  ::  Seattle, WA  ::  Alcohology

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I agree whole-heartedly, and if we can start driving more usage of coupes, perhaps we can get glass manufacturers to start to pay attention to this style more!

Next, we can start working on getting them to decrease their size :->, that's going to take a little more work, since public perception of getting a cocktail from a coupe instead of a "Martini" glass is along the lines of "oh, that's got a nice look to it", while giving them a drink out of a 4oz glass instead of an 8oz one is "Hey, Who Shrunk My Drink!?!". :->

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Liberty - Bar:

Martin Doudoroff:

I speculate that one reason for the coupe's rise in popularity is that classicists are trying to distance themselves from the nasty stuff that lowest-common-denominator establishments are dumping into (enormous) v-shaped cocktail glasses. Since the coupe can be just as elegant—and impractical—a serving vessel, perhaps the coupe is turning into one of the key symbols of the cocktail renaissance?

  I believe you hit right on the reality of the situation.  When someone who knows anything about cocktail sees a coupe, there's an understanding that the person that picked that glass went out of their way to get such an item, and if they know enough to find a new glass, then they probably have thought about what goes INTO the glass, too.

I'd have to agree with both of you guys here. My bar's the only one in the area that uses coupe glasses which has led to two things: other bar tenders borrowing the glasses to present their drink in at cocktail competitions and customers stealing as many of the damn things as possible!

 

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I love foraging through thrift stores for coupes. I prefer them, they don't spill as easily. I feel they're a useful visual tool when used for egg white drinks, serving to distinguish them from other cocktails. The first time I drank from a coupe was simultaneously my first pisco sour, so I think fondly of coupes.

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I've also always been fond of the so-called California Cocktail Glass. It's somewhat less sloshy than the V-shaped cocktail glass and I think pre-prohibition drinks often look great in them. 

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Martin Doudoroff:

I've also always been fond of the so-called California Cocktail Glass. It's somewhat less sloshy than the V-shaped cocktail glass and I think pre-prohibition drinks often look great in them. 

That's a good one.  I also like the glass that everyone seems to be calling the "Nick & Nora" which I guess is best described as a more rounded-off version of the California Cocktail Glass.  This is what, for example, Pegu Club uses for their "Fitty Fitty" Martini.  It's a great glass, but rather prone to breaking I hear, so perhaps hard to have around. 

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From the "Cuban Manhattan" video link posted by Louis Anderman in the "Cocktail Shaker History" thread, these glasses look to me like giant sherry glasses. Has anybody seen these in use anywhere?

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