Where do cocktails come from, and how did the most recognizable cocktail glass come to be? The short answer: the history of cocktails is almost as colourful as the drinks themselves.
Where Do Cocktails Come From?
Well, the short answer is that no one knows for sure - even spirits historian David Wondrich has gone back to the drawing board a few times on this one. The history of cocktails is almost as colourful as the drinks themselves, with roots of the word seeming to originate in both Britain and America at different times.
As far as the history of spirits goes, mixed drinks, or cocktails, seems to be a newer trend that started to gain popularity around the 1800s. Prior to this, alcoholic drinks were something to be enjoyed straight-up. More on that another day!
As mixed drinks became popularized, so did the vessels that held them. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Cocktail Glasses for more info!
The Most Popular Cocktail Glass
One of the most popular glasses of all time is the coupe glass, which was originally intended to hold champagne. Famously rumoured to be modelled after Marie Antoinette's left breast, the coupe was actually invented in 1663 in England. It's also said that champagne wasn't always sipped from a coupe. In fact, in the early days of champagne's popularity, aristocrats would down a full glass of champagne like a shot of cheap tequila and leave the glass upside down to let the sediment drain! Not as sexy as you'd think, right?
The most famous cocktail glass, which we now know as the martini glass, debuted at the 1925 Paris Exhibition and was seen as a modern take on the coupe glass with straighter lines that fit the art-deco style of the times. In fact, early depictions of the glass showed it holding champagne, just like the coupe!
So how did the modern coupe become synonymous with cocktails if it was originally intended for straight champagne? At the time of its debut, the Martini cocktail was becoming popular, partially thanks to prohibition, and the two were a match made in heaven. Over time, the glass and the name Martini became as inseparable as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
While this glass is now thought to be a bit impractical (spillage, anyone?), the name, and it's reputation for sophistication stuck! So while visually, you may recognize that a cocktail in a martini glass doesn't have to be a martini, there's something about the name that suggests it's a one-drink-kind-of-glass like a wine glass. Now you know!
I hope that makes you feel a little better about using those fancy glasses for anything you damn well want to - be it a martini, champagne, or even a mocktail!
Cheers to you, friends!