Monday, July 16, 2012 1:57 PM EDT
“Shadow of The Thin Man”, via IMDB.com (Yes, I realize it's not a Champagne coupe. But c'mon, people, it's a socialite-gadfly drinking with his dog! The gentleman can use whatever vessel he deems appropriate!)
Back when people took their drinking more seriously, there was a glass for virtually every cocktail: cordial glass, Irish coffee glass, zombie glass. While it’s true that most home bartenders could get by with a few highball, Collins, rocks and cocktail glasses, it’s worth taking a look at a few other, somewhat more obscure glasses, purpose-made for different drinks. In this space, I’ll periodically highlight some vessels that I’ve added to my collection over the years. Previously, I introduced the Mint Julep Cup. But today, my friends, we drink Champagne!
Uncommon Barware: Champagne Coupe
Picture witty detective couple Nick and Nora Charles from the “Thin Man” movies: They’re impeccably dressed, their wire-haired terrier, Asta, is frolicking at their heels, and they’re drinking.
Now, what are they drinking out of?
Not tall, now-ubiquitous Champagne flutes; rather, low, round coupes. These elegant, versatile glasses — sometimes called “saucer style” — are also the cocktail vessel of choice for authenticity obsessed bartenders in better cocktail lounges. Now, the gigantic, triangular martini glasses we associate with syrupy nightmares like Appletinis? A relatively recent invention; those huge cocktail glasses have the tendency to slosh around and require 7 ounces of booze just to look full, while the smaller coupe keeps things contained, and restricts your drinks a more reasonable size and temperature. Plus, it’s impossible not to feel like Gatsby when drinking bubbly out of these things.
I was once at a party where, I kid you not, someone opened a bottle of Champagne with a sword*, like in a Zorro movie. As impressive as it was, it felt kind of anti-climatic to then dole out the Champers one glass at a time into dinky flutes. Chopping the top of a bottle off with a cutlass calls for a coupe pyramid, with Champagne cascading down!
*Sword of my memory may in fact have been just a very large knife. But still!
Unfortunately, due to current fashion, coupes can be a little difficult to come by. As is the case with most obscure glassware, restaurant supply stores are good sources. A few years ago, I spotted and snapped up about 10 of them at a Value Village for $0.50 a piece. The savings, of course, went to the Champagne research budget.