All About Coupe Glass: Facts & Popular Cocktails Served

Red Cocktail in Coupe Glass with Sprig Garnish

At some parties, such as weddings, one can see the glorious towering glasses of champagne set up on a table. Everyone is amazed by it and it makes them wonder how it’s possible. It’s all because of none other than the coupe glass.

A coupe glass is a type of stemmed champagne glass with a shallow bowl used to hold sparkling wine and other drinks. Aside from its ability to become a tower and serving vessel, it has a lot of interesting facts behind its structure and uses. Here’s everything you need to know about the coupe glass.

Why is it Called a Coupe Glass? 

Unlike the abundant history of the coupe glass, there are no clear explanations or records of why it was called “coupe” in the first place. But it may have been because “coupe” translates to “cut” or “chopped off”.

Taking into account this explanation, it makes sense because the bowl part of the coupe glass does look like it was cut off, making it look shallow.

How Do You Pronounce Coupe?

Some people pronounce it as “koo-pay” but this pertains to a homonym that means a carriage with four wheels, drawn by a horse and usually seats two persons. It is different from the coupe glass because it has a diacritic or a slanted apostrophe on the last letter which is added to a word to make it sound distinct. It looks like this: coupé.

On the other hand, the correct pronunciation of the coupe glass is “koop”. As you can see, it doesn’t have a diacritic, hence the absence of the additional phonetic value at the end. For more assistance, here is an auditory reference.

What is a Coupe Glass Used for?

Coupe glasses were originally used for champagne and other sparkling wine. But since it was decided that they are not really suitable for champagne, bartenders and mixologists found other ways to make use of it.

The craft cocktail movement reopened the doors for the coupe glass. In an attempt to look back on the cocktails served in the Stork Club, nowadays, bartenders use the coupe glass to serve “up” cocktails or those that are shaken or stirred then strained without ice.

Red cocktail poured through a sieve into a coupe glass

Cocktails that are typically served in a V-shaped martini glass end up being in coupe glasses. Bartenders and drinkers alike have realized that a martini glass can be messy especially when swirling the drink and spills are likely to happen.

Coupe glasses are safer and don’t create too much mess when swirling. Plus, they are particularly smaller than the martini glass and serve a more ideal amount of booze, in a way that doesn’t make people too drunk.

The thick stem of the coupe glass also allows the drinker to hold it to prevent the drink from getting warm since the drinks served in them are not served with ice. On some occasions, coupe glasses are also used to contain desserts such as ice cream, sorbet, or pudding.

Popular Cocktails that Use Coupe Glasses

If you think that your coupe glasses are only reserved for champagne, perhaps these cocktails can change your perspective.

1. Aviation 

Purple cocktail with jigger and bowl of fruit

Made in 1911 by head bartender Hugo Ensslin at the Hotel Wallick in New York, this famous pre-Prohibition cocktail features 1.5 oz. gin, ½ oz. lemon juice, ½ oz. maraschino liqueur and ¼ oz. of Crème de violette or Creme Yvette which gives its beautiful light purple hue. It is often attributed to flight or aeronautics due to its name.

2. Sidecar 

Bright yellow drink with lemons and bar tools

The Sidecar was one of the many cocktails invented in France in the 1920s during the Prohibition-era. It combines 2 oz. of Cognac, ¾ oz. of lemon juice, and ¾ oz. of Cointreau. 

Its name is thought to be from a rumor that an American Army Captain would frequent a bar by riding in the sidecar of his friend’s motorcycle.  He would order Cognac but the bartender added juice and Cointreau to make it more manageable during the day.

3. Daiquiri 

Pale drink with a lime wheel

There are many versions of the Daiquiri but nothing beats the classic made from 2 oz. of Cuban rum, 1 oz. of Lime juice, and ½ oz of simple syrup. It was said that Jennings Cox, a mining engineer during the Spanish-American war, invented the drink when he ran out of gin during a party so he substituted it with rum which was abundant in Cuba.

4. The Martinez 

Two glasses of bronze drink with an orange twist

First recorded in a book by O.H. Byron called “The Modern Bartender” in 1884, most people find this similar to a Manhattan. Others say that this is the inspiration for the martini. There are plenty of variations for this drink but a common one calls for 1.5 oz. of Old Tom gin and sweet vermouth, 1 bar spoon of Maraschino liqueur, and 2 dashes of orange bitters.

5. Manhattan 

Reddish-brown cocktail with cherries

This classic cocktail goes way back to the 1860s, about the same time when vermouth was brought to America from Europe. The Americans then invented several drinks that featured vermouth. One of which mixed it with whiskey and Manhattan was born. Modern recipes require 2 oz. of Rye whiskey, 1 oz. of sweet vermouth, and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters. 

6. Gimlet 

Light yellow drink with a lime wheel

Some cocktails are created out of necessity. In the case of Gimlet, it was invented to keep scurvy at bay from English Naval ships and to supplement the officers with Vitamin C. It requires 2 oz. of gin and ¾ oz. each of lime juice and simple syrup.

7. Hanky Panky

Gold drink with an orange twist and whole orange

Another three-ingredient cocktail featuring 1.5 oz. each of dry gin and sweet vermouth and 5 ml or 1 bar spoon of Fernet-Branca. It was the creation of the head bartender of the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel named Ada ‘Coley’ Coleman. It was said that she created the drink for Sir Charles Hawtrey, an English actor, manager, director, and producer.

8. Bees Knees 

Yellow drink with an orange twist in gray background

Another Prohibition-era cocktail, the Bees Knees is made from 2 oz. of gin and  ¾ oz each of lemon juice and honey syrup. The honey helps in making the taste of the gin more mellow. It was first published in a book called “World Drinks and How to Mix Them” in 1934.

9. Clover Club

Light red drink with raspberries

This gorgeous pastel red cocktail was named after a men’s club in Philadelphia around 1896. It uses 2 oz. of gin, ¾ oz. of lemon juice and raspberry syrup, and ½ oz. of egg white. The last ingredient makes it frothy and delightful to drink but doesn't leave an odor.

10. Last Word

Light yellow drink with half limes and jigger

This herb tasting drink owes it to the Chartreuse, along with equal parts of gin, lime juice, and maraschino liqueur. It was made in the Prohibition-era at the bar of the Detroit Athletic Club. Its popularity was first ignited when a vaudeville performer named Frank Fogarty spread the news about it.

Conclusion

The coupe glass is undoubtedly an interesting type of stemware. It has its fair share of ups and downs, but it currently has a safe place serving both classic and modern cocktails. Did you like this post? Share it or leave your thoughts in the comment section.

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