Again within the seventeenth century, the coupe may’ve been a chic vessel for serving Champagne, however it’s a horrible glass for having fun with cocktails. Now, earlier than you throw your autographed copy of “Cocktail Codex” at me and cry heresy, simply hear me out.
It’s straightforward to overlook that there was a time not too way back after we didn’t should deal with each shaken and stirred cocktail from a chalice prefer it was the holy grail. It was an easier time again then — we by no means frightened about some mustachioed mixology prodigy making us really feel like a donkey after we requested for a Martini on the rocks or smirking after we didn’t have a gin choice for our G&T.
It’s price noting that earlier than the cocktail renaissance took maintain within the early aughts, coupe glasses have been all however extinct. They could have been stylish among the many girls who lunched within the ‘50s, and some pioneering mixologists like Dale DeGroff within the ‘80s could have championed them (together with the Nick and Nora glass), however in any other case the glass had largely disappeared up till 20 years in the past. Having labored within the New York Metropolis restaurant business because the late ‘90s, I can attest that it wasn’t till the arrival of Angel’s Share and Milk and Honey, two groundbreaking cocktail bars, that coupes exploded in recognition. Immediately, its primacy because the dominant cocktail vessel is accepted with nearly spiritual, cult-like devotion. But it surely shouldn’t be.
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I’m not arguing that the glass isn’t elegant. Romantic myths counsel that the coupe was initially designed to emulate the form of a lady’s breast, even perhaps Marie Antoinette’s. Nonetheless attractive these tales could also be, they’re additionally seemingly unfaithful. Within the trendy period, the flute supplanted the coupe as the popular automobile for Champagne, because it was deemed superior at sustaining its treasured bubbles. As of late, flutes have fallen out of favor, with many sommeliers preferring white wine stems for serving glowing wines. In the meantime, coupes proceed to dominate the cocktail kingdom.
Not each notable bar makes use of them, although. At Amor y Amargo in New York’s East Village, you’ll by no means see a coupe glass sitting atop the bar, although it’s primarily attributable to spatial constraints. In accordance with one of many bar’s homeowners, Sother Teague, the 240-square-foot area has solely ever used two types of glasses: a 6-and-a-half-ounce single Previous-Long-established glass and a 9-ounce water glass. It helps that the bar solely serves stirred bitter drinks (its title interprets to “Love and Bitter” in Spanish) as a result of there isn’t ample shelving and cupboard space for delicate stemware. All the things is both served on the rocks or down like a Sazerac. “Personally, I by no means use coupes in any of my spots,” Teague says, “I favor a Nick and Nora.”
Lately, I loved a scrumptious egg white cocktail referred to as the Perilla Fizz at New York’s outpost of London’s Hawksmoor, a shaken drink that was served in a tall 8-ounce tumbler that regarded like a shrunken Collins glass. The cocktail was dry shaken and strained via a sieve, revealing a beautiful head of froth like a well-drawn Guinness. I reveled in not having to fret a few nostril stuffed with cocktail meringue or my drink toppling over each time I lifted the glass, as would’ve been the case if the drink was served in a coupe. However having it served “down” — business lingo for when a cocktail with out ice is served in a stemless glass — was an surprising however welcome aid. (I perceive that fizzes wouldn’t historically are available coupes, however there may be merely no motive that different shaken drinks can’t be served equally.)
“I believe the coupe getting massive from 2000 onwards was in response to the V-shaped Martini glass being the image of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and basically, unhealthy drinks,” says Adam Montgomerie, Hawksmoor’s bar supervisor, who moved from London to open the New York restaurant. “The couple had that classic really feel, which gave it a pleasant tie-in to the speakeasy bar that was an enormous a part of the cocktail revival within the ‘00s.” Montgomerie doesn’t thoughts coupes, however prefers serving Hawksmoor’s “Final” Martinis, Manhattans, and Gibsons in Nick and Nora glasses, which he believes are higher at preserving the cocktails chilly from begin to end.
Teague means that the sustained recognition of coupes can also be pushed extra by market situations and the availability chain than deep affection inside the bar group for the glass itself. There merely aren’t many available alternate options that work for many high-volume cocktail bars. Sturdy coupes are merely simpler to seek out than different stemmed glasses like Nick and Noras, Teague says, and are sometimes far more fairly priced.
However value and sturdiness, let’s contemplate just a few of the ways in which the coupe sucks as a cocktail glass. First off, it’s ergonomically horrible. The coupe’s top-heaviness makes it unstable and awkward to drink from. How typically do you end up staring on the meniscus on the highest of your drink in a coupe glass petrified to maneuver the vessel a millimeter as a result of you understand the slightest contact will trigger the drink to spill?
In a current Instagram video, Leandro DiMonriva, often known as The Educated Barfly, demonstrates a traditional cocktail referred to as the Quaker from Harry Craddock’s “Savoy Cocktail E-book.” After he strains the drink right into a coupe and raises it to his mouth, it spills out so badly that you just marvel if the Quaker could have induced a tremor. Possibly you gained’t be bothered when a full ounce of your $20 mezcal Aviation riff with acid-adjusted lemon and house-made crème de violette splashes onto the bar prime earlier than you even take a sip, however I positive am.
Having to stability a skinny stem carrying an ungainly goblet stuffed with liquid is a very pointless cognitive problem to ask of bar patrons who merely need to take pleasure in a drink. Like a area sobriety check, consuming from a coupe additionally doesn’t get any simpler the extra drunk you get. A minimum of in medieval occasions, you would cup your chalice with two arms, and also you wouldn’t really feel misplaced. Now you’d appear to be a teething toddler with a child bottle nursing your Vieux Carré. Not a great look.
Talking of childish habits, perhaps I’m being an excessive amount of of a child for whining about coupe glasses. I don’t anticipate to persuade too many aficionados to embrace my opinion. Whereas I desperately attempt to nudge Amor y Amargo’s Teague into admitting that coupes are rubbish over the telephone, he politely cites a passage in his buddy Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s e-book “Ingesting Distilled” that claims: “Should you can’t use a stemmed wine or cocktail glass with out spilling your drink in all places, you must go dwelling and observe.” I get quiet on the telephone, feeling a bit defeated. “This can be a talent you must have discovered in faculty,” Morgenthaler writes. I’m sorry, Jeffrey, I assume a few of us have been consuming an excessive amount of beer again then.