Over the weekend, I hosted a small birthday celebration for a good friend. Of course, no birthday party is complete without indulging in a few celebratory glasses of champagne. I have two sets of champagne glasses that I use for entertaining: plain flutes from Crate and Barrel and vintage coupes that once belonged to my grandmother. While I like my Crate and Barrel flutes because of their clean shape and their low price (something that alleviates any stress over breakage), I love my vintage coupes. They don't hold much champagne which means I'm constantly having to top off the glasses, but I don't mind because the coupes add to a party's festive atmosphere.
Coupes were once the glass in which to serve champagne. Oftentimes, they were spindly affairs with their shallow bowls perched precariously upon delicate stems. But then we were told that the only proper way in which to drink champagne was in a flute, its shape being better suited to keeping those bubbles from dissipating. (A coupe's shallow bowl allows champagne to go flat more quickly than in a flute. If you drink champagne like I do, though, it doesn't stay in the glass long enough to go flat.)
Looking through my old books and magazines, I very rarely see a flute. But starting in the 1970s or so, flutes seem to have supplanted the coupe in popularity. Fortunately, it seems that coupes are starting to make a come back, but I doubt they'll ever be as de rigueur as they once were. Somehow, coupes seem more fitting for evening wear and sparkling conversation than today's standard of jeans, flip-flops, and texting.
My vintage blue coupes, recently pressed into service to hold vodka and kosher salt for the tipsy tomatoes.
Something else that has gone the way of the coupe: fancy salads. This one is Lobster Salad Heligoland.
A "Special Occasion" lunch in which champagne was served... in coupes, of course.
The glasses that Churchill Brazelton used to serve champagne look like a cross between a coupe and a heavy goblet.
For her 1980s Tiffany table setting, Nan Kempner chose trumpet flutes to go with her Piper-Heidsieck.
McMillen Inc. created a "Gypsy Tearoom á La Tiffany" table with Cristal champagne and hollow stemmed trumpet flutes.
Image at top: House & Garden, July 1948; images #4 and #5 from Tiffany Table Settings; #6 and #7 from New Tiffany Table Settings.